Gormenghast (2000)

TV Mini-Series  |  Unrated  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Drama
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A villain threatens the rise of a new earl in an ancient kingdom.

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Series cast summary:
 Lady Gertrude (4 episodes, 2000)
 Flay (4 episodes, 2000)
 Barquentine (4 episodes, 2000)
 Lady Fuchsia (4 episodes, 2000)
 Steerpike (4 episodes, 2000)
 Dr. Prunesquallor (4 episodes, 2000)
 Irma Prunesquallor (4 episodes, 2000)
June Brown ...
 Nannie Slagg (3 episodes, 2000)
Lynsey Baxter ...
 Cora Groan (3 episodes, 2000)
 Clarice Groan (3 episodes, 2000)
George Antoni ...
 Bookman (3 episodes, 2000)
Sean Hughes ...
 Poet (3 episodes, 2000)
 Professor Bellgrove (2 episodes, 2000)
 Swelter (2 episodes, 2000)
 Lord Groan (2 episodes, 2000)
Windsor Davies ...
 Rottcodd (2 episodes, 2000)
 Keda (2 episodes, 2000)
 Mollocks (2 episodes, 2000)


Gormenghast is an ancient city-state which primarily consists of a rambling and crumbling castle. The narrative, based on the first two of the three Gormenghast novels by Mervyn Peake, begins with the birth of a son, Titus, to the 76th Earl, Sepulchrave Groan, and Countess Gertrude. This mismatched pair (he'd prefer the melancholy privacy of his library; she'd prefer the company of her menagerie of cats and birds) also have a teenaged daughter, Fuchsia, who resents her new brother but comes to love him dearly. Simultaneously, a young kitchen apprentice, Steerpike, takes advantage of an altercation between head cook Swelter and the Earl's manservant, Mr. Flay, and escapes from the kitchens. Gormenghast is rigidly feudal in structure, but Steerpike has ambitions. He befriends the imaginative, yearning Fuchsia, and through her becomes apprenticed to the castle physician, Dr. Prunesquallor, who lives with his man-hunting sister Irma. This position allows Steerpike to work his way into the... Written by G.M. Baxter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


77 generations built the kingdom of Gormenghast... Will one kitchen boy bring it down? See more »


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Release Date:

10 June 2000 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(4 parts)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Christopher Lee was an acquaintance of the author of the books, Mervyn Peake. See more »


Steerpike: Help me, I'm starving.
Lady Fuchsia: Don't touch me.
Steerpike: Listen to me...
Lady Fuchsia: Don't touch!
Steerpike: Listen to me. Please! I did it; I admit it. I killed Flay. You know that, don't you? I killed your aunts, I burnt the library... It was me! I burnt your father's books. I drove him mad - He killed himself because of me. But I did it all for you...
Lady Fuchsia: I hate you.
Steerpike: I did it all so I could be in a place where you would see me.
Lady Fuchsia: I don't want to see you!
Steerpike: You love me! I'm ugly and I'm disgusting and you love me. You love me because I'm ...
See more »


Spin-off The Boy in Darkness (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Ossified Medieval Culture
7 September 2004 | by (Atwater, CA) – See all my reviews

This BBC mini-series is actually a combination of the books Titus Groan and Gormenghast. In 4 - 1 hour parts, being from the BBC they're really close to a whole hour as opposed to the usual 45 minute network episodes.

Gormenghast is an ancient kingdom that must be located somewhere in Europe, since it is populated with Europeans. More specifically, it is populated with really odd Europeans, which sounds more like Great Britain. In fact it is a fictional location in which Mervyn Peake has created an extremely ossified culture, technologically stagnant, that indulges itself in numerous obscure rituals that cover almost all routine events, written down in huge books and applied as if their lives depended on it.

The story centers around the Groans, who's male heirs rule as Earls. Titus is set to become the 77th Earl of Groan, and as he matures he sees it as his doom rather than his destiny, and comes to despise Gormenghast.

At first, however, he's just a baby and the story centers on his father and the odd ducks that are his family and servants. Into this mix is added Steerpike, a kitchen boy of huge ambition that finds ways to ingratiate, titillate and extort his way to a much higher position, hardly killing anyone at all to get there. The Groans and Gormenghast in general are so dense and caught up in the minutiae of their lives it takes them years to realize that there's a raccoon in the chicken house, so there's plenty of story to take up a 4 hour mini-series.

I read these two books once upon a time and hardly remember them. I believe the BBC series plays Steerpike a bit more sympathetic than the books did. The trilogy has been compared to LOTR and the Thomas Covenant trilogy, both of which I liked more than Gormenghast. Gormenghast is fiction not fantasy, there are no dragons, orcs or hobbits. The kingdom appears to be mostly medieval with some touches of modernity here and there. The closest thing to monsters are the huge Death Owls.

What makes the mini-series work is a very talented cast that bring their characters to life. They make it a pleasure to watch, if only once. 8/10

The 2 DVD set has a Making Of, Cast interviews, a few unrelated trailers. It is all shot in a peculiar not-quite 4:3 or 16:9 format, at least the way my hardware decoded it to the screen. Video and audio are strictly TV quality, with video colorful if a bit smeared and audio all upfront mono as far as I could tell. The DVDs get a 6/10 for getting it on my screen but not much else.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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