Jeffrey Richards
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The multi-media Pimpernel
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The Scarlet Pimpernel, in reality Sir Percy Blakeney, Baronet, is a character who decisively fixed the image of the French Revolution in the minds of successive generations of British readers. In the Pimpernel saga, liberty, equality and fraternity came off a definite second best to chivalry, duty and noblesse oblige. Several important factors explain the durability of the Pimpernel in the popular imagination. He is one of the most notable examples of the 'masked avenger', a staple figure in swashbuckling literature and film. The 1935 film The Scarlet Pimpernel became the definitive screen version and one of the most fondly remembered British films of the 1930s. Although The Scarlet Pimpernel, made in 1998, had the first of the three episodes, retold the basic story familiar from the 1935, 1950 and 1982 versions, there were changes. A second series of three ninety-minute episodes was produced in 2000.

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