Wives and Daughters (1999 miniseries)
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|Wives and Daughters|
|Based on||Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell|
|Written by||Andrew Davies
|Directed by||Nicholas Renton|
|Composer(s)||John E. Keane|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||4|
|Executive producer(s)||Rebecca Eaton
|Running time||301 minutes|
|Original channel||BBC One|
|Original run||28 November 1999 – 19 December 1999|
The series was a joint production of the BBC and WGBH Boston, an American public broadcast station and 'won high audience ratings' when it first screened in the UK in 1999. Its audience rivalry with an adaptation of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, screened on ITV at the same time, was dubbed 'the battle of the bonnets'. It appeared in the US on BBC America in August 2000 and was later shown on PBS.
It focuses on Molly Gibson (Justine Waddell), the daughter of the town doctor, and the changes that occur in her life after her widowed father chooses to remarry. The union brings into her once-quiet life an ever-proper stepmother (Francesca Annis) who is 'too vain and shallow to care for anything beyond her improved social status'. Also a flirtatious stepsister, Cynthia (Keeley Hawes), while a friendship with the local squire brings about an unexpected romance. A New York Times review of the series in 2001 said 'The entire cast gets the characters right.'
Davies and Birtwistle collaborated on the BBC's television popular adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in 1995. Following that success the BBC 'effectively told the duo they could adapt any book they wished' leading to Wives and Daughters. Birtwhistle described Gaskell's novel as 'strong, direct and passionate' and this offered 'the necessary elements for a popular classic TV drama'.
At the 2000 BAFTA awards the series was nominated for seven awards and won four including Best Actor (Television) for Michael Gambon as Squire Hamley. Gambon's performance was described as: 'Gruff on the outside, with a huge sentimental streak, the country squire is a familiar type, but he makes him seem endearing and fresh.'
Filming was based at Elstree Studios with additional scenes shot at historic properties across England. Great Chalfield Manor, Wiltshire was used for exterior scenes for the Hamley family home, while interior scenes were filmed at Levens Hall in Kendal, Cumbria. Wentworth Woodhouse, South Yorkshire was used for Cumnor Towers, the grand family home Molly visits as a child when she first encounters her future step-mother. Additional outdoor scenes were shot at Dyrham Park in South Gloucestershire; the National Trust property was closed to the public for three days while these scenes were shot.
- Gritten, David (2000-08-12). "Will BBC's Latest Literary Export Be the Next Jane Austen?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- Enker, Debi (2000-05-07). "TV Review: Wives And Daughters, Sunday, ABC". The Sunday Age.
- Samson, Alan (2000-10-28). "Classic tale with a wicked stepmother". The Dominion Post.
- James, Caryn (2001-03-30). "TV WEEKEND; A Strawberry-and-Cream Past, Spiced With Romance". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "BAFTA Award Database". Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- Internet Movie Database. "Wives and Daughters: Filming Locations". Retrieved 2013-09-11.
- "Where I Live: Cumbria". BBC. 2003-09-11. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "Film And television". Levens Hall. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "Where I Live: Wiltshire". BBC. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
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