Troubles (1988)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Drama
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A grand hotel fallen into decay, two women with secrets and a dangerous political situation about to boil over - these intriguing elements all combine in this gripping drama from the ... See full summary »

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Series cast summary:
 Major Brendan Archer (2 episodes, 1988)
 Edward Spencer (2 episodes, 1988)
 Sarah Devlin (2 episodes, 1988)
James Ellis ...
 Murphy (2 episodes, 1988)
Jane Quarmby ...
 Charity Spencer (2 episodes, 1988)
Sarah Quarmby ...
 Faith Spencer (2 episodes, 1988)
 Captain Bolton (2 episodes, 1988)
Fabia Drake ...
 Mrs. Rappaport (2 episodes, 1988)
Denys Hawthorne ...
 Boy O'Neill (2 episodes, 1988)
 Angela Spencer (2 episodes, 1988)
Breffni McKenna ...
 Ripon Spencer (2 episodes, 1988)
Cathleen Delany ...
 Miss Rice (2 episodes, 1988)
Stella McCusker ...
 Mrs. O'Neill (2 episodes, 1988)
 Viola O'Neill (2 episodes, 1988)
Eamon A. Kelly ...
 Dr. Ryan (2 episodes, 1988)
Phillida Sewell ...
 Miss Johnston (2 episodes, 1988)
Susan Field ...
 Mrs. Porteous (2 episodes, 1988)
Lollie May ...
 Miss Bagley (2 episodes, 1988)
Matyelok Gibbs ...
 Miss Staveley (2 episodes, 1988)
Eric Franics ...
 Mr. Norton (2 episodes, 1988)
Garrett Keogh ...
 Evans (2 episodes, 1988)
Martin Dempsey ...
 Mr. Devlin (2 episodes, 1988)
Justin McCarron ...
 Padraig Ryan (2 episodes, 1988)
James Gaddas ...
 Pike (2 episodes, 1988)
 Berry (2 episodes, 1988)
Duncan Bell ...
 Foster-Smith (2 episodes, 1988)
 Matthews (2 episodes, 1988)
Mark Conrad ...
 Mortimer (2 episodes, 1988)


A grand hotel fallen into decay, two women with secrets and a dangerous political situation about to boil over - these intriguing elements all combine in this gripping drama from the producer of the hit mini-series, The Irish R.M. In 1919, Major Brendan Archer arrives in Ireland to reunite with his fiancée, Angela Spencer. Unfortunately, the family home, The Majestic Hotel, is a decaying shadow of its former self, as is Angela. Puzzled by the changes, Archer's attentions are soon drawn to her lively friend, Sarah Devlin, a passionate Irish Nationalist. They fall in love, but the Major soon discovers some disturbing aspects about their relationship, which threatens to explode into violence, destruction, and murder. Written by The Huffs

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In politics, love is the first casualty







Release Date:

1 May 1988 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Nevolje  »

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Did You Know?


According to Michael Palin's diaries this was started filmed in early 1987 as a London Weekend Television drama with Palin as Major Archer, directed by 'Charles Struridge'. Other cast included 'Ian Richardson', Rosamund Greenwood, Rachel Kempson, Patience Collier, 'Gwen Nelson', 'Colin Blakley', Timothy Spall and Fiona Victory. Filming was curtailed after a week because of a strike. It was remounted with Ian Charleson as Major Archer. See more »


Featured in The Story of the Costume Drama: The Stars (2008) See more »


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User Reviews

Lovely film
16 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Set immediately after WWI and focusing gently around the troubles between the English and the Irish in Ireland, this layered saga rewards a viewer genuinely interested in the fate of its protagonist, the Englishman Major Archer (Ian Charleson). Major Archer's own mystifying and repeated "troubles" seem to eventually mirror the political troubles of British-occupied Ireland. And Ian Charleson gives a delicious performance that evokes just such an interest in his fate, no matter how eccentric his surroundings.

With Major Archer as the focus, this film makes wonderful viewing, as we see the British in Ireland through his eyes. And everything that happens to him, and the people around him, can also serve as metaphors of the times.

Major Archer's primary interactions are with a self-absorbed and outdated Englishman, Edward Spencer (played aptly by Ian Richardson) and his eccentric family, and a magnetic and coquettish Irish Catholic named Sarah (Emer Gillespie) whose charms Archer succumbs to. Sympathetic to the Irish cause, Major Archer has antagonists who are exemplified by the young and belligerently British Captain Bolton (Sean Bean). All three protagonists -- Charleson, Richardson, and Gillespie -- play their parts perfectly, and as the sprawling and multi-layered saga finally winds to a close, it feels moving and momentous.

This is Ian Charleson's last screen role, and a delightfully rich one. He plays the mild-mannered yet deep-feeling Major Archer with depth and with pitch-perfect affect. Lovely.

(Note: Americans and other non-Brits would do well to note that the term Sinn Féin is used frequently in the film; it is pronounced "Shin Fayne." This is the radical Irish Republican group, similar to the IRA. The slang term for the group is "Shinners.")

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