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The Barchester Chronicles 1982

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Seven part adaptation of two Trollope novels set in the fictitious Victorian town of Barchester. Reverend Septimus Harding commands the respect of his parish, and with his son-in-law installed as the Archdeacon, intends to keep religious authority within the family. Zealous reformer John Bold comes into town to rail against Harding's ecclesiastical monopoly, creating unease amongst the reverend's hitherto devoted flock.

Starring:
Susan Hampshire, Donald Pleasence
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Barchester Chronicles, The - Disc 1 universal
  • Barchester Chronicles, The - Disc 2 universal
Runtime 6 hours 39 minutes
Starring Susan Hampshire, Donald Pleasence, Alan Rickman, Geraldine McEwan, Nigel Hawthorne
Director David Giles
Genres Drama
Studio CINEMA CLUB
Rental release 30 May 2005
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
With my video copy of this superb production nearly shot to pieces through repeated viewing I am delighted that this jewel in the BBC archive has been repolished into DVD format.
Over the years the BBC have succeeded in bringing to the wider public the talents of younger actors who have subsequently gone on to great things - Anthony Hopkins (War and Peace), Colin Firth (Pride and Prejudice), and (hopefully) Richard Armitage (North and South). While the whole cast in The Barchester Chronicles bring off performances that wonderfully pull the emotions every which way, one of the highlights has to be that of a young Alan Rickman as the 'slippery' Slope. Possibly with that in mind the original video production has been slightly re-edited to include from the cutting room floor, one particular short but exquisite scene involving Mr Slope and the Quiverfull children.
As the story unfolds around the crusade aimed at the kind and honest Warden with his dilemmas of conscience, you are drawn by the interaction of the superbly played characters with their individual values into an emotional but thoroughly enjoyable experience. For me it is simply BBC drama (not to mention Anthony Trollope) at its very best.
The DVD is better than the video in every way. As an extra it includes a warm 30 minute portrait of Peterborough Cathedral which was used in the production.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Who would have thought that the minor indiscretions of mid-nineteenth century English clergy would prove so entertaining?
This dramatisation first introduced me to Trollope when broadcast in the early 1980s and remains hard to beat. I've since grown to love this author, with his gentle chiding humour, something brought out wonderfully by Donald Pleasance as Septimus Harding in this TV version of the first two "Barchester" novels.
Pleasance alone would make this production memorable, but when you have co-stars of the calibre of Nigel Hawthorne (superbly pompous as Archdeacon Grantly), Geraldine McEwan as the insufferable Mrs Proudie, with Clive Swift doing an early turn as a hen-pecked husband (Bishop Proudie) you know you are in for a real treat. Adding a young Alan Rickman as the delightfully oily chaplain Obadiah Slope becomes merely icing on an already sumptious cake.
The transfer to DVD is excellent and makes you realise the limitations of VHS. Only in the extras department is this a little deficient, with just a short documentary on Peterborough Cathedral where the series was filmed. Surviving cast, screenwriter (Alan Plater!) or director's commentaries would have been good, but alas are not available. Don't let this put you off, though. Buy this classic anyway.
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Format: VHS Tape
The video series of the Barchester novels certainly serves the written versions justice. A particular suprise is seeing a younger Alan Rickman at his finest, alongside a great cast of UK talent. A pleasure for those who have read the Trollope novels!
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Format: DVD
This adaptation of Anthony Trollope's Barchester novels seems to be best remembered now as the television serial that made the name of Alan Rickman. Certainly I suspect that many of the people who have picked up this DVD have done so because of the presence of its breakthrough star. Those who do will discover the charms of this serial stretch far beyond its breakthrough star who is just one member of an excellent cast.

You will not see his face anywhere on the packaging but Donald Pleasance plays the central role in the piece of Reverend Harding, a mild-mannered and fundamentally good man who gets caught up in a row about the administration of a Church-run hospital. He becomes a pawn in the machinations of those around him and begins to question his own moral position as well as that of those around him.

Pleasance's performance is a little theatrical but it is also heart-warming. The actor's gravitas comes over well and he manages not only to make his character thoroughly sympathetic but also to make us respect him for his strong moral character. Trollope's story is fairly scathing about the clergy, essentially portraying them as being primarily interested in their own ends - Reverend Harding is apart from them and is the voice of the 'good Christian man', a concept that is overdone a little at the end in a Tiny Tim moment of obnoxious sentimentality.

The remainder of the cast are excellent with Nigel Hawthorne being a particular delight as Archdeacon Grantly, a figure who is not unreminiscent of Sir Humphrey from Yes, Minister. Pompous with an uncanny ability to persue his own ends, Grantly provides much of the early conflict and a strong character contrast with Reverend Harding.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This televised series from 1982 (although it must have been recorded in 1981) has so many winning streaks-it is almost impossible to name but a few. The actors are all marvellous-and very recognisable, too.
Fantastic Alan Rickman is the smarmy, ambitious and scheming Obadiah Slope (a predecessor to latter days Severus Snape of Harry Potter fame-indeed a kindred spirit to the same!)
Clive Swift the hen-pecked bishop one wonders how he'd ever made a point at church meeting, Nigel Hawthorne, overlooked for the position as anything but archdeacon but increadably just and very coleric, and the fierce Geraldine McEwans as a VERY bossy bishops wife.

Of course the rest of the cast also make it a wonderful viewing.Not least, Donald Pleasence who in his portraial of Mr Harding shows that the meek, indeed, shall inherit the earth!
Susan Hampshire as Signora Neroni-one of three "compulsive liars" of children to the Stanhopes-is very good also.

Photographically it is in parts, televised theatre-but one dismisses this lightheartedly since it is so well executed overall!

How this nearly 150 year old story set in the clerical intrigues of an english cathedraltown and all it's different turns still feels so inspiring- is beyond explaining-but watch it and you'll be as hooked as I was!
This is a series with a subtext that is a heady brew of bigotry, prejudice and good old-fashioned naked ambition, surely the church must have changed by now! But alas, I am not too convinced!
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