Casanova TV MA, S
Airing Sundays, October 8 + 15, 2006 on PBS
(Check local listings; dates and times may vary)
Many new series are touted as a television treat.
Few are. This one is.
-- Daily Express
A legendary lover romances his way across eighteenth-century Europe in Masterpiece Theatre's rollicking retelling of the life of Casanova, with Peter O'Toole (Lawrence of Arabia, Troy) as the champion seducer in his golden years and David Tennant (Blackpool, Doctor Who) as Casanova in his frisky prime.
With a 'whizzy script that brims with pace and wit' (The Independent) by writer-of-the-moment Russell T. Davies (Doctor Who, Queer as Folk), Casanova kicks off Masterpiece Theatre's 36th season.
Based on the historical Casanova's infamous twelve-volume memoirs, the program follows Giacomo Casanova, aka 'Jack,' from his birth out of wedlock to an actress mother; through his eventful career masquerading as a doctor, lawyer, astrologer, and the Chevalier de Seingalt (a title invented to gain him entrance to noble circles); and into his declining years as a librarian for a sympathetic count.
The abiding theme throughout is love for the opposite sex, and at least once for the same one. Casanova was noteworthy in his time for taking a sincere interest in his partners' personal interests and pleasure, which perhaps explains his spectacular success as a lover.
The production shifts back and forth between the aging Casanova, at work on his memoirs and reminiscing to a very curious parlor maid, Edith (Rose Byrne, Marie Antoinette, Troy); and the young Casanova, whom we see enacting these astonishing adventures with gusto.
Also starring is Laura Fraser (He Knew He Was Right) as the beautiful Henriette, a match for Casanova himself in charm, trickery, repartee, and romantic longing; Rupert Penry-Jones (Match Point) as Count Grimani, Casanova's rival in love for Henriette; Shaun Parkes (Doctor Who) as Casanova's cheeky servant, Rocco; and Nina Sosanya (Love Actually, The Jury) as Bellino, a castrato impersonator who complicates Casanova's love life.