A passionate, historical lesbian love story set amidst the music halls of London's West End from a definitively female perspective.
Condensing Sarah Waters' novel into three hour-long television episodes results in a much faster pace that, at times, can feel a little clumsy. Add to that the show itself jumps between comic, bawdy music hall comedy to dark, desperate drama and Tipping the Velvet can be a little hard to get used to.
However the essence of lost and losing love is there with full force. Nan and Kitty's restrained feelings simmer and bubble in episode one and we're quite expertly teased with "she said she loves her, oh my... as a friend... bugger" like moments. Episode two is much harder to watch as Nan falls deeper into the gutter and deeper into perversion and what starts as comic becomes tragedy. And episode three gives us great 'edge of the seat' climax, and takes Nan's journey to it's darkest and brightest places. Kudos to Rachel Stirling and Keeley Hawes for such convincing, powerful performances.
The mini-series touches on gender and class, and is ultimately empowering and quite moving. Of what little extras there are, there's a good interview session with Sarah Waters and the series scriptwriter.