Archive for Way we Live Now

Watched ‘Barchester Chronicles’

Posted in period drama, Watched it with tags , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2011 by echostains

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