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Episode 2: To Whom Do You Beautifully Belong?

Episode 2

24th May 2006, 9pm, BBC TWO


We asked your opinions on The Line of Beauty. Here's a selection of the best of the comments we received.


"This episode was brilliant, just as good as the first. I have rarely seen a dramatisation so faithful to a book. It leaves out a lot of the verbal detail, but what it gives us instead is a gorgeous visual feast.

The building threat of betrayal and menace for the outsider (the 'guest') were perfectly captured. The people and the locations are stunning, in fact more beautiful than I had imagined."

James, Cambridge

"The final scene with Maggie boogying away was a classic."
"I much prefered this episode to the first. The characters really came to life which helped the storyline flow effortlessly. The Sony Walkman was a nice touch and took me right back to that glorious era. The final scene with Maggie boogying away was a classic. Whoever the band was in that scene did a great job with the Rolling Stones number."

Simon Wirral, London

"The reviewer who complained that the programme was not sufficiently explicit in its advocacy of condom use in gay sex has clearly never read the book. Nor has he considered the situation of gay men in the early to mid-80s.

There was little condom use at the time. If there had been, the AIDS crisis that forms one of the striking backdrop tragedies to the story would never have happened and half the book vanishes into thin air. Complaining that the gay characters only use lube is like complaining that the Atlanta fire brigade didn't react quickly enough in Gone with the Wind*.

This adaptation is rich and humourous, everything I could have expected from such an illustrious collaboration. I am reassured that Andrew Davies' initial reservations about writing gay sex didn't impede his consumate skill with deft characterisation, seen to jaw-dropping effect in 2005's Bleak House.

The casting seems near-perfect and the atmosphere of intoxicating privilege strikes the exact median note between satisfaction and guilt; aesthetic pleasure and decadence that makes Hollinghurst's writing such a tangled experience for the reader."

Charlie, Brennan

"This must be one of the few dramas that actually treats sex as sex, rather than as something disgusting - especially when done my gay men.

Thankfully a more honest and frank approach has been used. The acting is restrained and the plot cut to the bone in a successful and entertaining transcription.

The episodes are finely tailored to fit seemlessly into the BBC slot, without any sense of stinting or fracturing of the storyline."

Keith M Warwick, Cambridge

"This is nothing short of pornographic homosexual voyeurism wrapped round a pathetically weak storyline."
"I'm absolutely disgusted that the BBC is allowed to show this so-called 'drama' at 9pm when many young teenagers are watching television. This is nothing short of pornographic homosexual voyeurism wrapped round a pathetically weak storyline.

Is this the best the BBC can come up with? What kind of message is it giving to our young people?

No wonder we live in such a violent, drug infused, anti-social society when we're fed this repugnant garbage."

Peg Hollamby, Ashtead, Surrey

"Though my mother balks at the sex scenes, I think they are honest, refreshing and beautiful. I also think they give teenagers, like myself, a more realistic picture of sex, with either gender, than in many other dramas. And, to be honest, they're pretty hot as well.

I love the show, and not just because I've developed a rather spectacular crush on Dan Stevens. He's an amazing actor, with a somewhat incidental pretty face. He does 'gut-wrenching angsty looks' especially well. I'm doing drama next year, and I'll be happy if I can be half the actor he is. All the stars are so believable, they really drag you into the story. I feel I can identify with Catherine too.

Nick dancing with Margaret Thatcher was hilarious, though I had to watch it from behind my hands. Another thing that was painful to watch was him walking in on Gerald and Penny - it was so obvious what they would be doing."

Mary, Tyrone

"All looks beautiful but is ultimately unsatisfying. Nick, while initially interesting and undoubtedly attractive, has become a one dimensional feckless coke-snorting twit.

I'm a bit surprised he seems to have only come across the 'love of his life' some three years later despite living in the same area. These two episodes seem more like the slow start to a 13-part series. I'll give Episode 3 a look, but just dont feel hooked. It would need another three segments to get me on board."

Michael, Ireland

"It's masterful in highlighting how the celebrity culture of 21st century Britain is a product of the emptiness of the 1980s."
"This drama really shows the shallow side of humanity, how good-looking people progressively become ugly as their flaws become more and more apparent. It also takes in the incredible lies and hypocrisy of middle England and the fear such people have of falling back into the mud from which most of them came.

It's masterful in highlighting how the celebrity culture of 21st century Britain is a product of the emptiness of the 1980s.

An absolutely wonderful piece of drama about vile people."

Laura Macleod, Oxford

"Perfectly evocative of the era, with riveting story telling and fantastic production values. Dan Stevens is an exceptional new talent, and Tim McInnerny was made to play this role. He almost looks like a Gerald Scarfe* caricature of a loopy eighties Tory MP."

Nigel Hastings, London

"This could well be one of the best pieces of drama this summer, if not the whole year. The look, overall direction, locations, editing, costume, make-up, camera work, and lighting (particualrly the play of natural lighting on the lead character's eyes) are brilliant. They intelligently convey a normal decent person, getting older, and surviving as best he can, who just so happens to be gay and living with a politician, in the 80s.

There's a real sense of the universal about this drama. This could be any man, in any decade, made to feel a certain way because of a certain aspect of himself which he cannot and won't change. It feels really old and period, but at the same time you are made aware of the time being the 80s. But sometimes we're lured into thinking momentarily that this is a modern day. As such, despite the rather uncomfortable sex scenes, this drama really reaches people.

The dialogue is wonderfully balanced. And really gives the sense, which I imagine must have really been strived for, of a man just trying to live his life regardless of the dramas along the way."

Sophie, London

"Hayley Atwell has delivered a stunning performance so far - it would be good to see more of her in other roles"

Antony, Lincs

"This drama surely serves as a lasting memory of how far this country has gone in terms of equality and social inclusion."
"This fantastically produced drama really highlights the neo-liberal attitudes from an interesting perspective. The adaptation is amazing, I love it. I do not have many memories of the 1980s, the only ones are sadly to do with music and the Stock, Aitken and Waterman* era. To hear those sounds and to see what life was like then, battling with sexuality and the dogma that surrounded it, the ambivalence and ignorance that gay people existed is astounding.

This drama surely serves as a lasting memory of how far this country has gone in terms of equality and social inclusion, and that these things should not be hidden and ignored."

Richard, Birmingam

* The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

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