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Episode #1.1 

Mrs. Helen Graham arrives at Wildfell Hall, a nearby old mansion. A source of curiosity for the small community, the reticent Helen and her young son Arthur are slowly drawn into the social... See full summary »


Mike Barker


Anne Brontë (novel), Janet Barron (adaptation) | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Tara Fitzgerald ... Helen Graham
Cathy Murphy Cathy Murphy ... Miss Myers
Jackson Leach Jackson Leach ... Arthur
Sarah Badel ... Rachel
Toby Stephens ... Gilbert Markham
Rupert Graves ... Huntingdon
Sean Gallagher ... Hargrave
Jonathan Cake ... Hattersley
Kenneth Cranham ... Reverend Millward
James Purefoy ... Mr. Lawrence
Janet Dale Janet Dale ... Mrs. Wilson
Aran Bell Aran Bell ... Richard Wilson
Miranda Pleasence ... Eliza Millward
Pam Ferris ... Mrs. Markham
Karen Westwood Karen Westwood ... Jane Wilson


Mrs. Helen Graham arrives at Wildfell Hall, a nearby old mansion. A source of curiosity for the small community, the reticent Helen and her young son Arthur are slowly drawn into the social circles of the village. With gossip flying, Gilbert Markham is led to believe that his friend, Mr. Lawrence is courting Mrs. Graham. At a chance meeting, a jealous Gilbert assaults Lawrence.

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Helen Graham to Gilbert Markham: [after refusing Mrs. Markham's invitation to party] I'm sorry. It is my son. I do not care to leave him alone.
Mrs. Markham: But surely you have a servant.
Helen Graham to Gilbert Markham: Rachel is too busy to be running after a lively boy.
Gilbert Markham: Are you really such a mischievous fellow?
Helen Graham to Gilbert Markham: No, No. But he is my only treasure, and I am his only friend. We don't like to be parted.
Gilbert Markham: So I observe.
Mrs. Markham: My dear! I call that doting. He mustn't always be tied to his mama's apron strings. He should learn to be ashamed of it.
Helen Graham to Gilbert Markham: Mrs Markham, I trust my son will never be ...
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User Reviews

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Part 1
3 October 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always had a lifelong love for period dramas and adaptations. Of course there are disappointments, as adaptations and as standalones (the latter of which to me as said many times is a much fairer way to judge, as there are dramas/films/series out there that are poor adaptations but very good and more on their own merits), but there are many great ones and even masterpieces/classics.

Anne Bronte was in the shadow of her sisters Charlotte and Emily and 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' less well-known than 'Jane Eyre' and 'Wuthering Heights'. Charlotte and Emily Bronte are great writers and their books classic but Anne does deserve more credit than just "the other Bronte sister", and 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' does deserve to be up there with Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights as it does have all the ingredients of a classic. The book is hugely atmospheric and emotionally impactful and what further makes it a classic is how direct Anne Bronte's writing was and how she really understood her characters and people around her at that time. This dramatisation is just excellent, seen clearly in this first part.

It is evocatively shot and the scenery is both beautiful and stark, the mist and rocks really giving setting the tone of the book. The costumes and the rest of the production values are incredibly well-done too. The music is haunting and unobtrusive with a real melancholic beauty to it too, some have deemed it anachronistic, personally thought it blended with the mood with no problem and actually enhanced it.

The script has Anne Bronte's writing style all over it and just as harrowing and heart-wrenching, and while details-wise it is not the most faithful adaptation there is the gritty and affecting spirit of the book is absolutely there and with a great passion also. Regarding other adaptations of any of the Bronte Sisters' work the 1983 'Jane Eyre' comes closest to evoking that feeling exactly. The direction is sensitive and lets things flow smoothly. The acting is without complaint, the supporting turns especially Pam Ferris turn in great work but it is the three leads that captivate.

Rupert Graves has the juiciest character as Arthur Huntingdon and he is incredible, he shows an initial charming side to Arthur but later becomes brutish and tormented, making it easy for us to really hate him with an ounce of sympathy too. Tara Fitzgerald is appropriately stoic, determined and passionate, you can tell how into the role of Helen she was with what she does physically(ie. no makeup, making her perhaps less attractive than she actually is). Toby Stephens gives one of his better performances here too, giving a tender and magnetic performance with ruggedly handsome charm too.

Overall, excellent. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

17 November 1996 (UK) See more »

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WGBH See more »
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