Monday, July 18, 2005

I think, Bunny, that the subtext is rapidly becoming, um, text.

I've been on a bit of a Raffles kick lately, reading the Penguin edition of E.W. Hornung's original (and keeping an eye out in secondhand shops for the subsequent volumes) and watching the repeats of the 1976 TV adaption on ITV3 (yay for digital). The latter, for the most part, manages to successfully maintain the subtle homoeroticism in Bunny and Raffles' relationship which is present in the original stories (according to the preface of the Penguin book, the man who was the original inspiration for Raffles was seriously out and proud)... apart from, every couple of episodes or so, shoehorning in some female love-interest for Raffles (poor old Bunny never seems to get a look in), who is generally completely out of place in the narrative since women were largely peripheral characters in the original stories, who disrupts the proceedings as Anthony Valentine desperately tries to keep up with the sudden switch from eyeing up Christopher Strauli to eyeing up the femme du jour, and who generally leaves one with the feeling that the production team of the day would really, really have liked to run one of those BBC News style rolling text bars reading "LOOK! RAFFLES ISN'T GAY! HONEST!" over the action.

Mind you, a recently-shown story featured a sequence in which Raffles cheerfully reads a copy of "Fact" magazine which is emblazoned with a large, gaudy and clearly legible Victorian advert for, wait for it, Vaseline. So perhaps the balance is being redressed on another level.