The Barchester Chronicles (1982)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Drama
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Reviews: 18 user | 2 critic

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Series cast summary:
 Rev. Septimus Harding (7 episodes, 1982)
Janet Maw ...
 Eleanor Bold / ... (7 episodes, 1982)
 Archdeacon Grantly / ... (7 episodes, 1982)
Angela Pleasence ...
 Susan Grantly (7 episodes, 1982)
 Mary Bold (6 episodes, 1982)
 Bishop Proudie (5 episodes, 1982)
 Mrs. Proudie (5 episodes, 1982)
 Obadiah Slope (5 episodes, 1982)
Susan Hampshire ...
 La Signora Madeline Vesey Neroni (5 episodes, 1982)
Susan Edmonstone ...
 Charlotte Stanhope (5 episodes, 1982)
Peter Blythe ...
 Bertie Stanhope (5 episodes, 1982)
Joseph O'Conor ...
 Mr. Bunce (4 episodes, 1982)
William Redgrave ...
 Samuel Grantly (3 episodes, 1982)
 Bishop Grantly (3 episodes, 1982)
Christopher Maynard ...
 Baby John Bold (3 episodes, 1982)
 Mr. Quiverful (3 episodes, 1982)
Maggie Jones ...
 Letitia Quiverful (3 episodes, 1982)
Clifford Parrish ...
 Abel Handy (3 episodes, 1982)
Derek New ...
 Francis Arabin (3 episodes, 1982)
 John Bold (2 episodes, 1982)
Trevor Baxter ...
 Dr. Gwynne (2 episodes, 1982)
 Tom Towers (2 episodes, 1982)
Wally Thomas ...
 Mr. Moody (2 episodes, 1982)
Richard Bebb ...
 Dr. Vesey Stanhope (2 episodes, 1982)
Kenneth Keeling ...
 Mr. Gazy (2 episodes, 1982)
Denis Carey ...
 Job Skulpit (2 episodes, 1982)
Richard Leech ...
 Wilfred Thorne (2 episodes, 1982)
Ursula Howells ...
 Miss Thorne (2 episodes, 1982)


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Release Date:

10 November 1982 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Donald Pleasence was cast at short notice after the first choice died. See more »


Rev. Septimus Harding: It seems to be a very fine legal quibble.
Archdeacon Grantly: Sir Abraham specializes in fine legal quibbles.
See more »


Featured in Timeshift: Alan Plater: Hearing the Music (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Idyllic and exemplary
18 April 2005 | by (Philadelphia) – See all my reviews

That any miniseries as exquisite as this, dating from 1982, would be long unavailable in the U.S., and then appeal only to a small audience, while American rather than British TV and cinema from all reports take the world by storm and set the standard, is cause for amazement if not alarm. Need anyone look further to sympathize with the conservatives in this story, who are wont to feel, in Mr. Arabin's words, that all virtue is disappearing in the wake of modern "progress"? On the other hand, the author Anthony Trollope's star has risen recently among critics and academics; and, even if you have yet to read him, this adaptation will at least afford you a breath of relief that something is therefore going right.

As the only (and minor) negative already noted by others, the character of Arabin is underdeveloped and perhaps miscast, or at least not well conceived and made up. We can even imagine that a scene or two written to this end were dropped at the last minute to save running time. Eleanor's eventual attraction to him surprises us, along with others in the story, almost enough to have _deus ex machina_ written all over it. While we must remember that a filmmaker cannot as easily as a novelist take a detour to acquaint us with an important character entering late, a problem remains for the audience here and something should have been done to solve it.

Now back to the positives. The script is full of quotable lines worthy of the IMDb database. I'll work on it. I also admire this production as a celebration of music. Several times we glimpse Mr. Harding conducting or training one of the finest choirs in the world. Although I doubt that a cathedral precentor even in the 19th century would be directly responsible for this work, it is peculiar that anyone who is, precentor or not, would be consigned to poverty: but, as we know, such is often the way of things. Mr. Harding's musicianship is nevertheless a great source of joy to himself and others. As he tells his daughter brightly when they must move to humbler quarters, "But we shall take the music with us!"

We must recognize in the cast, as Miss Thorne, the daughter of a great composer: Ursula Howells's father Herbert was the dean of cathedral music for two generations, leaving us a cornucopia of liturgical repertoire radiant with a distinctively Anglican mysticism. All concerned must have regarded her part in this production as a mutual honor and privilege. Along with the closing credits rolls a setting of the Jubilate Deo (Psalm 100) almost worthy of his pen, distinguished by a wistful violoncello part evoking the roles of all our Mr. Hardings.

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