Watched ‘Barchester Chronicles’

I have never read an Anthony Trollope book, and I know there are many of them.  I have however seen the series ‘The Way we Live Now’ starring David Suchet and greatly enjoyed it.  So when I spotted ‘The Barchester Chronicles‘ DVD I was quite looking forward to watching it.  The series was first shown in 1982 and is an adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s first two Barchester novels (The Warden and Barchester Towers).

The stars are Susan Hampshire, Donald Pleasence as Mr Harding (a central character), a very young Alan Rickman as adversary Obadiah Slope and Geraldine McEwan as Mrs Proudie the Bishops wife. 

 The plot centres around a zealous Mr John Bold an over zealous young reformer, discovering that the unworldly Mr Harding is in receipt of a very good wage for doing next to nothing takes it upon himself to point this out to Mr Harding, who is by turn horrified and mortified as he really has no idea about financial matters.  The newspapers get hold of this story and life for Mr Harding, from that point on, becomes intolerable.

I found this series a slow burner and didn’t think that I would like it, but the appearance of the slimy slithery Mr Slope (a kind of evangelical Uriah Heep with an eye for the ladies and not at all ‘umble’) played mesmerisingly by a very young Alan Rickman really livens up the series.  Slope  foolishly makes the mistake of making an enemy of the weak Bishops wife Mrs Proudy – and pays for it!  Mrs Proudy (Geraldine McEwan) and Mr Slope provide a lot of comedy.  The love interest is provided by Mr Hardings daughter Eleanor Bold.

The series was filmed in and around Peterborough Cathedral and on a BAFTA in 1982 for Design.

See here for full cast and nominations

Images and further plot details from here

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4 Responses to “Watched ‘Barchester Chronicles’”

  1. Okay, now I am motivated to read Barchester Towers (I read The Warden last winter) so that I can watch this. I love to hate Uriah Heep, and the Alan Rickman character sound divine in a devilish way 🙂

    I think the premise of the Harding/Bold problem is brilliant and look forward to seeing it adapted for screen.

  2. lyn marie cunliffe Says:

    I remember going through all Trollops books and really enjoying them a long while back when the kids where tiny and they are all in their 20s now ,,but I cant actualy remember any of the plots or characters ,I am not sure if that reflects on me or him,,I think I will chase up a few books to reread,I have been wondering what to read next ..

    • I’m going to have to read some (and I believe theres a lot of them) I hope that I like the way he writes – it could turn out to be a treasure trove!

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