The distinguished Dr Jekyll is a scientist working on the
duality of man - much to the amusement of his learned colleagues.
When he hits on the correct formula, not only does the resulting
serum create a side of him without any of the inhibitions
of his better half, but he is also made significantly younger.
After rediscovering the pleasures of the flesh, he reverts
to his older self, shocking his betrothed and long-time friends
by leaving everything in his will to his new 'assistant' Mr
Hyde. Jekyll instructs the servants that Hyde is to be given
the run of the house, but when Hyde kills someone for trying
to prevent him beating a young boy, Jekyll is shocked and
vows to himself that he will put an end to his experiments.
But the lure proves too strong, and Hyde is becoming increasingly
There's no doubting that Robert Louis Stevenson's novel is
a timeless classic which explores the inner psyche of man.
This BBC adaptation of the tale contains a stellar cast which
includes David Hemmings, Lisa Harrow, Ian Bannen, Clive Swift,
Toyah Willcox and a typically over-the-top Diana Dors. The
performances are uniformly strong, but at just short of two
hours duration, the plot realisation seems to drag its heels
As is often the case in Victorian tales, there is the gentry
and the gutter rats, with nothing in between. Even Edward
Hyde is portrayed as a civilised gentleman but with more confidence
than most. It is a long way from the creature of decadence
he is supposed to be. Shouldn't he be an uncontrollable torrent
of anger, rage, violence and lust?
I must just mention the incidental music, which is some of
the worst I've ever heard. Imagine an unaccomplished tone-deaf
musician pressing random keys on a cheap Woolworths synthesiser
at inappropriate moments and you might get the idea. Even
when Jekyll is appealing to God, we get intrusive accompanying
I can only assume that the timing of this release is to tie-in
with the imminent BBC screening of Steven Moffat's intrigue-based
slant on the story. This version is acceptable Sunday teatime
viewing, but lacks the pace that would keep modern audiences