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The Barchester Chronicles

Season 1 Episode 3

Episode 3

0
Aired Unknown Nov 24, 1982 on BBC Two
8.2
out of 10
User Rating
4 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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Episode 3
AIRED:
Just as the public shake-up resolves itself, the Anglican church brings a major shake-up of its own to Barchester diocese in the form of an ineffectual new bishop, his Machiavellian wife, and her henchman Reverend Obadiah Slope.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Now the stew starts to get interesting with the addition of another spicy component.

    6.0
    Well, we never got to see the wedding or the marriage or the baby arrival or anything....the writers just pick us up from where we left off and plop us down with a dead Dr Bold, his widow and year or so old baby. Just like that. Then the old Bishop dies after what seems like a tender last few moments with insipid Reverend Harding (how come we never saw any of their history, their relationship till now?) Aggravating. And apparently the entire British government has collapsed and reformed while we were away too.



    So anyway, there's an outsider appointed to the bishopship (is that word?), not Archdeacon Grantly. He comes with a wife and his own personal chaplain/assistant. The moment you see the trio, you know who they are: the bishop is a weak dolt, his wife is a ***** and the chaplain is an "enforcer" in vestments. After watching them a few moments, the caricatured presentments remain the same, except for Alan Rickman's: he starts to look like a cross between a Nazi and a leopard, casing the territory for his next kill. This becomes interesting.



    Up till now, Nigel Hawthorne's Archdeacon Grantly has been the pepper in this flat offering, but the stew starts to get a little more savory with the arrival (thank God) of Rickman's reprehensible Reverend Slope. The two are perfectly suited enemies. Hawthorne, despite his character's bombastic, explosive nature, is warm and likeable, and Rickman is, well, just so cool, efficient, and restrained, it sets your teeth on edge. You hate him right away, and it's wonderful. His awfulness unfolds in amusing ways as you watch the other people in Barchester squirm and find themselves at a loss for sufficient words to describe him (most everyone eventually settles on "the bestial Slope"). And the biggest laugh comes when he delivers a sermon on the useless waste of worship time spent in music....which finally, FINALLY, sends the meek, mild, milquetoast Reverend Harding over the edge.



    The terribly thin, predictable characterizations continue everywhere else for the most part: the addition of the limp, ineffectual bishop and his cartoon villain wife don't look promising. I swear, if Geraldine McEwan raises her eyebrow while acting imperious one more time, I will grab her head and shave the damned thing off. And once more, inexplicably, Eleanor Harding Bold seems to like a man who is her father's enemy: Slope. Several women seem charmed, in fact, as if they don't ever see what we see about this guy...maybe, oh joy---really?, just maybe, we'll get some more character development and depth going in later episodes that explains this.



    The fun added by Nigel Hawthorne and Alan Rickman is really the only reason, I think, to watch this mini. They're a pair of odd characters, but we care what happens to them because of the depth these actors bring beneath the outward affectations of performance. Everybody else does a one or two note tune, but by episode three, we know Hawthorne's Grantly plays a melody, and Rickman's Slope has very slowly played out a full chord in his first appearance...and we want to figure out his key.moreless
Phyllida Law

Phyllida Law

Mrs. Stanhope

Guest Star

Alec Bregonzi

Alec Bregonzi

Footman

Guest Star

Richard Bebb

Richard Bebb

Dr Vesey Stanhope

Guest Star

Joseph O'Conor

Joseph O'Conor

Bunce

Recurring Role

Angela Pleasence

Angela Pleasence

Mrs. Grantly

Recurring Role

Barbara Flynn

Barbara Flynn

Mary Bold

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Archdeacon Grantly: I would deeply shock you if I were to use the word, nay, the words which come to mind when attempting to define Mrs Proudie.
      Septimus Harding: The bishop seems to be a quiet enough man.
      Archdeacon Grantly: The bishop has no choice. But an idiot, I suspect.
      Septimus Harding: He says so little it's difficult to ascertain.

    • Septimus Harding: If there is no music, there is no mystery. If there is no mystery, there is no God.

    • Dr Stanhope: What is this extraordinary notion that seems to be gathering strength in the Church of England?
      Archdeacon Grantly: To which notion are you referring?
      Dr Stanhope: Well, this notion that we should actually do some work in exchange for the money the Church pays us.

    • Mary Bold: Men care about very peculiar things.

  • NOTES (0)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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