Riding a Donkey

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Donkey and Foal

Just a little thought for the day.

Did anyone else watch “Dr Thorne”? Three one hour programmes on ITV at 9 PM on Sundays, ‘written’ by Julian Fellowes. Perhaps it did owe quite a lot to Downton Abbey but I enjoyed it despite my initial reservations. After the travesty of “War and Peace” I viewed the idea of Dr Thorne reduced to 3 hours with grave suspicion. This was one of my set books for English A-level in those far off days when you had to read the entire book more than once, in order to pass, let alone get a good mark.

It was the book that introduced me to Trollope – Anthony, rather than Joanna – and the whole wide, wonderful world of Barsetshire. Inevitably the story had to be told with broad brush strokes which meant so many of the subtleties were missing.

And there was one inaccuracy that was jarring to me as I thought over the whole production. Perhaps it struck me more powerfully because it was Palm Sunday. In the book Mary Thorne did not ride a horse, she rode a donkey. No wonder the Courcy Castle crowd despised her. It’s a pity the producers changed that detail; I wonder why. It’s a very powerful symbol, but I suppose, these days it’s probably a symbol that few people would notice.

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