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'The Pursuit of Love' 1.01 Recap — a period drama with a difference

The Pursuit of Love - Linda and Fanny
The Pursuit of Love sees a modern twist on an old classic. (Image credit: BBC)

The Pursuit of Love has brought some romance and glamour to our Sunday nights after just one episode of the new BBC1 period drama. 

The star-studded series, set in the 1920s and 1930s, follows the lives of spirited Linda Radlett (Downton Abbey's Lily James) and her more reserved cousin and best friend Fanny Logan (Emily Beecham) as they come of age and dream of meeting their perfect man. 

Nancy Mitford’s much-loved novel The Pursuit of Love has been a firm favourite since it was first published in 1945 and while it has been given a new twist by the BBC, the story of Linda and her dreams to escape the family home in a bid to find true love still remains. 

Here are a few things we love from episode one... 

Linda and Fanny's friendship in The Pursuit of Love

Linda and Fanny are inseparable, and while this might be a story about the journey to true love, it is also a story about their friendship and devotion to one another as they navigate their way through coming of age.

From childhood adventures to plotting their escape from the family home as teenagers, the pair have grown up doing everything together. 

Episode one even saw Linda still seen hiding in a linen cupboard with Fanny, (something that she has been doing throughout her childhood) while she was meant to be at her own wedding breakfast... proving that while the girls' might vow to find true love, their friendship is more important than any man they'll ever meet. 

Lily James and Emily Beecham in The Pursuit of Love.

Lily James and Emily Beecham are brilliant as Linda and Fanny.  (Image credit: (C) Theodora Films Limited & Moonage Pictures Limited - Photographer: Robert Viglasky)

Linda's quest for true love 

While Fanny is happy to get an education and see where her life might take her, all Linda can think about is meeting the man of her dreams. She wants to be swept off her feet in a whirlwind of romance and adventure, and it seems there is nothing that will get in her way of finding the right man... even her controlling father who keeps her from leaving the family estate.

Meanwhile, poor Fanny is still feeling the effects of being abandoned by her mother 'The Bolter' as a baby. The role of Fanny's mother is played by Emily Mortimer, who also did the amazing job of adapting and directing the series. 

Lord Merlin and his eccentric ways 

In contrast to Linda's domineering father, Matthew (Dominic West), the Radlett family's flamboyant neighbour, Lord Merlin, offers a breath of fresh air, not only for Linda, but for viewers as well. Lord Merlin - cast brilliantly as Sherlock's Andrew Scott - opens up a glamorous new world to Linda as he introduces her to all the things she has been missing under her father's oppressive glare. 

The Pursuit of Love

Andrew Scott as the flamboyant Lord Merlin (right).  (Image credit: BBC)

1930s fashion 

Set between the two World Wars, The Pursuit of Love isn't just about romance and grand houses, it is also about the amazing fashion of that time. From beautiful knitwear to stunning wedding dresses, this drama's wardrobe department has it all. 

Speaking of her character Linda's expression through her wardrobe, Lily James told us: "The designer drew inspiration from the highest fashion in the 1930s to create something wow. When someone dresses you like that, it affects how you stand and move. With the hair and make up everything feels alive."

All episodes of The Pursuit of Love are now available to watch on BBC iPlayer. The next two episodes will also air in the UK on Sunday nights at 9pm on BBC1. 

The Pursuit of Love will also be showing on Amazon Prime Video in the US.