2 user

The Wingless Bird 

On the eve of World War I, Agnes Conway manages both the business and the problems of her troubled family. She finds the strength to break class barriers and help her sister Jessie marry a ... See full summary »

On Disc

at Amazon






Learn more

More Like This 

The Moth (TV Movie 1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Set in 1913 Northumbria, England, the story is about Robert Bradley, a strong-willed young worker at a Jarrow shipyard, who arrives home one day to find that his father has died. At the ... See full summary »

Director: Roy Battersby
Stars: Jack Davenport, David Howey, Janet Dale
The Girl (TV Movie 1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In mid-19th century Northumberland , Hannah Boyle is left with the family of Matthew Thornton, the man her dying mother claims fathered her. Ill-treated by Thornton's bitter and vindictive ... See full summary »

Director: David Wheatley
Stars: Siobhan Flynn, Jonathan Cake, Mark Benton
The Fifteen Streets (TV Movie 1989)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In northern England around 1900, the worker John O'Brien lives near poverty in a small house in the worker's district. He falls in love with Mary, the teacher of his highly intelligent ... See full summary »

Director: David Wheatley
Stars: Owen Teale, Sean Bean, Anny Tobin
The Dwelling Place (TV Mini-Series 1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Set in the 1830's, the film tells the story of 16-year-old Cissie Brodie after the death of parents, and the repossession of the family home. She finds a barren place to live and care for ... See full summary »

Stars: Tracy Whitwell, Lucy Cohu, Ray Stevenson
Tilly Trotter (TV Mini-Series 1999)
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Tilly Trotter is a down to earth young woman who is full of integrity and impassioned with innocent affection for the local farmer. Resilience and self belief carry her through some very ... See full summary »

Stars: Carli Norris, Simon Shepherd, Gavin Abbott
The Tide of Life (TV Mini-Series 1996)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Tide of Life follows the fortunes of young housekeeper, Emily Kennedy, as she learns about relationships with three very different men. Forced from home of her first employer, Sep McGilby ... See full summary »

Stars: Gillian Kearney, John Bowler, Susie Burton
The Glass Virgin (TV Mini-Series 1995)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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 »

Stars: Jan Graveson, Christine Kavanagh, Brendan Coyle
The Black Velvet Gown (TV Movie 1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In the 1830's in northern England, Riah Millican, a widow with three children, takes a job as housekeeper to a reclusive former teacher, Percival Miller. Miller makes Riah the gift of a ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Stone
Stars: Bob Peck, Janet McTeer, Geraldine Somerville
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A man gets killed and his woman friend agrees to take on his surviving children. But as the decades started passing by, the children soon become aware of some painful secrets from the past.

Stars: Tom Goodman-Hill, Jonathan Kerrigan, Melanie Clark Pullen
The Cinder Path (TV Mini-Series 1994)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Tale of a farmer's son who gets involved with two sisters, then goes to fight in the trenches in WW1.

Stars: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lloyd Owen, Polly Adams
The Secret (TV Mini-Series 2000)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Period thriller serial. In the late 1880's reformed smuggler Freddie Musgrave has worked hard to turn a legitimate trade, but then a face from his past turns up threatening to ruin things for him.

Stars: Joanna Rowden, Adam Ironside, Milton Johns
Rag Nymph (TV Mini-Series 1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Separated from her prostitute mother as the woman flees on foot down the filthy mid-19th Century streets of Newcastle from the police, ten year old Millie is taken under the wing of rag ... See full summary »

Stars: Val McLane, Alec Newman, Christine Anderson


Series cast summary:
Claire Skinner ...  Agnes Conway 3 episodes, 1997
Edward Atterton ...  Charles Farrier 3 episodes, 1997
Anne Reid ...  Alice Conway 3 episodes, 1997
Michelle Charles Michelle Charles ...  Jessie Conway 3 episodes, 1997
Julian Wadham ...  Reginald Farrier 3 episodes, 1997
Daniel Casey Daniel Casey ...  Robbie Felton 3 episodes, 1997
Dinsdale Landen ...  Colonel Farrier / ... 3 episodes, 1997
Elspet Gray ...  Grace Farrier 3 episodes, 1997
Helen Morland Helen Morland ...  Nan Henderson 3 episodes, 1997
Anne Orwin Anne Orwin ...  Ma Felton 3 episodes, 1997
Frank Grimes ...  Arthur Conway 2 episodes, 1997
Amanda Royle Amanda Royle ...  Elaine Dawson Porter 2 episodes, 1997
Ronald Herdman Ronald Herdman ...  Doctor Bailey / ... 2 episodes, 1997
Shaun Mechen Shaun Mechen ...  Jimmy Felton 2 episodes, 1997
Dale Meeks Dale Meeks ...  Mike Felton 2 episodes, 1997
Moira Redmond ...  Nessy Forrester 2 episodes, 1997


On the eve of World War I, Agnes Conway manages both the business and the problems of her troubled family. She finds the strength to break class barriers and help her sister Jessie marry a good boy from a family of dockside toughs. Is she strong enough to break them again when Charles Farrier, a gentleman, courts her over his parents' opposition? Agnes faces an added dilemma when she finds her heart divided between Charles and his soldier brother Reginald. Written by Debbie Vanderwerff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

8 February 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Catherine Cookson's The Wingless Bird See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The title comes from Lord Byron's poem "L'Amitie est L'Amour sans Ailes" which translates to "friendship is love without wings." See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

high drama from the first lady of period fiction
9 June 2009 | by didi-5See all my reviews

Catherine Cookson was for many years the most borrowed and read writers from UK public libraries, and her novels remain popular years after her death. The TV adaptations which were made over a twenty year span generally do the books proud without making their thin plots seem ridiculous, and 'The Wingless Bird' is no exception.

Agnes Conway (Claire Skinner) is an independent young lady who works in her father's sweet shop. She's shielding her sister Jessie (Michelle Charles), who is having a secret romance with someone of a lower class, while herself engaging in an intrigue with the impossibly handsome Charles Farrier (Edward Atterton), the second son of a moneyed military family.

This is typical Cookson territory, really. There's high drama, attempted murders, disgrace, scandal, and a swathe of upper class snooty horrors including Charles' mother (Elspet Gray, perhaps still best known as mother to The Black Adder).

'The Wingless Bird' is engrossing, if predictable, fare, and is beautifully photographed and flawlessly played by its cast (Skinner in particular is excellent as are Anne Reid as her mother and Julian Wadham as the eldest Farrier son, Reg). A superior soapy drama.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 2 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed