Lillie Langtry, trapped in a loveless marriage, takes full advantage of her beauty, attracting many lovers and admirers including the Prince of Wales and Oscar Wilde. As her husband slowly ... See full summary »
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1  
1978  
2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Series cast summary:
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Peggy Ann Wood ...
 Mrs. Le Breton 10 episodes, 1978
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Denis Lill ...
 Prince of Wales (Bertie) / ... 9 episodes, 1978
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 Patsy Cornwallis-West 8 episodes, 1978
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 Frank Miles 7 episodes, 1978
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 Dean Le Breton 7 episodes, 1978
John Barcroft ...
 Francis Knollys 7 episodes, 1978
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 Princess Alexandra / ... 6 episodes, 1978
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Storyline

Lillie Langtry, trapped in a loveless marriage, takes full advantage of her beauty, attracting many lovers and admirers including the Prince of Wales and Oscar Wilde. As her husband slowly drinks himself to death, Lillie embarks upon a sensational career as a somewhat talented yet beautiful actress in Britain and the United States. Throughout her life she attracts rich and sometimes brutal lovers, endures financial ruin and scandal, yet maintains her dignity, elegance, and a certain amount of her beauty until the end of her life. Written by <LACrosthwait@prodigy.net>

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Release Date:

11 March 1979 (USA)  »

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(13 episodes)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

More than 1,000 performers appear in the mini series, with 150 of them as principal characters. See more »

Quotes

[Oscar Wilde is carrying a lily.]
Oscar Wilde: I could only afford one bloom, and I told them it had to be the most perfect in all Covent Garden, as it was for you.
Lillie Langtry: And you carried all the way here?
Oscar Wilde: All the way on foot, and I hate walking. It was like a royal progress. As I passed down the Strand, I heard one pompous gentleman say loudly enough for all to hear, "There goes that bloody fool, Oscar Wilde." I bowed to him and said, "I am carrying this to Mrs. Langtry. Would you not gladly exchange places?"
Lillie Langtry: [...]
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Connections

Featured in The Story of the Costume Drama: The Stars (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Engrossing biography of famed beauty/actress Lillie Langtry
16 February 2001 | by (Putney, VT) – See all my reviews

Watching this on video it is hard to believe it dates from 1978 - it looks as modern as today in its production values. Perhaps all there is to give it away is the habit of using videotape only for scenes shot within the studio, resorting to film when out of doors or on location (the very poor quality of the film, its grain, washed out colors etc, were typical of the stock of the time and can be jolting when sandwiched between scenes of the impeccably crystal clear video stock). Francesca Annis plays Lillie with grace, charm and a certain calculated iron will - we rarely like her or what she does, but she is never deliberately cruel or offensive. She is out for number one but manages to make all the men in her menagerie feel she is devoted to their wishes. With almost a dozen lovers under her belt in her long career, she cashes in on her beauty when discovered in the London society of the 1870s and parlays it into the life of the courtesan, eventually gaining prestige by going on the stage and touring America many times over. Annis amazingly plays Lillie from adolescent tomboy through awkward young wife, self-assured celebrity and finally doddering old age - with not a single wrong note. The make-up in the last few episodes of both Annis and Denis Lill (Bertie)are extraordinary. Along the way we have Jennie Linden's marvelous supporting work as Bertie's ex and Lillie's lifelong friend, Patsy Cornwallis-West and Peter Egan's perfect dramatization of the effete and erudite Oscar Wilde. The sets are gorgeous and the costumes sumptuous - each one impeccably designed. This is a most interesting and educational look at an era and the survival of one very clever woman within its midst. One of the BBC's best mini-series.


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