The Barchester Chronicles

Season 1 Episode 1

Episode 1

Aired Unknown Nov 10, 1982 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
6 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Episode 1
Sleepy, slow-paced Barchester is about to face a series of shake-ups within the Anglican church diocese there that reverberate through the laity's, as well as the clergy's, lives.

The rich characterization of Archdeacon Grantly by Nigel Hawthorne is really the main reason to watch the first two episodes.moreless

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  • Gentle, slow and very Victorian.

    The first episode tells us immediately what we're supposed to expect from this Trollope adaptation. Long dialogues in very old-fashioned language, possibly culled directly from the books. Though it might seem at times to be rather theatrical, some of the acting is very subtle. The best of example of that - and the biggest plus of the show - is Donald Pleasence. In every scene in which he appears you're drawn to the quiet dignity of his character, suggested by very small gestures and that remarkable look in his eyes. To my surprise my biggest disappointment was Nigel Hawthorne, who seems to be channelling Sir Humphrey Appleby through Archdeacon Grantly. As this show was made around the same time as 'Yes Minister', it must have been a case of typecasting. I wondered what the show would have been if Hawthorne had played Harding. (Think of his performance in 'George III' to get an idea of this.)

    The plot is very Victorian. Everything is about money, legacies, contracts, etc. People in power abuse their priviliges but the world is changing. With a plot like that you mustn't expect fast action. You'll enjoy this if you can appreciate Victorian literature.moreless
  • Unimpressive beginning for an underwhelming mini.

    Bold, Towers, and Finney are quite early established as uptight sourpusses, with the reasons for their grudge unrevealed at first, and not too clear later....other than to be bored rabble-rousers. And they pick such a meek, defenseless target for the abuse! Most odd is Bold's instigation of the attacks against the insipid Rev Harding, seeing as he is in love with the man's daughter, and seems to be a wealthy, successful person with plenty else to do.

    The only one with any fire in his belly or interesting character traits is Archdeacon Grantly, and thank goodness. Everybody else practically carries a sign saying what type of character they are, and the portrayals go about as deep as the cardboard those signs would be made of anyway. Dreadfully disappointing; I can't imagine lots of people committing to the next six episodes based on this first one.moreless
George Costigan

George Costigan

Tom Towers

Guest Star

Cyril Luckham

Cyril Luckham

Bishop Grantly

Recurring Role

Angela Pleasence

Angela Pleasence

Mrs. Grantly

Recurring Role

Denis Carey

Denis Carey


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions