We all know about the Romeos and the Juliets, but what about other bit part romances? To keep the Shakespeare going there's not only Benedict and Beatrice, but Claudio and Hero too. Just because the little folk aren't front and centre, doesn't mean they love less, or less well. Jane Austin was perhaps the best at showing this; Elizabeth and Darcy had Jane and Bingley, Marianne and Captain Brandon had Elinor and Edward Ferrars. These weren't so much overshadowed as just left of centre, but I think it's time we brought a few of the overshadowed romantics into the limelight.
Let's start with the slightly tacky, The Parent Trap. Not the brilliant original beautifully led by Hayley Mills, but the terrible 90s remake with precocious Lindsey Lohan. Thankfully we’re going to ignore the wild child and look instead at Chessy and Martin. While Mummy and Daddy Dearest are busy screen hogging, look into the background and you'll see her butler, Martin, and his housekeep, Chessy, throw a few sizzling looks behind the others backs. Lisa Ann Walter and Simon Kunz play their parts so well in this film, they’re subtle and cheeky at the same time. And I'd give better odds on their marriage lasting than Nick Parker and Elizabeth James’s.
This one feels slightly uncomfortable. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Now we all know Harry Potter got Ginny Weasley and I think that is a good match, but Ron and Hermione? She's far too smart for him. I believe even JK has now said she may have made a mistake with that pairing. It's not that I disapprove of Ron, but he's a bit of sop, he's the kind of adorable puppy that worships and deserves to be worshiped. I like Herminone too, but after all we’ve seen of her, we know she's a fighter. Okay, not the fisticuffs type, though she does lay a beaut on Draco, but she’ll stand up and fight for her, or anyone else’s, rights. She’s smart and she's strong and I don't know how long her marriage to Ron would really last when she wakes up and realises that for all his wonderful qualities, she outsmarts him in every way.
Anyone aside from me remember back to Moonlighting? This was the vehicle that launched Bruce Willis on us, odd to think it was supposed to be the reviver of Cybill Shepherd’s career. Anyway, while those two were doing the will-they-won't-they thing front and centre, a wonderfully comic romance was happening over the reception desk between Agnes DiPesto (Allyce Beasley) and Herbert Quentin Viola (Curtis Armstrong). These two were clearly meant to be the muppets of the piece, but some of the rhyming couplets that got thrown around were dead funny - some were so sickly a sugar coma was possible, but again they were a second fiddle that did just as well as the first.
Here's one that I'm not entirely sure which way round it goes. In A Town Called Eureka the “big” story arc was Carter and Alison, but there was also Jo Lupo and Zane Donovan to watch out for. The bad boy and the cop, with the interesting twist that the future changed and she had to win him all over again.
Arguably John and Mary Watson fall into this category too. Their romance in Sherlock plays second fiddle to a love triangle, with John being part of the Johnlock triangle. And if you’re wondering how Johnlock is a triangle, well there's John, Sherlock and the only person Sherlock really loves - Sherlock!
Whilst we look at love triangles we could, at a stretch, include Rory Williams and Amy Pond. She does spend a lot of time appearing to be in love with her Raggedy Doctor, which sort of initially overshadows her future husband.
A Knights Tale is, for me, the best of all Heath Ledger's films. And in it he woos the lovely lady Jocelyn, played by Shannyn Sossamon. However, there was something I never quite believed about them as a couple. What I did believe would work better, was the sly little romance so easily ignored between Mark Addy, playing Roland, and Bérénice Bejo, Christiana the cute (possibly French) maid to Jocelyn. The exchange of looks between Roland and Christiana can burn across the screen, the body language, if you watch it, is a little teenage, but then love makes fools of us all.
Now for my personal favourite. Whatever else you might see in The Lord Of The Rings, there is a central love story, between Aragorn and Arwen, but there is another one going on in the background that comes across much better in the book and the extended version of the films. The one between Faramir and Eowyn. I love these two. The forgotten son of the Steward and the ignored niece of a King. They are both gentle and brave, gallant and bold (oh dear now I have a hymn earwormed into my head!). Both have a huge capacity for love in all its varieties and both know the hurt of being denied the parental love they crave. It's not that they get together because they are desperate, but because each sees in the other the mirror of their own experiences, the understanding of who and what they really are.
Here's to the little romantics. Their love might not make the headlines, no white tree will bloom for them only, but it doesn’t mean that their love isn’t every bit as great as the leading couple.
Gail lives in her own private dungeon populated with all the weird and the wonderful she can imagine. Some of it’s very weird, and the odd bits and pieces are a bit wonderful. Well okay, she lives in Swansea with her husband and daughter. And the world’s most demanding cat. To find out more about Gail, check out www.gailbwilliams.co.uk - Dare you!