In an article published this week for BBC Culture, Emma Jones explored the new wave of TV shows which are featuring nudity and sex, and whether they mean that modern viewers are becoming “less prudish”.
She looked at some of the most memorable moments from the past few years of TV, and noted that there was a trend. In 2016 the viewers of radiotimes.com voted Aidan Turner, playing historical hero Poldark, stripping off and taking a bath, as TV’s most memorable moment that year. Also in 2016, the spy series The Night Manager caused a stir when a graphic sex scene showing Tom Hiddleston’s naked backside. Then in 2018, The Bodyguard series, which included explicit sex scenes and nudity had viewing figures which peaked at 11 million in the UK!
There are more TV programmes released each week than anyone can realistically watch and so naturally you need to get people talking about your show over others.
Natalie Jamieson, popular culture journalist
This got those of us at the Jane Austen News wondering, as the acceptable levels of nudity have seemingly been raised by the industry to include full nudity in a greater number of productions, would the scene from the BBC’s 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice, where Mr Darcy dives into the lake at Pemberley and emerges in a figure-hugging wet shirt, have become such a hit with audiences had it been first broadcast in this day and age?
If more nudity (both for men and women) is what directors are using to get a series noticed, what will that mean for the world of Jane Austen adaptations? Will the upcoming 2020 production of Pride and Prejudice feature Darcy in the buff? And, if it does, what will Austen fans think? Too much? Should Austen always be PG? Or will it be a welcome sight?
Emma Jones’ full article can be found here.