PRIDE AND PREJUDICE star Matthew MacFadyen refused to watch Colin Firth's classic TV performance as dashing hero MR DARCY, because he was determined to make the character his own.

Firth, who starred in the 1995 British TV series of JANE AUSTEN's romantic tale, is often hailed as the ultimate Darcy, and MacFadyen knows he has a lot to live up to.

He says, "I hadn't seen the TV series when I was given the part so I decided not to watch it in case it influenced my own performance.

"I know that everyone loved Colin's portrayal and that kind of comparison is going to be hard to live with.

"So the moment some of the audience see me on screen as Mr Darcy, they're going to say,'Oh, that's not him.'"