It looks as if 1995 could be the year for Crispin Bonham-Carter.
Immediately after finishing Pride and Prejudice for the BBC he made a pilot of a TV show
with Joan Collins, and he only just returned from Hungary, where he has a lead
role in one of the episodes in the new Cadfael series for ITV.
Playing Bingley "was really like a dream come true, because while he seems to
come across as a perpetual 'Mr. Nice Guy,' he really does make a journey of his
own. At first, he's totally in thrall to his older friend Darcy. He's
completely influenced by the older man, who he perhaps sees as a sort of social
"But then he does a bit of growing up, and has opinions of his own. He grows
and becomes his own man. And, of course, he changes his mind, independently,
"Funnily enough, when the project first came up, I actually auditioned for the
part of Wickham, the baddie. But after a short while the producer and director
thought I'd be far better playing Bingley, and I was delighted to accept."
The "third cousin" of actress Helena Bonham-Carter, Crispin "failed to get into
Oxford, and went to St. Andrews in Scotland instead, which really proved to be
highly advantageous and a great benefit for me, because I just got more and
more involved with their theater group.
"Pride and Prejudice is the first major television
I've done, and I really don't think I could have enjoyed myself more. It was
such a wonderful group of people to be around. And an actor's dream is to put
on a good period costume and some sideburns...you've got the character
straight away! Seriously, when you're surrounded by such total realism in the
sets and the clothes, it would be very hard indeed not to have some of the
naturalism rub off on you.
"And that Regency period was such a time of style that you do indeed stand and
move in a different way. You almost feel ashamed to climb out of it all at the
end of a day and put your jeans and T-shirt back on. What Bingley would have
thought of today's casual dress would be anyone's guess. I think he'd have
Crispin says he wants "to do a lot more stage work, I really do yearn to get
back into the theater. But then, when you've got a bit of a ball rolling -- as I
seem to have at the moment, thank goodness -- it would be extremely foolish to
ignore that and refuse what have been some very good TV offers.
"Pride and Prejudice is, after all, very much a quality production, with
amazingly high standards and values to it. But it is also interesting and
accessible. And a lot of fun. People tend to forget that Jane Austen had a
sense of humor, and Bingley wasn't a total stuffed shirt. I loved playing him.
Being the 'nice guy' is so much harder than being the Mr. Nasty, so that's why
I was grateful to Andrew Davies for letting Bingley make his own journey to