There’s always been a rather Sapphic edge to the dynamic between a lady of noble birth and her slightly less privileged companions. This is particularly true in Victorian and early 20th century settings, where two unattached women might find themselves alone together for extended periods of time and bound by convention not to form real bonds with either the servants or the menfolk. In a world where emotive expression is not encouraged and intimacy is confined to closed doors and dark corners, human beings look for connection. Plus, you know...that power dynamic is hot as hell.
Which is precisely the conclusion reached by Miss Bower, the titular Lady’s Companion played by Rosie in this week’s release.
She mostly took the job out of necessity, we suspect; she needed to find a husband, which would be easier in the company of Lady Pandora than from her own reduced circumstances, and she needed to support herself in the meantime, which the house and wage on offer would enable her to do. And if her new mistress’s idea of discipline seems a little draconian...well, it’s a small price to pay.
Once she’s been there a while, though, she makes a startling discovery. There’s much more to learn from this rich widow than simply etiquette and connections - Coleridge and his “woman wailing for her demon-lover” give Miss Bower quite a start - and as for the discipline, well, it turns out there’s more to like about that than she could ever have imagined.
There’s a fun moment in the backstage footage where Rosie remarks that her character is clearly never going to marry - the two of them will be quite happy together for a long time yet, she suspects. I can’t say I can blame her.