I've never been a passionate George Eliot fan - I've started and not finished Middlemarch about five times, even though I do always enjoy it. But I'm really, really enjoying the radio adaptation of Daniel Deronda which just aired on BBC 7 and to which I've been listening on Listen Again*. Whoever is playing Gwendolen is great - a perfect mixture of brittle don't-careishness and genuine feeling. I think good radio acting is rather under-rated, and it only really struck me quite how much difference an unseen performance makes to the quality of a production recently, when I was listening to the Lord Peter adaptations, also on BBC 7. I was delighted when they started repeating these programmes, because I'd never heard a radio version of Sayers before. And of course I love the writing and the plots. But I can't listen to them anymore, simply because I really can't bear Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter himself. His voice is just incredibly irritating - it rises at the end of every sentence and he draws out those final words in a way that makes my skin crawl. I didn't like Carmichael's television versions, but thought that was because he looked so wrong for the part. Apparently his annoying appearance blinded me to the fact that he sounds all wrong as well.
*BBC 7 programmes are available for a week after broadcast, so the first episode will be available until Friday. To hear it, go to the BBC 7 site, and open BBC Radio Player by clicking on 'Listen Live". Then scroll down until you get to Daniel Deronda. Just click on Friday - that was the first episode. The next two aired on Monday and Tuesday.