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The Stalls of Barchester (1971)

TV Movie  |   |  Horror  |  24 December 1971 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 177 users  
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While cataloging the library of Barchester Cathedral, a scholar finds a diary detailing the events surrounding the mysterious death of an Archdeacon some 50 years earlier. The first of the BBC's famed 'A Ghost Story for Christmas'.


(story) (as Montague Rhodes James)
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Complete credited cast:
Thelma Barlow ...
Letitia Hayes
Will Leighton ...
Harold Bennett ...
Archdeacon Pulteney
Penny Service ...
Jane Lee
Martin Hoyle ...
Erik Chitty ...
David Pugh ...
Ambrose Coghill ...
Museum Curator


A scholar, Dr Black (Clive Swift), is engaged in cataloging the collection of the library of Barchester Cathedral. He is finding the work heavy going as there is little of any real interest within the collection and the librarian is proving less than helpful. However, the librarian and Dr Black discover a box of documents pertaining to a former Archdeacon of the Cathedral. Black begins reading the diary of Dr Haynes, an ambitious cleric who finds his promotion to the position of Archdeacon blocked by a geriatric incumbent who seems like he will never vacate the position. The impatient Haynes (Robert Hardy) seems to conspire to hasten the Archdeacon's death and is duly appointed Archdeacon. However, his diary reveals that once in post Haynes becomes increasingly disturbed as he is plagued by unnerving events both within the Cathedral and his own home. Written by Mark_a_Wood <>

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Plot Keywords:

gothic horror | based on book | See All (2) »







Release Date:

24 December 1971 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Ghost Story for Christmas: The Stalls of Barchester  »

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User Reviews

The Stalls of Barchester
29 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

Fun to see this. A Warning to the Curious and Lost Hearts were the masterpieces of the series. This entry is dour and a little plodding but has a palpable tension and dread. It boasts a memorable shock a good five years before DePalma's Carrie, although my memory of it was a little different. It will still make you jump and your blood run cold. 'Stalls' was the series finding its feet. The structure, with two lots of voice-overs is somewhat awkward and unwieldy. The academic inquiry is dry and your attention may wander, forcing you to backtrack. It is the antecedent of The Treasure Of Abbott Thomas, which was similarly scholarly, although not ruinously. It is M R James approach and you can take it or leave it.

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