But who could forget the stunning Jeremy Irons?
Thinking that his lustre might have tarnished, I found a publicity picture of him online, shot more than 25 years after the series-he is still the thinking woman's sex symbol.
The Brideshead of Waugh's world-castles, wealth, middle-class longings and blighted love is so separate from anything I have ever known-except in imagination. But imagination is a powerful force, is it not?
Desire, and secrecy, guilt and grace are themes that surface again and again, both in the television adaptation of the 1945 book, and in the novel itself, of course. Listening to the soundtrack today, I realized how little I allow myself to feel desire.
I'm not talking solely about sexual desire. It's that hunger for experience, a longing to know more about beauty and marvels, an unsatiated wonder, that opens gates of the world for us. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, we don't forget it.
When I do allow myself to want something badly, it is mostly directed towards what I crave for my children. That's more instinctive, and undoubtedly more precious.
I wish I had allowed myself to experience more willingness to be open to the unexpected illumination of mystery and knowledge and desire when I was younger. Possibly, though I am no longer that dreamy young woman, there is still time.