In the 1980s I loved the TV series of Beauty & the Beast and I wanted to commemorate it in stitches
I've alway loved cross stitching and wanted to share this with you from January 2004. It was always one of my favourites both the TV series and the project.
Does anyone remember the original from the 80s?
It starred Ron Pearlman and Linda Hamilton and in 2012 they brought out a new one out with Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan. As a series goes, it's okay, but it left out two major ingredients that made the original so unique.
* The tunnels
* Vincent, part lion, part man
The tunnels were under the city of Manhatten and it was where a secret community lived. People above did not know if its existence. Vincent, who looked like a lion/man, could not come out during the day in case people saw him. They would only want to capture and exploit him. So he could only venture out at night. He looked fearsome, but underneath he was a good man. The tunnels were other outcasts lived. People who had their own reasons for wanting to hide away. It was their stories that captured everyone's imagination. The tunnels were mysterious with some surprising places deep underground. It was sad the producers of the new one completely disregard this magical place.
There was something special about Vincent, the half man, and half beast hero. His dress was old-fashioned and he wore cloaks that flowed behind him as he ran. It made him all the more charismatic. He looked fearsome and indeed he could be, he also had a great capacity to love and empathise with people. The love of his life is Catherine and their romance was magical. This great big beast and the petite woman captured everyone's hearts. In the 2012 version, Vincent is a good looking man with a temper that makes his eyes luminescent and Catherine a tough cop who can look after herself. There is romance, but it is more about the two of them.
If you were to watch the original series today, it is a little corny in parts, but the magic and romance still remain. Should you ever visit Manhatten, you will look at those steaming manholes with new eyes.
In 2004, I had a DMC pattern designer and chose a classic photo of Vincent. In his underground chamber, the place he lived and slept and read his many books, he had a stained glass window. I found a picture of him in a thoughtful pose. with the window behind him. I charted it and chose the colours to match the original picture. I didn't realise it would be so complex and contain well over 1,000 stitches. And more importantly, it would take me several years to complete.
I took the first photograph on 11th January 2004 and it was just a blur of browns, by 18th, Vincent began to emerge, and on April 26th he was finally recognisable.
He travelled around Cornwall to some beautiful locations that year. I loved nothing better than sitting in the car overlooking the sea and stitching.
In 2005, for our 25th wedding anniversary, we toured New England in the Fall, and Vincent came too. The coach was ideal for stitching and the colours matched the beautiful ones on the trees. People would come over and ask what I was stitching and were fascinated as more of the picture was unveiled.
2006, I was still stitching. We went to Anglesey for a weekend break with Vincent in my bag. The same year he came with us to Amsterdam in the Spring, and Corfu in the summer. I stitched in the hotel, by the pool, and on the beach.
In 2007 we drove from our home in Manchester to the Orkney Isles. In the car, my hands were forever busy. The ferry across to Kirkwall was too rough to stitch, but on the boat to Westray, I was able to complete a few more stitches.
In the remote parts of the island as the sea lashed against the rocks, I knew it was a sight that Vincent would appreciate. I remembered when he was able to escape the confines of the tunnels and go to a secluded beach with Catherine. It was a beautiful episode as they watched the sea lashing against the rocks, spending precious time together in the sun.
Finally, in August 2008, Vincent was complete and each time I look at him and remember the magic of the tunnels and the secret love he shared with Catherine.