BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

Your Reviews

Billie Piper as Sally and Julie Walters as Mrs Holland
Thanks for all your reviews. Read a selection below.

"Atmospherically shot with some great turns from the ensemble cast. Julie Walters and Robert Glenister exuded cold menace and sleaze respectively. Billie Piper shone as Sally as did Chloe Walker as Adelaide. I can't wait for the next book to be adapted.

After a fairly dreary Christmas for TV, this neat little drama was, for me, the BBC's jewel in the crown."

Crispin Coulson, Chelmsford

"Miss Piper was hopelessly mis-cast in the role of Sally. Her miserable and brooding portrayal did not ring true with the character in the book and I don't think her acting style is well suited to period dramas. Pullman's original story seemed much more magical.

I would've gone to bed before the end if not for Julie Walters as the evil Mrs Holland. She was wonderful. Jim Taylor, as Matt Smith was just right and a good twist to have him commentate the story. But I think it could've been much better. I hope further dramatisations of Pullman's books get the treatment they deserve."

John R Smith, Stratford

"This was by far the best drama in a long while. The story was absorbing along with fine performances from the stars. Billie Piper's role was particularly outstanding. Her ability and facial features were so suited to the role. For such a young actress she displayed a maturity beyond her years."

John Harland, Uxbridge, Middlesex

"I thought that this was a great adaptation of the book. Very accurate. Having read the book, I can honestly say that this was a brilliant drama. The acting was amazing, especially Billie. I felt she captured the role of Sally really well and cannot wait for the sequel, The Shadow in the North."

Steph, London

"The programme makers did this justice given the duration. But it missed out some plot that, as a fan of the book, I would've liked to have seen. The character ‘Trembler’ would have added to the dynamic with Adelaide and the opium scene with Rosa.

The adaptation was faithful to the original plotlines, characterisations and central themes and enjoyable for all ages. It was also superbly cast and set up links with the next and later parts of the series."

Rachel, London

"With all our family having read The Ruby in the Smoke more than once, we eagerly awaited this TV showing. In the event, we were all disappointed by it. Whilst Julie Walters turned in a superb performance as Mrs Holland, with a wonderful combination of mock-gentility and venomous hate, Billie Piper’s performance as Sally was less than inspired. I could never be convinced that she was the determined, independent and skilful Sally Lockhart of this story. It felt as if she needed to be pushed into action, rather than being the one leading it.

The drama was also sadly lacking in atmosphere. There have been many TV dramas which have brilliantly re-created the menace and misery of Victorian London, but this one failed to deliver. Overall the drama seemed unsure whether it was a play or film, and the resulting effect was flat and wooden, rather than chilling and inspiring.

Many of the supporting roles were well played, but somehow the essence of the book, failed to materialise. The result may have been workmanlike, but did not touch the quality of the original."

Julian Brown, Malvern, Worcestershire

"I've been looking forward to The Ruby in the Smoke for months now, having long been a fan of the Sally Lockhart novels (much MUCH better than His Dark Materials, in my opinion). I was so pleased to find that the adaptation didn't disappoint at all! I was gripped by the setting, the wonderful acting, and the accuracy of the adaptation from the novel. A perfect way to spend an hour and a half."

Hannah P, Southampton


Billie Piper as Sally Lockhart and JJ Field as Frederick


Billie Piper as Sally Lockhart
Read an interview with Billie Piper»

Related Links

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy