Howards End: Episode 3 Reviews

The third episode of Howards End aired tonight on BBC One and continues to get rave reviews as the struggle between classes clash while still being timely today.

Radio Times:

“You talk about the man as if he is an exhibition at the circus,” snapped Henry Wilcox (Matthew Macfadyen) about the Schlegel sisters’ attitude to poor Leonard Bast in episode three. And he certainly had a point.


That’s the thing about this brilliant book. It’s a talky story, where people exchange ideas and multiple perspectives are given. And while the evils of class discrimination and privilege are given no quarter, there are no definitive answers. What we get is a working through of ideas, an airing. As E M Forster (and Margaret) maintain in their one, abiding principle, the only answer to life’s troubles is to “connect” with your fellow human beings.


This intellectual to-ing and fro-ing, the calibration of thinking and argument, is why the book and this excellent adaptation is so enjoyable.  And when dramatic thing happen, they really resonate.

The Telegraph:

That is not quite as it was in the book, yet this penetrating adaptation by film-maker Kenneth Lonergan distils the essence of their relationship and the clash of intellectualism and materialism it embodies.


Macfadyen’s Henry may be younger and less obtuse than Forster’s, and Atwell’s Margaret less overtly determined to bridge the gulf between the prose and the passion in him. But these tweaks are convincing in a drama that can shock at times in how contemporary and relevant it feels despite the fusty Edwardian setting.


As a dissection of class, and the determinism of economic circumstance, Howards End still packs a powerful punch 107 years on.