Desperate Romantics

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Tuesday 9:00 PM on BBC Two Premiered Jul 21, 2009 Between Seasons

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  • Season 1
    • Episode 1
      Episode 1
      7/21/09
      7.6
      Dante Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and John Millais want it all: money,fame and sex.
      They name themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and set out to cause a stir with their new way of painting, something the world of that time doesn't seem ready for.They have a fan in the form of journalist Fred Walters, however, who tries to help them by finding a model for them to paint.In steps Lizzie Siddal, a girl who captures the imagination of all three men leading to arguements over who gets to paint her first.
      Having finally managed to secure an exhibition of their work, the men try and get one of the most famous art critics to attend: John Ruskin.But will he come? And will he approve of what they have done?moreless
    • Episode 2
      Episode 2
      7/28/09
      7.7
      In order to impress Ruskin the Brotherhood need to paint a "masterpiece", a task taken up by John Millais.He starts to create a piece called Ophelia, using Lizzie Siddal as his model, a move that angers Rossetti who believes she is his muse and his work will be no good without her.Off on his own Hunt sets about making his own painting using a street girl called Annie Miller as the model.
      Hunt struggles with his conflicting religious beliefs and desires when he falls for Annie's charms.That is not the only thing the Brotherhood have to worry about, however, as Lizzie falls critically ill while sitting for the Ophelia painting, something Millais fails to notice as his thoughts wander towards Effie Ruskin, wife of John.The diagnosis of pneumonia throws the whole project, and the Brotherhoods chances of fame, into turmoil, however Rossetti is only concerned about the woman he loves.moreless
    • Episode 3
      Episode 3
      8/4/09
      7.7
      Rossetti and Hunt become jealous when John Millais secures the backing of Ruskin.Will their friendship remain intact?
      After being commissioned to paint Effie Ruskin, the beautiful, lonely and bored wife of John, Millais learns that the couple have never consumated their marriage, causing him to come to a sudden realisation: he is supposed to sleep with her.
      While his friends ponder it, Millais remains horrified at the idea, thinking of the scandal it would cause.He resolves himself to doing without the help of John Ruskin and walking away from the chance to further his career, which is easier said than done when it dawns on him how much he loves Effie.moreless
    • Episode 4
      Episode 4
      8/11/09
      7.1
      Hunt asks Fred to keep an eye on Annie, to stop her getting into any trouble, while he is off travelling to the Holy Land.What he doesn't count on is Fred himself being seduced by her and the pair of them starting an affair.Upon his return Hunt sees that Annie's behaviour is much improved, completely unaware as to what has been happening behind his back.So happy is he, in fact, that he proposes to her!
      Now Millais is no longer working closely with Ruskin, the art critic decides it's time that he had a new protégé, so goes calling on an excited Rossetti.With the prospect of a real future in the arts, Rossetti finally gets around to asking Lizzie to be his wife.
      Having heard the news of the impending nuptials, the newly-wed Millais extolls the virtues of marriage to his two friends, something which only serves to make them more nervous.moreless
    • Episode 5
      Episode 5
      8/18/09
      7.3
      Now he has Ruskin as his patron, Rossetti and Lizzie let the lifestyle it affords go to their heads.With all the parties to attend the pair fall behind with their work, prompting Ruskin to step in and threaten to take away his funding unless they get their act together.
      When Rossetti finds it hard to keep his mind on the job, he's not helped by the arrival of Fanny Cornforth, a street girl with whom he starts an affair.Fanny is the opposite of Lizzie in every way and her womanly curves cause Rossetti to change his style of painting to something more sensual.In fact he finds that being around Fanny changes his whole outlook on life.
      The Brotherhood aquire two new students in William Morris and Ned Burne-Jones, who Rossetti immediately takes under his wing, and a combination of their efforts sees the completion of a new church mural.Lizzie, meanwhile, tries to keep away and is constantly worrying that she will lose Rossetti to the charms of another woman.Will she find out about Fanny?moreless
    • Episode 6
      Episode 6
      8/25/09
      7.7
      Millais suggests that the Brotherhood start an artistic colony, a place they can all share along with their wives.Having just returned from her honeymoon with Rossetti, however, Lizzie is less than thrilled at the idea of her husband sharing with other women.
      Her fears are realised almost immediately when Rossetti flirts with Jane Burden, wife of new recruit William Morris.To make matters worse her art is rejected by Ruskin, sending her into a depression for which she takes laudanum, a drug of extreme potency.
      Hunt, meanwhile, is on a mission to win back the girl he loves, Annie Miller.But when Fred turns up, sent by Hunt with yet another marriage proposal, she turns him down flat.When Fred's own offer of marriage is also turned down by Annie, causing him to feel humiliated, he resolves to tell the truth in future, whether people like it or not.
      A sick and distressed Lizzie is soon on the receiving end of one of Fred's home truths, but will he live to regret his outburst?moreless
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Monday
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Tuesday
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