Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love has been a perennial bestseller since its publication in 1945 – and even starred in Sex And The City 2 (readers will no doubt already know that it’s a favourite of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw).
It’s understandable, then, that fans went into the BBC’s star-studded adaptation of the book with some trepidation; how, after all, could the TV series ever hope to capture the comedy, the glamour, and the overwhelmingly tragic undertones that’s become so synonymous with the tale of the passionate and headstrong Linda (Lily James)?
Thankfully, though, the TV series has gone down an absolute storm. People fell head-over-heels for James’ portrayal of the beloved book character, just as they did Emily Beecham’s Fanny. They obsessed over the show’s “aesthetic” in a very big way. And, after weeks of grimy police interview rooms in the same time-slot (adieu, Line Of Duty), many found it a relief to join the brightest of bright young things at a series of glittering debutante balls.
But the thing everyone’s talking about most?
Why, it’s the introduction of Andrew ‘Hot Priest’ Scott’s magnificent Lord Merlin, of course.
That’s right; over on Twitter, basically everyone who watched last night’s The Pursuit Of Love premiere is waxing lyrical about Scott’s performance.
“Andrew Scott has reached Peak Andrew Scott,” tweeted one viewer.
“Whoever paired Andrew Scott with Marc Bolan, you have my eternal respect,” added another, giving a much-deserved nod to the show’s glam rock soundtrack.
“Andrew Scott as Lord Merlin, dancing to T.Rex, has to be one of the TV highlights of the year,” said one more.
Meanwhile, another tweeted: “Andrew Scott’s only job in The Pursuit Of Love was to sass, serve looks and carry it comedically… and he did all of it, and then some.”
One more admitted: “I have never seen a single episode of Fleabag, but Andrew Scott is fine af so, yes, I will be flirting with the ‘Hot Priest’ account.”
Our favourite tweet of all, though, kept things overwhelmingly simple.
“Andrew Scott. That’s it. That’s the tweet.”
For anyone who has yet to engage with the show, though – or the book, for that matter, it’s worth noting that it spins a tale of a young woman who’s destined to find true love, no matter what the cost.
Cue the aforementioned Linda’s heart taking her on a series of misadventures all over Europe – much to the horror of those around her. Meanwhile, her best friend and cousin, Fanny, decides to stay in England, marry well, and follow a far more conventional path.
As such, it’s not long before Linda and Fanny’s diverging choices raise personal questions that remain intensely relevant today – questions about freedom, about love and sex, and the mystery of the human heart.
Interested? Don’t worry, there’s still time to catch up; the first episode of The Pursuit Of Love is now available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
The next episode of The Pursuit Of Love (a three-part series) will air on Sunday 16 May at 9pm on BBC One.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.