Desperate Romantics gives everybody a chance to laugh at the BBC’s latest piece of idiocy. "Look at them! Spending money on things they deem worthy! Wankers." It’s actually not that bad. I don’t know why everyone has it in for this bawdy reimagining of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. What do you say, producer Ben Evans? “Basically, it’s Entourage with easels” OK, now I think I know why everyone’s got it in for it – it’s got a producer who talks like a PR girl. That’s what you get when you have a head of drama who’s a fucking foetus.
Fred Walters (Sam Crane) narrates Desperate Romantics. Something of a groupie cum diarist, Fred discovers the mesmerising redhead pie Lizzie Siddal (Amy Manson) in a hat shop and immediately tells his homies in the Brotherhood that he has found their muse. Fred desperately wants to put his cock in Lizzie but is hampered by being a gimp shitsack and her having the hots for the sexually attractive and talented Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Aidan Turner). In no time at all Lizzie is posing for teenage prodigy John Millais‘s (Samuel Barnett) most famous work Ophelia. A redhead hasn’t caused this many ructions since Christina Hendricks.
"Ruskin pores over the erotic sketches of Turner he keeps in a drawer. Scribbly wank bank or gorgeous up-for-it wife?It’s a no-brainer for Johnny."
But producing magnificent work is not the problem. Recognition is what they need. 19th-century art is so square – the PRB crew want to inject it with realism. They frantically seek the endorsement and patronage of art critic John Ruskin (Tom Hollander) but he snubs their early advances. Ruskin is a funny one. Married to the gorgeous Effie (Zoe Tapper) who desperately wants his cock in her yet all John can manage is a "good night dear " and the coldest of marital shoulders. This doesn’t stop him poring over the erotic sketches of Turner he keeps in a drawer. Scribbly wank bank or gorgeous up-for-it wife? It’s a no-brainer for Johnny.
"Hunt struggles to reconcile his complicated sexuality by putting his cock in Annie Miller. Rossetti starts putting his cock in Lizzie shortly after Millais nearly freezes her to death in a tin bath in an early contender for the Darwin Awards (Epic FAIL lulzzz!!!!11)."
They all seem a bit hung up on sex, in fact. William "Maniac" Hunt (Rafe Spall) is a virgin when we first meet him and, like Ruskin, has a strange fixation with fallen women. He struggles to reconcile his complicated sexuality by putting his cock in model/prostitute Annie Miller (Jennie Jacques). Rossetti starts putting his cock in Lizzie shortly after Millais nearly freezes her to death in a tin bath in an early contender for the Darwin Awards (Epic FAIL johnny lulzzz!!!!11). The only one not getting any cock is Mrs Ruskin though this is about to change as her husband encourages a liaison with Millais. I don’t even begin to understand this boy.
Look fuckcakes, this isn’t as bad as everyone is telling you. It isn’t profound, nor is it life changing but it’s a decent enough career through a scandalous tumultuous time. Mark Heap plays Charles Dickens in a virtual facsimile of his role as Alan Statham in Green Wing which really deserves a spin-off series all to itself. I can see him now giving a spunk filled locket to his mistress for her birthday. It’s what all the girls want in the end. Real talk.
The best thing about it: Lizzie pie
The worst thing about it: A little too pleased with itself when they let you know that people had sex in the olden days.
The verdict on Desperate Romantics: Not as bad as it’s painted.
Marks out of 10: 7