‘Vanity Fair’ reviews round-up: ‘Olivia Cooke dazzles’ in ‘glorious period drama’

ITV’s new Vanity Fair adaptation premiered last night in the UK and the first reviews are in.

Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, the epic seven-part mini-series continues tonight at 9pm on ITV, with the remaining five episodes airing on Sunday nights.

Based on English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray’s classic 1847 novel, Vanity Fair follows modern heroine Becky Sharp (Olivia Cooke) as she attempts to claw her way out of poverty and scale the heights of English Society.

Here’s a round-up of the reviews for Episode 1:

“An earthy and assured take on Thackeray’s very modern masterpiece … it’s a relief to report that Vanity Fair isn’t afraid to have a little fun with the [period drama] formula.” – iNews

“This adaptation fizzes with all the energy of its social-climbing heroine. Yes, it’s yet another version of Thackeray’s novel, and it has its sights set on a modern audience, but Olivia Cooke is an ideal Becky Sharp – and the sumptuous sets are worth tuning in for all on their own.” – The Guardian

“…thankfully, the team have breathed a new lease of live into the centuries old Thackery novel, and have made it at a point in time that makes it just as relevant as it was in 1848 … Olivia Cooke shines as the feisty and driven Becky Sharp.” – Metro

“Cooke manages to capture Becky’s vitality, without forcing modernity into her performance. This latest version [of Vanity Fair] attempts to recast the protagonist as a woman ahead of her time, but comes up short.” – The Independent

“Archness and anachronisms abound in adaptation of Thackeray’s classic.” – The Telegraph

“…the undoubted star is Olivia Cooke. Becky may be a ruthless and morally bankrupt schemer, but Cooke has made her so likable, she has quickly become MY ruthless and morally bankrupt schemer. And I’m backing her all the way.” – The Mirror

“Cooke is so sparkling here, in fact, the one concern is that everything else and everyone else struggles to be anything like as scintillating.” – Den of Geek

“Glorious period drama … For all its noise and gaudy spectacle, Vanity Fair is a tale about human psychology. The characters are parading in their finery, but we’re interested chiefly in what they are thinking… and plotting.” – Daily Mail

“Olivia Cooke dazzles in a pitch-perfect dramatisation. Thackeray’s classic story of avarice and ambition gets a stunning treatment from the makers of Poldark and Victoria … Cooke allows us to respond to her character with as much sympathy as contempt in this smart and visually delightful series.” – Radio Times

The original novel is available to buy on Amazon.

Vanity Fair will premiere in the USA as an Amazon Prime Exclusive later this year.