He’s older but is he wiser – and does he still have a mischievous eye for a rich woman?

If you’ve ever wondered what happened to Pride and Prejudice scoundrel Mr. Wickham, a new show heading to our area stage will be right up your street.

Actor Adrian Lukis brings him back to life 25 years after he first played Jane Austen’s famous cad in the hugely popular ’90s BBC TV drama.

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Being Mr. Wickham, at Darlington Racecourse, will explore what has become of the character who played so mischievously with the affection of the Bennet Girls.

The TV adaptation, which also saw Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, had fans glued to their screens in 1995 and still does, Adrian says, as new generations find out on TV streaming services.

He was inspired to revisit the character, he says, after turning 60 and began to wonder what it would be like for a man like Wickham who had survived thanks to his looks and wit as he got older.

“I also wanted to explore things like what he really thinks of Elizabeth Bennet, what he really thinks of Lydia. These questions really interested me,” says Adrian.

“My premise was that people don’t tend to see themselves through the wrong lens, and there are always two sides to a story. I could have written it like Flashman – complete boundary that doesn’t care – but something that I have taken away very strongly from the book is that Wickham is presumably a nice man.

Actor Adrian Lukis

“He’s always described as charming and lovable, rather than someone who constantly plots and twirls his mustache. He admits he does bad things, but turns on the audience and asks’ did you lead a irreproachable life “? Also, he points out that life would be very dull without rascals. I would much rather spend an evening with him than with Darcy!

He had no idea the BBC series would become such a phenomenon, he said.

“I remember writing to Colin Firth shortly after it came out, when he was off filming in South America, and telling him ‘you have no idea what’s going on with you, this show has walked through the roof and you’re famous.

“That being said a few weeks later, we went to London for a pint together, and I thought we would be absolutely assaulted – Darcy and Wickham together – but no one recognized us!”

* Being Mr Wickham is at Darlington Racecourse on Monday and Tuesday October 11-12, darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk or call 01325 405405 for details.

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