This Masterpiece Theatre production, set at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, chronicles the life, loves, foibles and politics of the fictional English town of Middlemarch. Adapted ... See full summary »
The series tells the story of Amy Dorrit, who spends her days earning money for the family and looking after her proud father, who is a long term inmate of Marshalsea debtors' prison in ... See full summary »
At the center of the story is Augustus Melmotte, a European-born city financier, whose origins are as mysterious as his business dealings. Trollope describes him as 'something in the city',... See full summary »
Set in Victorian London, Gwendolen Harleth is drawn to Daniel Deronda, a selfless and intelligent gentleman of unknown parentage, but her own desperate need for financial security may destroy her chance at happiness.
In the 1840s, Cranford is ruled by the ladies. They adore good gossip; and romance and change is in the air, as the unwelcome grasp of the Industrial Revolution rapidly approaches their beloved rural market-town.
Set in 1870s England, the story tells of Annabella Lagrange and the terrible secret her wealthy parents have kept from her. When she finally learns the truth, she runs away and eventually ... See full summary »
At a country fair, young hay-trusser Michael Henchard quarrels with his wife Susan, and in a drunken fit decides to auction off his wife and baby to a sailor for five guineas. The next day,... See full summary »
The tongues of London high society gossips begin to wag when John Harmon --a young man whose inheritance depended on his marrying a woman he had never met-- is found dead in the River Thames. The fortune passes into the hands of the working-class Boffins, who take into their new home both Bella Wilfer (Harmon's would-be bride), and a mysterious secretary known as Rokesmith. Meanwhile, Lizzie Hexam, the daughter of the boatman suspected of Harmon's murder, is pursued by two suitors: obsessive and self-righteous Bradley Headstone and roguish and lethargic Eugene Wrayburn. An expansive and varied cast of characters create an epic intertwining tale. Written by
"Our Mutual Friend," is another well done BBC adaptation of a classic Charles Dickens story, set in the complex London of 1860, beset with the poor, overseen by the unseemly rich with a class structure at it's most delineated.
All of these stories deserve the mini-treatment, to allow us into the sprawl of the period and soak up its language and atmosphere and this is right up there with the best of them. The waterfront sets are magnificent as are the sets for the refuse dump where a lot of the action takes place. The cast is enormous and includes many recognised British names, from Timothy Spall, one of my personal favourites, to Margaret Tyzack, another favourite from the original "Forsyte Saga" series.
Each character is well drawn and complex in all its humanity and struggle for survival. Keely Hawes shines as a woman ill suited to a life on the river, retrieving drowned corpses for their clothes and possessions, and as her counterpart, Anna Friel is sparkling with wit and beauty as a poverty stricken woman striving to acquire a rich husband.
The script is authentic to Dickens and the era, underlaid with a haunting musical score and overlaid with a cinematography that sweeps from the multi-layered greys of the slums and river life to the lush English gardens of the well-to-do and their sumptuous parties.
Much like the mini "Pride and Prejudice", all the plot lines sweep to a happy, clean and simple denouement in the end, but the ride is sure-footed with many interesting characters to bewitch and fascinate along the way and a suspenseful drama to hold interest.
9 out of 10 and not to be missed.
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