UK / ITV – Thames – Euston / 3×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 12 – 26 May 1992
Writer: Andrew Davies / Novel: Angus Wilson / Music: Colin Towns / Executive Producer: John Hambley / Producer: Andrew Brown / Director: Diarmuid Lawrence
The always steady hand of Andrew “saucy” Davies (surely the most prolific adapter on TV!) guides this very good 1992 mini series based on the acclaimed novel by Angus Wilson.
Richard Johnson (quite the leading man back in the day, he moved rather stately into quality character parts in later years) plays getting on in years archaeological historian Gerald Middleton who as a young man in 1912 was party to a find (a highly controversial phallic idol) that not only made his name but also led to a damaging affair with the wife of his best friend. Years later the facts surrounding the find haunt both Middleton and his dysfunctional family.
Like the brilliant Malcolm Bradbury, Angus Wilson uses the academic world to satarise class and social mores of the time and in particular the hypercritical nature of the Academia of the time.
A top script, powerful playing from the leads (not to mention a blink and you’ll miss it performance from a young Kate Winslet and an early role for Daniel Craig) make this period drama a very entertaining watch indeed.
Richard Johnson as Gerald Middleton
Douglas Hodge as Young Gerald
Elizabeth Spriggs as Inge Middleton
Briony Glassco as Young Inge
Tara Fitzgerald as Young Dollie
Nicholas Jones as Robin Middleton
Deborah Findlay as Kay Consett
Simon Chandler as John Middleton
Simon Mattacks as Donald Consett
Amanda Mealing as Elvira Portway
Paudge Behan as Larrie Rourke
Edna Doré as Mrs Salad
Oliver Ford-Davies as Professor Stokesay
Daniel Craig as Gilbert Stokesay