‘The Pursuit of Love’ reviews round-up: ‘The best period drama we’ve had in years’

The BBC’s new three-part adaptation of The Pursuit of Love premiered in the UK last night!

The romantic comedy-drama about love and friendship is based on Nancy Mitford’s classic 1945 novel.

The all-star cast includes Downton Abbey star Lily James as Linda Radlett, alongside Dominic West (Les Misérables), Emily Beecham (Cruella), Dolly Wells (Dracula), and Andrew Scott (Sherlock).

They’re joined by Beattie Edmondson (Josh), Assaad Bouab (Messiah), Shazad Latif (Penny Dreadful), and Freddie Fox (White House Farm).

The official synopsis reads: “Set in Europe between the two World Wars, the story follows the adventures and misadventures of the charismatic and fearless Linda Radlett (Lily James) and her best friend and cousin Fanny Logan.

“Consumed by a desire for love and marriage, the two women are on the hunt for the ideal husband. Their friendship is put to the test as Fanny settles for a steady life and Linda decides to follow her heart, to increasingly wild and outrageous places.

“As social and political divisions split the nation, their diverging choices raise personal questions that remain intensely relevant today – questions about freedom, about love and sex, and the mystery of the human heart.”

Watch the trailer:


We’ve rounded up a selection of reviews to help you decide if you’d like to watch the series:


” It is surely destined (as any translation of a classic book to screen is) to be frowned on by purist fans. But for those of us outside that select group it is an absolutely glorious hour … The fun – and funniness – here is thanks again to such a deft, intelligent and loving script from Mortimer … It is a treat for all. Mitfordians – please, do give it a chance.” ★★★★★ – The Guardian


“In short, The Pursuit of Love is great fun – and very funny – and, at times, quite touching and sad … And the performances are truly delightful … there’s not a dud performance in there, or a dud casting decision.” ★★★★ – Radio Times


“Lily James is a heroine for the ages in this mischievous Mitfordian delight … Emily Mortimer’s adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s greatest novel is the best period drama we’ve had in years … Adapted and directed by Emily Mortimer with mischievous Mitfordian spirit, it’s got the lot: romance, secret meetings in cupboards, sploshing bath water, angry upper-class patriarchs, luscious interiors and biting wit. The star-studded cast are having a hoot too: Lily James, Andrew Scott, Emily Beecham and Dominic West are all on shriek-worthy top form.” ★★★★★ – Evening Standard


Downton Abbey and Mamma Mia star [Lily James] delivers one of her finest performances to date … The Pursuit of Love is a romp from start to finish. From Mortimer’s direction to the dazzling performances of its stars, it is an all-consuming delight… Comparisons will likely be drawn with The Favourite and The Great.” – Digital Spy


“Emily Mortimer’s directorial debut takes a sublimely funny book and almost does it justice.” ★★★ – The Telegraph


“Despite superficial differences, with its frank contemporary sexuality, abrupt comedy and elaborate set pieces, The Pursuit of Love feels like a post-Bridgerton work.” ★★★★ – The Independent


“The very English social fears ripple through, but the lavish Jazz Age atmosphere spills with cocktails and parties and a rockin’ soundtrack. Mortimer pursues a more modern, sexy, and freewheeling style: painted with entertaining freeze frames and calligraphic titles, skirting the likeness of a Baz Luhrmann film … The Pursuit of Love is a short, sharp and opulent shot of the interwar social scene. It’s richly charming, but annoyingly scattered – much like Linda.” ★★★ – Culture Whisper


The Pursuit of Love continues on Sunday nights at 9pm on BBC One, with all three episodes available to stream now on BBC iPlayer.

It’ll will launch outside the UK on Amazon Prime Video later in 2021.

Nancy Mitford’s original novel is available on Amazon.