A villain threatens the rise of a new earl in an ancient kingdom.
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2000  
4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

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For this family, tradition is the only thing worth living... See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

BBC Online | PBS [United States]

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Release Date:

10 June 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Темное королевство  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(4 parts)

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The miniatures of Gormenghast Castle were made by the same department that made the futuristic Hyde Park "Xanadu" Hotel Tower for Dennis Potter's last TV series "Cold Lazarus". See more »

Quotes

Dr Prunesqualor: But do you not think...
Irma: No, I do not think! I am a woman.
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Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
brilliant steerpike in fantastic mad world
17 April 2002 | by See all my reviews

i happened to see the last episode of gormenghast in the middle of the night one day and was instantly intrigued. although i had no idea what was going on i was glued to my seat by the surreal sets and costumes and, above all, by the intense and brilliant acting!

i bought the books and dvd at once and soon realized the difference. the books are beautifully written and have a life of their own that does indeed compare to tolkiens middle earth. but the tv-series is marvelous. i think the whole story is very close to the books and all the actors are amazing.

jonathan rhys meyers as steerpike is the main focus of attention, every time hes onscreen the whole story gets incredibly dynamic and his villain is the most attractive person ive seen in a film in a long time. his characters brilliance, but also suffering, are the main themes of the film, since titus doesnt really seem convincing. most of the other characters are rather one dimensional, but thats intended, since no one wants to change in gormenghast except steerpike. even fuchsia, who is so miserable cant overcome her prejudices in the end.

whats strange in the film is that, given rhys meyers steerpikes attraction and intelligence and force, still everybody is unwilling to accept his qualities. he stays forever the kitchen boy, even when the whole castle couldnt do without him anymore. his despair and ultimate madness are the result of that constant rejection.

the books especially, but also the film, are ultimately a description of a world without love, compassion or warmth. everyone is doomed to remain unhappy within the strict hierarchy and no talents whatsoever will elevate you.

steerpike in the books is primarily a monster and sadistic murderer, whose motive is simply to gain power. why mervyn peake wrote him as the one to propel the whole story forward and at the same time didnt make him into a positive figure, i dont understand. i know its criticising the british monarchy, but thats what makes the books so depressing, in my opinion.

in the film steerpike is the central character, hes extremely good looking and has plenty of emotions, mostly rage and the supressing of rage, (contrary to the books i think, where hes always cold). still the ending is inevitable, because in gormenghasts world no one is allowed to succeed.

the film itself is beautifully shot, the music is great, the sets a little disappointing, but the costumes are truly beautiful. what does outshine most other tv-productions however, is the brilliant acting from the entire cast, but mainly rhys meyers powerful performance.


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