The Pallisers

BBC Two (ended 1974)




Episode Guide


  • Season 1
    • Part Twenty-six
      Part Twenty-six
      Episode 26
      Glencora's health is of concern to all. She is determined to ensure that her children, especially Mary, have the ability to control their own future. Nothing can stop her passing, but she is among those who love her, and gets to bid a special farewell to each, almost. Several months have passed since the funeral. Mary returns from a trip, with Marie, to the continent. Mrs Finn is convinced that Mary pines for something more than she can provide but the Duke convinces her to stay. Marie knows that the Duke must be told, but Mary understands that Frank must ask her father first. Silverbridge proposes to Isabel and she insists that he tell his father before she can give her answer. The Duke can barely deal with these two circumstances. Just when it looks like he will be defeated by his children's desires, Marie helps to remind him that they are Glencora's children also, and they deserve to achieve their hearts' desires. Silverbridge discovers the shortcomings of the Conservatives and prepares to cross the floor although, again at his father's insistence, he won't do it precipitately. Plantagenet is asked to return to government as the Lord Privy Seal. A final, wonderful, debate with his son, and conversation with Marie, help Plantagenet to come to the realization that even his nature needs to be more generous than he has allowed it to be until now.moreless
    • Part Twenty-five
      Part Twenty-five
      Episode 25
      Silverbridge is bringing the Boncassens to tea. We are allowed to enjoy a mystifying explanation of the British class system. Glencora has a razor insight as to why her son has chosen to run, and win, as a Conservative. Mary admits to her mother her love for Frank. Remembering her past, Glencora vows to let all of her children follow their hearts. A walk in the same ruined church where Glencora caught a chill, to avoid spending Christmas in the same house as Burgo Fitzgerald, finds an important discussion between her and Plantagenet brought up short by a fit of coughing. Silverbridge wants to drop his friendship with Major Tifto. His father tells him to let him down easily, but when Tifto drunkenly dares him to bet big, he lays down £40,000 on the Prime Minister, their horse. The horse goes lame before the race even begins, but Silverbridge's money is still forfeit. It is likely that Tifto nobbled the horse to make more money then he possibly could have on bets. Worse than all of this, Gerald is sent down from Cambridge for going to the race to see his brother's horse run. Plantagenet makes everything right assuming that his eldest son will now see that marrying Mabel will please him. Glencora's health is worsening and her children's actions add to her worries. At a dance, Silverbridge falls deeper in love with Isabel, and Mabel notices. Gerald show up and tells Silverbridge that they must return home at once, as their mother's health has taken a turn for the worse.moreless
    • Part Twenty-four
      Part Twenty-four
      Episode 24
      Phineas comes close to being the first official victim of the Lopez affair as a vote of censure is called against him in Parliament. It is roundly defeated. Even so, Plantagenet's time as Prime Minister is winding down. At the end, the things that he desires to accomplish become Utopian. We are introduced to Major Tifto, whose knowledge of horses and ladies has attracted the friendship of Silverbridge. We learn of a previous relationship between Lady Max and Frank. He has, clearly, moved on. The Duke of St. Bungay presents the cold facts to Plantagenet and he accepts the inevitable, at last. As we leave politics we enter the world of the Palliser children and their romances. Silverbridge offers himself to Mabel. She declines, for now. Frank's love for Mary progresses, in spite of Silverbridge's warning that it just won't wear. Silverbridge prepares to run for the seat at Silverbridge, which causes him to limit his friendship with Tifto to the horses only, and to tell his father about his political leanings. At the cricket match that closes this episode Silverbridge meets Isabel Boncassen and Lady Mabel sees at once her error in turning him down.moreless
    • Part Twenty-three
      Part Twenty-three
      Episode 23
      Plantagenet has worries aplenty in the form of resignations and scandal. Phineas is named the First Lord of the Admiralty and his wife will accompany him on his tour of the Navy, taking away Glencora's most loyal confidante. She insists that she take the blame for the troubles over Mr. Lopez, but Plantagenet refuses absolutely. In an attempt to extort £20,000 from her father Lopez threatens to take Emily to Guatemala, and away from her family. Wharton agrees to settle all debts and set up Lopez in a new career on the condition that he leaves, alone, for Guatemala, and never returns. Lopez agrees. This leads to an exquisitely acted scene between Lopez and his wife, with delicious recriminations all round. Silverbridge returns from Italy and agrees to go into politics, as a Conservative! Glencora insists that he keep this a secret from his father. As the scandal deepens, Plantagenet's friends and allies, including Phineas, return to London and rally round him. Indeed Phineas speaks most eloquently for him at a special session of Parliament. In his speech he exposes Lopez for the duplicitous fellow that he is. This leads to Ferdinand being expelled from the Liberal Club, and losing his promised job in Guatemala. He eventually chooses to leave the scene in the most dramatic way afforded to him. The hurt that this brings to the Pallisers means that he did extract a small amount of revenge on them. The delightful rogue, Sextus Parker, confronts the Whartons and, with a exquisite bit of flannel, manages to receive some compensation.moreless
    • Part Twenty-two
      Part Twenty-two
      Episode 22
      We come in on the Lopez's honeymoon in Rome. At the same time Silverbridge and Tregear are in Venice where they meet Lady Mabel Grex and Miss Cassewary. Ferdinand begins to show his true colours as he presses Emily for money. Her father comes through and Lopez thinks that he now has free access to all her father's wealth. Plantagenet rebels and asks that no more people be invited to Gatherum. Reluctantly at first, Glencora agrees. Lopez returns to find that his ready seat in Parliament is not so ready. In fact, he gets trounced as the seat goes to the Conservatives. Once again he turns to Mr. Wharton for money, and receives it. He then tries to get more money from the Duke, who feels duty bound to pay it. The Duke is aware that this will be open to the most base of interpretations, but his love for Glencora obligates him to pay. Silverbridge's family visit him in Venice where Mary and Frank are thrown together again. All of Lopez's business ventures are failing. He hopes that Emily's pregnancy will cause her father to open his purse much wider than he has so far. This time Mr. Wharton refuses and throws him out of his office. As this episode ends Lopez, now motivated by vengeance as well as need, turns to the 'People's Banner' to sell his story, very cheaply as it turns out.moreless
    • Part Twenty-one
      Part Twenty-one
      Episode 21
      We open at a reception where we see that it will be Glencora's ability that keeps the coalition together by smoothing over any feelings that Platagenet's natural indifference may ruffle. Earl Silverbridge is to be sent on the grand tour of the continent, but before then his friend Frank's stay is cut short when it is found that he is paying too much attention to Mary. Lopez charms Glencora into assisting him in his plans. She even hints that that the constituency of Silverbridge may come his way. Sir Orlando Drought, the main Conservative in Plantagenet's coalition, begins to push for his own plans. He later, asks to have his nephew given the seat at Silverbridge. The Duke refuses outright. When Glencora asks the same for Lopez he again refuses. She circumvents him by going directly to Mr. Sprout, one of the prominent men in Silverbridge, which only makes things worse. Everett is attacked after leaving the Liberal Club and Lopez saves him which gives him an in with Papa Wharton and the wedding eventually takes place.moreless
    • Part Twenty
      Part Twenty
      Episode 20
      It is four years since the end of last episode. The Liberals are returning to power in a coalition with the Conservatives until the country's money woes can be sorted out. The Prime Minister of this coalition is to be Plantagenet! He is full of doubts, but accepts the post. Of course, Glencora is well-suited to be the hostess of the country. Plantagenet does find Finn office in Ireland, but Glencora manages to keep Marie close to her as she plans to open Gatherum Castle, for the entertaining that will need to be done, and will need her help. We are introduced to Ferdinand Lopez, one of those young men whose success in making money has allowed them to move into the corridors of power, and is always so irritating to those already there. He, later, displaying his powers of persuasion, and mysterious undertakings, as he talks Sextus Parker into signing a bill for £750. We also learn that he has set his sights on Emily Wharton, the sister of his friend Everett. Her father is wary. Glencora's preparations for receiving the world of a Prime Minister make Plantagenet wonder just what he has let himself in for. As we close Silverbridge arrives, having been sent down from Oxford. He brings with him his friend, Frank Tregear, who is enchanted to meet his sister, Lady Mary.moreless
    • Part Nineteen
      Part Nineteen
      Episode 19
      Mr. Chaffanbrass begins his defence of Finn by showing that there was another who had a stronger motive for murder, and by pointing out that no one saw who actually committed the murder. Mr. Monk and Plantagenet stand as character witnesses. The prosecution manages to slander Finn, the Irish and many others in its summing up. In the time-honoured tradition of courtroom drama, Marie shows up at the last moment with a man who is able to prove that Emilius had made a key that would allow him to leave his boarding house without being seen. When Peter Praska recognizes Emilius the trial is brought to a close and Finn is totally exonerated. The trial has come close to unhinging Phineas. It is Plantagenet who brings him back to his senses. Finn's return to Parliament is a triumph. He, at last, realizes just how special Marie's love for him is. This, inevitably, leads to an ugly scene with Laura. Glencora finds a way, with Marie's help, to assist in getting Adelaide and Gerard married. At the nuptials for Marie and Phineas, we learn that the Liberals are about to lose power. We finish with an exquisite scene between Glencora and Plantagenet, who have come so very far in their lives together.moreless
    • Part Eighteen
      Part Eighteen
      Episode 18
      We open with the forces of the Liberal party discussing what to do about Finn. While most of them feel he is innocent, they also feel that they can't stand in the way of a trial. Marie pledges all that she has to help him. Laura wants to do so also, but her family prevents her. Later, Kennedy passes away and Laura inherits Loch Linter which, except for the ruined tower, she can't abide. Adelaide convinces Gerard to propose and, in spite of their mutual lack of money, plans for their marriage continue. Laura visits Phineas in jail where she finds him very down. He now feels that he needs, not only to get off, but to prove to the whole world that he is innocent. Since the police have accepted Emilius's alibi, they are no longer investigating him, but Marie does and she discovers several facts of major importance. She goes to Prague to follow up on them. Mr. Lovibond has found Emilius's first wife and this will free Lizzie. As the trial begins the circumstantial evidence piles up against Phineas. There is some overwhelming leading of the witness while Lord Fawn is on the stand. As the episode ends things look very bleak for our hero.moreless
    • Part Seventeen
      Part Seventeen
      Episode 17
      Bonteen is livid at being denied the Exchequer. He vows revenge on all. But, in the meantime he goes to Prague to find Emilius's first wife. Phineas speaks well against the Conservatives, but is still denied office. A bad row blows up between Plantagenet and his sons just before their return to Eton, but, at Glencora's insistence, apologies all round smooth things over. In fact she seems to be able to cure all ills except Finn's. On his return from Prague, Bonteen is confronted by Emilius and battle lines are drawn. Later Bonteen angrily confronts Finn at the Liberal Club, on the very night of the Prince of Wales's visit. They, along with Lord Fawn, leave the club at the same time and a lethal attack on Bonteen leaves Phineas in the worst straights that he has ever experienced. His arrest closes this episode.moreless
    • Part Sixteen
      Part Sixteen
      Episode 16
      Lizzie has taken refuge with the Bonteens to escape the cruelty and profligacy of her husband. A Palliser cousin, Adelaide, is coming to stay, and Marie and Glencora plot on whom to pair her up with and decide on Lord Fawn. She turns out to be quite a country lass with ideas of her own on whom to be with. Her fancy, eventually, turns to the young rake Gerard Maule. Phineas's personal troubles with both Kennedy and Bonteen are impeding his return to the corridors of power. After an unhinged Kennedy returns to Scotland, Laura and her father come back to London. Glencora's plot to remove Bonteen from the top echelons of the Liberal party comes to fruition at a dinner party. This will, in the end, create more problems for Phineas.moreless
    • Part Fifteen
      Part Fifteen
      Episode 15
      Despite Barrington's warning, Phineas does go to see both Kennedys. Robert is crazed with religion and Laura, we come to learn, is a little obsessed with Phineas. As the Duke of Omnium's health declines, Lady Hartletop pays a visit. This confirms something that was only hinted at in Part One. The disestablishment of the church is the latest political hot potato. The Liberals support it, though slowly, but the Conservatives decide to push the issue. Mr. Kennedy goes to the 'People's Banner' to bring his conflict with Laura out into the open. He is now prepared to lie, and do worse in his need to force Laura back to him. Lizzie finds that Emilius is absolutely the wrong choice for her. The Duke passes peacefully with Marie at his side. This is a bit of a disaster for Plantagenet as his ascendancy to the dukedom means that he must give up his beloved post as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Duke has left Marie all his jewels and £20,000. She insists that she only wants one small ring.moreless
    • Part Fourteen
      Part Fourteen
      Episode 14
      Lord Fawn's sister continues to push him toward Marie in no uncertain, and very military, terms. The banter between them is delightful. Tragedy strikes Phineas as his wife and child do not survive the birth. His father dies soon after. Lizzie throws herself at each of the men in her life in an attempt to enlist their aid in the peril that she is in. Frank and Lord George manage to avoid her. The court awards her the diamonds and she comes clean to the police. In a delightful twist the diamonds have gone missing in Italy due to the fact that the man who stole them hid them and then died of malaria. In order to regain power the Liberal Party decides to support tenant rights. This allow Finn to return to England where he is able to win a seat. He soon comes into conflict with Mr. Bonteen over Ireland. In a mating dance as far removed as possible from the one in which Lord Fawn and Marie took part, Lizzie and Emilius decide to marry. As we close, a mentally unstable Kennedy insists on seeing Finn.moreless
    • Part Thirteen
      Part Thirteen
      Episode 13
      Lizzie receives her demand to bring the necklace to London for a final decision. On the train Lizzie gets several recommendations, mostly nefarious, on what to do with her diamonds. The overnight stop finds the safe containing the diamonds vanished, and a nice little mystery set up for our viewing pleasure. Lizzie, foolishly, reveals to Lord George that she does still have them, as she is simply trying to keep them from Lord Fawn and the lawyers' clutches. After a night at the theatre, Lizzie finds that the diamonds really have been stolen, and, although her maid is suspected, her previous lies leave her in a real bind. We meet the entire brood of the Fawn family and, quickly find Clara in charge of all. She directs Lord Fawn towards Marie Goesler, and he fumbles his way, gloriously, through a mystifying proposal to her. Glencora, beyond all reasoning, takes up Lizzie's cause and pledges her assistance. As the episode ends Lizzie's maid has been captured.moreless
    • Part Twelve
      Part Twelve
      Episode 12
      The recovering Duke is buoyed by gossip of Lizzie Eustace and her diamonds. They have become a bone of contention between her and the man she is engaged to, Lord Fawn. He wants them to be in the care of the lawyers, while she insists that they will always be with her, as they were a gift from her late husband. Plantagenet finds the newly-married Phineas a job in Ireland. Later the Liberals lose the election to the Conservatives. The Duke's spirits are raised further by the return of Marie from Vienna. Lizzie's barrister cousin, Frank, comes to assist her with the diamonds. She makes her feelings for him quite clear, but he is already engaged. Later we meet Lizzie's new-found friends, all of whom seem very dubious, indeed. As the episode ends we get to see the glorious necklace.moreless
    • Part Eleven
      Part Eleven
      Episode 11
      Christmas day finds the Kennedys arguing worse than ever. Laura has brought Chiltern and Violet together and they finally admit their love for one another. Monk finally declares the fight for tenant rights open. He has Finn's support, tacitly at the moment so that Finn won't lose his ministerial position too soon. Eventually Phineas fulfills his word to Monk and backs him up. This, combined with Mary Flood's pregnancy, will remove Phineas back to Ireland and away from our story, for the moment. The Duke of Omnium makes his final play for Marie Goesler and she, again, manages to refuse him without losing his, or Glencora's, friendship. At another garden party we are introduced to the delightfully wicked Lizzie Eustace. Before we bid farewell to Phineas, he saddens Marie, and rescues Laura from Kennedy by aiding her to leave with her father. As the episode ends the Duke collapses.moreless
    • Part Ten
      Part Ten
      Episode 10
      We begin with the duel between Phineas and Chiltern. Finn takes a wound in the shoulder. But, the bullet does not do as much damage as the smear campaign that Snide begins in 'The People's Banner'. Phineas's attempt to enlist Laura's aid in winning Violet is rebuffed at first, but, later she decides to do what she can. We are introduced to Lord Fawn, whose ineptness will be a joy to watch in the episodes to come. Phineas is offered a post in the government as the Undersecretary of the Colonies. After Violet turns down Phineas's offer he returns to the solace of Mary Flood's embrace. While in Ireland, Phineas becomes aware of the terrible plight of Irish tenants, and his decision to act on their behalf will mean the loss of his newly won job. Electoral reform means the loss of his seat in Parliament. As the episode closes Madame Max, towards whom Glencora has been pushing Phineas, offers him all that she has. He declines most graciously, as does Madame Max when the Duke of Omnium asks her to spend the summer with him in Italy.moreless
    • Part Nine
      Part Nine
      Episode 9
      Phineas continues to juggle his women. Meanwhile the Duke of Omnium continues his pursuit of Madame Max: she handles him with extreme skill and grace. Laura has become so miserable that she asks Phineas not to come to Scotland again. Phineas is rescued from his money problems by Fitzgibbon's sister and then goes to Brentford to stand for his new seat in Parliament. While there he decides to ask Violet to marry him, an act that will bring him into conflict with both Chiltern and Lord Brentford. A second son is born to the Pallisers and helps to smooth over a small row between husband and wife. Finn rejects the snide Slide and then has a confrontation with Chiltern over Violet, leading to a duel.moreless
    • Part Eight
      Part Eight
      Episode 8
      A fight over the secret ballot threatens to split the Liberal party. Finn is called on to ad lib his first speech and he refuses, temporarily setting back his aspirations. We begin to learn the mistake that Laura made in marrying Kennedy. At a hunt Phineas saves Chiltern's life. Later, he begins to woo Violet. Phineas finally makes his first speech. He makes a bit of a hash of it, as so many before him have done. The uproar over the secret ballot leads to Phineas's landlord's arrest and the natural corruption of life takes its course. Just after quarreling with Phineas, Kennedy is attacked by thugs and Finn saves his life. His second speech in the house is much more successful. As this episode closes Phineas is confronted by one more dubious force in the person of Quintus Slide, of the gutter press.moreless
    • Part Seven
      Part Seven
      Episode 7
      Plantagenet has achieved his goal and is hosting his first party as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, although it is actually Glencora who is key to its success. Mr. Finn arrives soaked from the rain, and sets everyone to talking, about his politics and his eligibility as a bachelor. Among the new characters that will become important to the story are the Chilterns, Laura Standish, Violet Effingham and Robert Kennedy. Also new is Madame Max Goesler who, because of her attractiveness to the Duke of Omnium, is worrisome to Glencora. As Finn begins to enter the corridors of power he foolishly puts his name on a bill for Lawrence for £300. This act will come back to haunt him. While having a sweet Colleen at home, and setting many hearts aflutter in England and Scotland, the first woman that Phineas sets his cap for is Laura Standish. Unfortunately, she has already accepted a proposal in marriage from Mr. Kennedy. As we close Phineas is preparing his maiden speech in for Parliament.moreless
    • Part Six
      Part Six
      Episode 6
      Still on their trip Glencora begins her new career as a matchmaker by trying to get Alice to relent in her attitude towards Mr. Grey. With her previous anxieties eased, Glencora becomes pregnant, sending everyone back to England, but not before John Grey proposes and Alice agrees. One final glimpse of Burgo shows that Glencora is over him, and that Plantagenet has depths that are extraordinary. We are introduced to Phineas Finn and Lawrence Fitzgibbon, two new Members of Parliament from Ireland. The party that is thrown for the christening of the Pallisers' child marks a turning point in the series. Now that Glencora and Plantagenet are settled, the steps and many missteps of Phineas Finn will become the focus of our viewing pleasure. As the episode ends there is a chance that Plantagenet may yet become the Chancellor of the Exchequer.moreless
    • Part Five
      Part Five
      Episode 5
      Glencora makes her feelings known to Plantagenet: again, his response surprises her. Squire Vavasor has passed away and George assumes that he will, at last, come into his own, but his past actions have forced the Squire to expunge him from his will. George, seeing the disaster that is on the horizon, reacts with the violence that is his nature. When George learns that it is John Grey's money that has financed his election his mood worsens. The Liberals are prepared to make Plantagenet the Chancellor of the Exchequer, his lifelong goal. Knowing what is most important to his future happiness, he is forced to refuse. John Grey begins to show Alice that he has an inner strength and resolve in his affection for her that may help her to overcome her self recriminations. Glencora is bowled over by Plantagenet's choice and asks Alice to go with them on their trip to the continent. Burgo makes one last attempt to win Glencora and her choice is a heartrending one. We end with the final retreat of both George and Burgo, and parts of their character previously unknown are revealed.moreless
    • Part Four
      Part Four
      Episode 4
      Alice's grandfather begins to ease his feelings toward George, but her father remains adamantly opposed. He even goes so far as to enlist Mr. Grey in helping to protect her interests. This becomes more important as Alice is preparing to give £3000 to George to aid his campaign to win the Chelsea seat, which has just come open. As the episode progresses, he finally captures the special election. Now that Parliament is back in session the Pallisers have returned to London and we see just how able Plantagenet is on the floor of the House. Alice's defence of Glencora, and Plantagenet's reaction to it begin to give Glencora a hint of the fact that her husband cares for her more than she realized. Unfortunately, Squire Vavasor's health takes a turn for the worse and Alice is called back to Scotland just when Glencora will need her help the most. At a ball hosted by the Monks the long avoided reunion of Glencora and Burgo occurs on the dance floor. He begs her to run away with him. Will she succumb to his charms?moreless
    • Part Three
      Part Three
      Episode 3
      Alice comes to stay at Matching to keep Glencora company. We are introduced to the bigwig end of the Liberal Party, especially the delightful presence of the Duke of St. Bungay. Lady Monk, who is Burgo's aunt, plots with him so that he may steal away with Glencora just after Christmas. Even though Glencora tells Plantagenet outright why they should not go to Monk's he seems both obtuse and trusting in insisting that they will go. Alice writes to John Grey breaking off her engagement and George wastes no time in making his desires for Alice known. Having seen how unhappy Glencora is Alice follows her heart and agrees to marry George. Her family strongly disapproves. Glencora succeeds in getting a cold, thus missing the meeting at Monkshade and putting off, for awhile, her moment of decision. As the episode proceeds we become aware that Alice and Glencora's money is at least as important to George and Burgo as their love.moreless
    • Part Two
      Part Two
      Episode 2
      After an opening wedding sequence, we follow the Pallisers on their honeymoon to Switzerland, where Glencora can't hide her unhappiness. The Vavasors are also in Switzerland, with John Grey, whom Alice is reluctantly engaged to. We learn that George and Alice were once engaged to be married. Thus begins the parallel stories of Glencora and Alice and their attraction to men who bring that whiff of romantic danger to their lives. As this episode draws to a close, we enter that world that Trollope was so good at revealing. The down and dirty world of borough politics, where the machinations of gaining a seat in Parliament require stamina and very deep pockets.moreless
    • Part One
      Part One
      Episode 1
      We come in on a garden party at Gatherum Castle hosted by the Duke of Omnium. We are introduced to Glencora M'Cluskie and Plantagenet Palliser, both of whom are occupied with the person who currently holds their affections. Unfortunately, the obstacles to their achieving their goals include their station in life and their respective guardians. These guardians concoct a scheme to force them together and eventually to marriage. As the episode ends Plantagenet has adjusted to the situation, but has Glencora?moreless