Fantasy Island: Barbara Pym on the Big Screen

When I am not reading, watching TV, or otherwise mentally occupied, I tend to fantasize about all kinds of arcane things. One fantasy that has been popping into my head lately is about seeing a Barbara Pym novel turned into a film. As far as I can tell it hasn’t happened yet.

I think my first choice would be to see Some Tame Gazelle brought to life, with Excellent Women coming in second.

The fantasy extends to who might play various characters.  In general I think the following actresses would make great Pym characters.

Fiona Shaw

Imelda Staunton
Fenella Woolgar

Sophie Thompson 

As I was hunting around for pictures of Sophie Thompson I found out that she is Emma Thompson’s sister! How could I not know that until now? Emma would make a good Pym character as well.

And why is Greg Wise (Mr. Emma Thompson) here? Do I need a reason?

What do you think he is reading?


9 thoughts on “Fantasy Island: Barbara Pym on the Big Screen

  1. Ti October 27, 2010 / 1:49 pm

    I'm not familiar with Pym but I must thank you for the link you shared there at the end. The Carte Noire Readers is probably not something I should be enjoying from work but so be it :)


  2. Desperate Reader October 27, 2010 / 4:12 pm

    Young Greg would be one of those hungry curates that needs feeding with a chicken, and older Greg a smooth vicar who has all the parish spinsters running after him so how could you not have those pictures?


  3. Melody October 27, 2010 / 6:22 pm

    I feel as if I've been under a rock, devoid of Emma Thompson info…married to Greg Wise? Sister to Sophie Thompson? Why didn't I realize any of this?

    I love these actors; must go find out about Pym..


  4. verity October 28, 2010 / 7:18 am

    Love this idea! Think you've chosen a great line up


  5. lyn October 28, 2010 / 7:31 pm

    Thomas, have you seen this link to the Casting Game at the BP Society website?

    It hasn't been updated in a while but there are lots of good ideas for casting Pym characters. I would also love to see a movie of Excellent Women. Juliet Stevenson read the audiobook beautifully & I always have her in my mind as Mildred when I read the book.


  6. Thomas at My Porch October 29, 2010 / 10:00 am

    Ti: It is a good link but I doubt that he has been drinking Carte Noir for years. :)

    Desparate Reader: You are right. Mr Wise should get a role.

    Melody: Sophie and Emma are so different it is hard to picture them as sisters.

    Verity: Now if someone would only make the film.

    Lyn: Thanks for that link. How great that someone else has been fantasizing about this as well, and for a lot longer than I have.


  7. Kristine May 14, 2013 / 8:15 pm

    Would love to see a Pym novel filmed. You would be a good casting agents. I like all your picks. I think my first choice would be Quartet in Autumn and then Excellent Women.


  8. Serenknitity June 6, 2013 / 4:09 pm

    Would love to see Excellent Women with Greg Wise as Rocky Napier, Emma Thompson as Helena Napier, and Sophie Thompson as Mildred Lathbury. It would be wonderful.


  9. Kathleen Carpenter February 6, 2021 / 4:22 pm

    I see Fiona Shaw as Mildred! Attractive but in an a more original way! I have often thought it would be interesting to see what could be made of Barbara Pym filmagraphically!


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