When a crusade against the Church of England's practice of self-enrichment misfires, scandal taints the cozy community of Barchester when their local church becomes the object of a scathing, investigative report.

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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)
 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)


The Barchester Chronicles, a BBC miniseries, is adapted from two mid-19th century novels by Anthony Trollope. When a crusade against the Church of England's practice of self-enrichment misfires, scandal taints the cozy community of Barchester when their local church becomes the object of a scathing report about the use of church funds. Consequently, an honorable middle-aged clergyman (Donald Pleasence) is forced into moral crisis and a conflict with his son-in-law, a pompous archdeacon (Nigel Hawthorne) and his youngest daughter's beloved (David Gwillim). The arrival of a new bishop (Clive Swift), his domineering wife (Geraldine McEwan), and a devious chaplain (Alan Rickman) - who may be hiding secrets - add to the dramatic scheming and complex power struggles among a colorful cast of characters. Written by Lulupalooza

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

10 November 1982 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Mr. Harding's daughter Susan is played by Donald Pleasence's real-life daughter, Angela Pleasence. See more »


Rev. Septimus Harding: I am safe because the church has more money than the reformers. And because of a fine legal quibble, I'm safe.
Archdeacon Grantly: Yes.
Rev. Septimus Harding: Does Sir Abraham say anything about the morality of the situation?
Archdeacon Grantly: Certainly not! The legal profession does not concern itself with morality.
Bishop Grantly: Our department, is it not?
Rev. Septimus Harding: Forgive me, Bishop, Archdeacan: if the world considers me to be a thief, it is of small comfort to know that a "fine legal quibble" says that I am not! Excuse me.
Archdeacon Grantly: My father in law can be a very difficult ...
See more »


Followed by Doctor Thorne (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Faithfully serene
25 May 2001 | by (Derbyshire, UK) – See all my reviews

This was another historical series of novels, which the BBC faithfully adhered to (and they managed to run two unequally-sized volumes, "The Warden" and "Barchester Towers", together without the join showing).

Donald Pleasance, normally noted for playing Bond villains, played the modest and unctuous Septimus Harding brilliantly. Nigel Hawthorne, as his son-in-law Dr. Grantly, provided the perfect combative foil. However, Alan Rickman, in one of his first major roles as the scheming Obadiah Slope, may have stolen the show. Clive Swift, as the henpecked Bishop of Barchester, established and refined the character he was later to play as the husband of Hyacinth Bouquet in "real" comedy.

The location shots in cloisters give a very real impression of a withdrawn and contemplative clergy, obsessed with its own affairs and internal squabbles. The jarring note of the first two or three episodes, when John Bold questions whether a long-established tradition connected with a charitable bequest is indeed in the interests of the recipients of that charity, shows the how uneasy the various clerical characters are when dealing with the world outside.

Many of the shots in scenes in a flat countryside seemingly locked into August throughout the eight episodes which covered a span of several years, also give the impression of withdrawal from the day-to-day life of any activity but that of the church.

As an examination of the mores and attitudes of his period, Anthony Trollope produced a brilliant pair of novels. The BBC have produced an equally brilliant adaptation, although slow enough in pace to be almost soporific in parts.

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