Pride and Prejudice

Season 1 Episode 1

Part 1

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Sep 01, 1995 on BBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Bennets have five daughters, all without dowries, so they have limited chances of marrying. Then the rich Charles Bingley arrives in the district and takes a keen interest in Jane Bennet. At Bingley's house, Jane's sharp-tongued sister Elizabeth sees more of his friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy - but she finds him too arrogant for her.moreless

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  • In the first episode of this superb six-part mini series, Mrs. Bennet is in a great state of excitement when she learns that a very rich man is to move into the area because it's just possible that he MIGHT marry one of her five daughters!moreless

    Mrs. Fanny Bennet (Alison Steadman) is a woman of very nervous disposition with an insatiable appetite for gossip and one major goal in life - to see all of her five daughters married. This will prove to be a tall order because herself and Mr. Bennet (Benjamin Whitrow) have no sons, which means effectively that the Bennet estate is entailed away from the Bennet children and will be handed over, upon Mr. Bennet's death, to a cousin whom they have never met, a clergyman by the name of Mr. Collins. (David Bamber)

    Mrs. Bennet is very aggrieved by this situation and moans about it constantly so she is therefore thrilled beyond measure when she hears from a neighbour that a magnificent local estate, Netherfield Park, has finally been rented, to a man of 'good fortune' by the name of Charles Bingley (Crispin Bonham Carter) who hails from the north of England, is single and will soon be in residence! Naturally, Mrs.Bennet can talk of little else as it is her goal to see to it that Mr. Bingley marries one of her daughters, with Jane (Susannah Harker) being, in her opinion, the most likely candidate as, in her mother's opinion, she is 'the prettiest'.

    Needless to say, Mrs.Bennet and her two youngest daughters, Kitty (Polly Maberly) and Lydia (Julia Sawalha) can talk of little else but the as yet unseen Mr. Bingley but middle daughter, Mary, (Lucy Briers) who is very pious, and Mr.Bennet, are quite sick of hearing about him before too much time has passed. Second eldest daughter, Elizabeth, (Lizzie) (Jennifer Ehle) along with Jane wisely say little and just let their mother's extremeties continue.

    There is much excitement when it is learned that Mr. Bingley, along with his two sisters, Miss Caroline Bingley (Anna Chancellor) and Mrs. Louise Hurst (Lucy Robinson) are to attend a local ball. Mr. Bingley turns out to be a warm and very charming young man, but his friend, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy (Colin Firth) is quite the opposite - egotistical, arrogant and aloof, he sees himself as being far above the assembled company and says so very loudly. Miss Bingley, obviously after the very wealthy Mr. Darcy for herself, totally agrees with his assessment, but Mr. Bingley is charmed by everyone present. Mrs. Bennet, not for the first time, makes a total foolof herself and, by extension, her daughters. With wedding bells ringing in her ears (hopefully) Mrs. Bennet sends Jane off on a visit to Netherfield after Mr. Bingley has shown a clear interest in her during other social occasions. On the way, Jane gets caught in a torrential downpour and ends up with pneumonia which she means she must stay at the house until she recovers, a fact which thrills Mrs. Bennet but infuriates Charles Bingley's two sister who are appalled by the Bennet family's low connections and often appallling social behaviour. When Elizabeth insists on staying to help her sister get well, the Bingley women are even more furious, particularly when Mr. Darcy shows an appreciation for Miss Elizabeth that surprises them greatly. For her part, Elizabeth is happy to leave Netherfield Park when Jane recovers and glad that she won't have to see the unpleasant Mr. Darcy again.

    A truly superb piece of television that makes the characters created by Jane Austen come to life in a way never seen before or since.moreless
Paul Moriarty

Paul Moriarty

Col. Forster

Guest Star

Christopher Benjamin

Christopher Benjamin

Sir William Lucas

Guest Star

Andrew Grainger

Andrew Grainger


Guest Star

Lucy Scott

Lucy Scott

Charlotte Lucas

Recurring Role

David Bark-Jones

David Bark-Jones

Lt. Denny

Recurring Role

Kate O'Malley

Kate O'Malley

Sarah, the maid

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (21)

    • Mr. Bingley: All young ladies are accomplished. They sing, they draw, they dance, speak French and German, cover screens and I know not what.
      Mr. Darcy: There are not half a dozen who would satisfy my notion of an accomplished woman.
      Miss Bingley: Oh certainly. No woman can be really esteemed accomplished who does not also possess a certain something in her air. In the manner of walking, in the tone of her voice, her address and expressions.
      Mr. Darcy: And to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.
      Elizabeth Bennet: I am no longer surprised at you knowing only six accomplished women, Mr. Darcy. I rather wonder at you knowing any.

    • Elizabeth Bennet: Do you mean he will be (imitating Darcy) "in humour to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men"? Never! (They laugh)
      Elizabeth Bennet: (imitating Darcy) "She is tolerable, I suppose. Not handsome enough to tempt me."
      Jane Bennet: It was very wrong of him to speak so.
      Elizabeth Bennet: Indeed, it was. Capital offence!

    • Miss Bingley: Jane Bennet is a sweet girl. But her mother!

    • Mr. Bingley: Good God, Darcy! I wouldn't be as fastidious as you are for a kingdom.

    • Mr. Darcy: (about Jane) You have been dancing with the only handsome girl in the room.
      Mr. Bingley: Darcy, she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! Look, look, there's one of her sisters. She's very pretty, too, and I dare say, very agreeable.
      Mr. Darcy: She is tolerable, I suppose, but she's not handsome enough to tempt me. Bingley, I'm in no humour to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. Go back to your partner; enjoy her smiles. You're wasting your time with me. (Mr. Darcy's comments are overheard by Elizabeth)

    • Mrs. Bennet: (about Darcy) He has a mighty fortune and a great estate in Derbyshire. Bingley's wealth is nothing to his. (whispering) £10,000 a year, at least! (normal volume) Don't you think he's the handsomest man you've ever seen, girls?
      Elizabeth Bennet: I wonder if he would be quite so handsome if he was not quite so rich?

    • Mary Bennet: Misfortunes, we are told, are sent to test our fortitude and may often reveal themselves as blessings in disguise.

    • Mrs. Bennet: Oh, you take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves.
      Mr. Bennet: You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They've been my old friends these twenty years at least.

    • Mr. Bennet: So that is his design in settling here? To marry one of our daughters?

    • Mrs. Bennet: (about Netherfield Park) And do you not want to know who has taken it?
      Mr. Bennet: You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.

    • Mr. Bennet: Slighted my Lizzie, did he?
      Elizabeth Bennet: I didn't care for him either, Father, so it's of little matter.
      Mrs. Bennet: Another time, Lizzie, I would not dance with him even if he should ask you.
      Elizabeth Bennet: I believe, Mama, I may safely promise you never to dance with Mr. Darcy.

    • Miss Bingley: I heard Eliza Bennet described as a famous local beauty. What do you say to that, Mr. Darcy?
      Mr. Darcy: I should as soon call her mother a wit.

    • Mr. Bingley: Darcy, I shall never understand why you go through the world determined to be displeased with everything and everyone in it.
      Mr. Darcy: And I will never understand why you are in such a rage to approve of everything and everyone that you meet.

    • Sir William Lucas: What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr Darcy. Nothing like dancing, you know! One of the refinements of every polished society.
      Mr. Darcy: And every unpolished society.
      Sir William Lucas: Sir?
      Mr. Darcy: Every savage can dance.
      Sir William Lucas: Oh, yes. Yes, quite.

    • Mr. Darcy: I've been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.
      Miss Bingley: And may one dare ask whose are the eyes that inspired these reflections?
      Mr. Darcy: Miss Elizabeth Bennet's.

    • Mr. Bennet: Our life holds few distinctions, Mrs. Bennet, but I think we may safely boast that here sit two of the silliest girls in the country.

    • Miss Bingley: I'm afraid, Mr. Darcy, that this escapade may have affected your admiration for her fine eyes?
      Mr. Darcy: Not at all, they were brightened by the exercise.

    • Mr. Darcy: I believe every disposition has a tendency to some particular evil.
      Elizabeth Bennet: Your defect is a propensity to hate everyone.
      Mr. Darcy: Well, yours is wilfully to misunderstand them.

    • Mary Bennet: I wonder at Kitty and Lydia; they're so fond of dancing. I take little pleasure in a ball.
      Elizabeth Bennet: I would take more pleasure in this one if there were enough partners as agreeable as Jane's.
      Mary Bennet: I believe the rewards of observation and reflection are much greater.
      Elizabeth Bennet: And so they are, when there are none others to be had. We shall have to be philosophers, Mary.

    • Mrs. Bennet: Oh, my dear Mr. Bennet! Nothing you say shall ever vex me again!
      Mr. Bennet: I'm sorry to hear it.

    • Mrs. Bennet: I am sick of Mr. Bingley!
      Mr. Bennet: I am sorry to hear that. If I'd known as much this morning, I should never have called on him.
      Mrs. Bennet: You have called on him!
      Mr. Bennet: I'm afraid we cannot escape the acquantaince now.

  • NOTES (6)

    • All exterior and interior scenes featuring Longbourn, the Bennet residence, were shot at Luckington Court in Wiltshire.
      The Netherfield scenes, Bingley's residence, were all filmed at Edgcote Hall in Banbury, except for the ball.

    • The dancing scene at Lucas Lodge had some difficulty filming. The night before some efficient soul had shined the wood floor to flawless perfection. Unfortunately, this sent the actors skidding across the surface, rather than performing their dance steps. The art department did their best to remove the wax, but when that didn't work someone suggested using cola to strip the wax, according to Polly Maberly. Once applied, the actors stepped back out onto the floor only this time to stick to it.

    • Anna Chancellor, who plays Caroline Bingley, is a descendant of Jane Austen's brother Edward.

    • During the filming of Pride and Prejudice, Susannah Harker was expecting her first child, but this was covered up by flowing dresses and shawls.

    • Susannah Harker's mother, Polly Adams, played the same role in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice (1967).

    • Before making the series, Colin Firth had never read Pride and Prejudice. However, he was told he was perfect for the role of Darcy and he should audition for it.


    • Elizabeth Bennet: For a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
      This quote is a rephrased version of the first line of the novel, which is as follows:
      It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.