The Mayor Of Casterbridge was classic period drama. While drunk one day, farm labourer Michael Henchard sells his wife and baby at an auction to a sailor and subsequently loses contact with her.
Following the death of the sailor 18 years later, his wife, Susan, comes looking for Michael and finds he has done well for himself in the town of Casterbridge where he is currently the mayor. But as the story moves on his fortunes wane as his past catches up with him.
This was actually made some three years before it was transmitted but had remained on the shelf at ITV due to budget constraints. It had reportedly cost £4 million to make but apparently the station’s accounting practices at that time was that funds used to pay for programmes are not deemed to have been spent until a programme is actually broadcast.
UK / ITV-1 – Arts & Entertainment Network – Sally Head Productions / 2×120 minute episodes / Broadcast 28 and 29 December 2003
Writer: Ted Whitehead / Novel: Thomas Hardy / Executive Producers: Delia Fine, Sally Head / Producer: Georgina Lowe / Director: David Thacker
Ciaran Hinds as Michael Henchard
Juliet Aubrey as Susan Henchard
Jodhi May as Elizabeth-Jane
James Purefoy as Donald Farfrae
Polly Walker as Lucetta
Jean Marsh as Vagrant Woman On Trial
Trevor Peacock as Christopher Coney
Tony Haygarth as Solomon Longways
Clive Russell as Newson
Judy Cornwell as Mother Cuxsom
David Bradley as Councillor Vall
Sophie Stanton as Nance Mockridge
Henry Goodman as Joshua Jopp
Annette Badland as Mrs Stannidge
Ben Crompton as Abel Whittle
Richard Moore as Councillor Chalkfield
Alan Willimas as Stubbard
Karl Johnson as Fall