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Barchester Chronicles, The (BBC 1982, Donald Pleasence, Alan Rickman)



The Barchester Chronicles was a period drama serial in the best BBC tradition detailing intrigue and double dealing in the closed in world of Cathedral life. The 7 part serial was based on two of Trollope’s Barchester novels Barchester Towers and The Warden.

Friendly and mild mannered Reverend Septimus Harding is living something of a secret life in that he is embezzling funds from the town hospital. Trouble starts when the local doctor discovers what is going on, later in the series the focus shifts to the story of the Bishop who is to be replaced. Arthur Lowe was first choice for the role of Septimus but died before filming could take place.

production details
UK / BBC-2 / 7×55 minute episodes / 1982

Writer: Alan Plater / Novels: Anthony Trolloppe / Music: Derek Bourgeois / Cinematography: Geoff Feld / Production Design: Chris Pemsel / Costume Design: Juanita Waterson / Producer: Jonathan Powell / Director: David Giles

Donald Pleasence as Rev. Septimus Harding
David Gwillim as John Bold
John Ringham as Finney
Joseph O’Conor as Bunce
Clifford Parrish as Handy
Wally Thomas as Moody
Kenneth Keeling as Gazy
Janet Maw as Eleanor Bold (née Harding)
Nigel Hawthorne as Archdeacon Grantly
Cyril Luckham as Bishop Grantly
Barbara Flynn as Mary Bold
Angela Pleasence as Susan Grantly
Denis Carey as Skulpit
George Costigan as Tom Towers
William Redgrave as Samuel Grantly
Michael Aldridge as Sir Abraham Haphazard
Keith Marsh as Bell
Christopher Maynard as Baby Bold
Clive Swift as Bishop Proudie
Alan Rickman as Rev. Obadiah Slope
Alec Bregonzi as Footman
Richard Bebb as Dr. Vesey Stanhope
Phyllida Law as Mrs. Stanhope
Susan Hampshire as Signora Madeline Neroni
Geraldine McEwan as Mrs. Proudie
Peter Blythe as Ethelbert ‘Bertie’ Stanhope
Susan Edmonstone as Charlotte
Jonathan Adams as Quiverful
Maggie Jones as Mrs. Quiverful
Derek New as Dr. Francis Arabin
Mischa De La Motte as The Dean
Ursula Howells as Miss Thorne