Death Comes to Pemberley (TV series)

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Death Comes to Pemberley
Series tile over an image of the house
First episode titles
Genre Drama
Based on Death Comes to Pemberley novel by P. D. James
Written by

Juliette Towhidi

P. D. James (Novel)
Directed by Daniel Percival
Composer(s) The Insects
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 3
Executive producer(s)
  • Ed Rubin
  • Joanie Blaikie
  • P.D. James
  • Justin Thomson-Glover (Far Moor)
  • Patrick Irwin (Far Moor)
  • Rebecca Eaton (Masterpiece)
  • Polly Hill (BBC)
Cinematography Steve Lawes
Running time 60 minutes (each episode)
Production company(s) Origin Pictures, Masterpiece co-production
Original network BBC One
Picture format 16:9 1080i
Audio format Stereo
Original release 26 December (2013-12-26) – 28 December 2013 (2013-12-28)
External links
BBC site Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley is a three-part British television drama based on the best-selling P.D. James novel of the same name. Her murder mystery was based on the style and characters of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

The series was commissioned by Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning Ben Stephenson and then-Controller of BBC One Danny Cohen,[1] and was first broadcast from 26–28 December 2013 on BBC One.[2][3]


It is October 1803, six years after the marriage of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet, as recounted in Pride and Prejudice. One evening, George Wickham and his wife Lydia (Elizabeth's sister) are traveling by carriage to Pemberly for a ball with Captain Denny. Wickham and Denny have an argument, and leave the carriage in anger. The two men disappear into the woodland, where Lydia hears two gunshots. After being informed, Darcy sends out a search party, who find Wickham distraught and hysterical, holding Denny's body and blaming himself for his murder.




The cast was announced on 18 June 2013. The series was cast by Gary Davy. Actor Tom Ward, who plays Colonel Fitzwilliam, is the only cast member to have previously played a role in an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. He played Lt Chamberlayne in the 1995 BBC adaptation.


Filming began in June 2013 on location in Yorkshire and Derbyshire and has been supported with investment from Screen Yorkshire. Chatsworth House in Derbyshire was used as the exterior of Pemberley, and rooms at Chatsworth and at Castle Howard and Harewood House, both in Yorkshire, were used for indoor scenes.[4] Areas of National Trust land, including Hardcastle Crags, Fountains Abbey and the Studley Royal estate and Treasurer's House, were also used in filming. Beverley's Guildhall provided the location for a courtroom.[5] The gallows scenes were filmed on a purpose-built scaffold outside York Crown Court, with Wickham emerging from the gate to the old debtors' prison in the York Museum.


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
(millions) [6]
1 "Episode One" Daniel Percival Juliette Towhidi 26 December 2013 (2013-12-26) 7.81
Elizabeth Darcy and her husband of 6 years are in the midst of preparing for a ball. They welcome Elizabeth's parents and Mr. Darcy's cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam. One who is not invited is Elizabeth's sister Lydia and her ne'er-do-well husband, George Wickham. An hysterical Lydia arrives at Pemberley late that same night saying that Wickham had argued with his friend Captain Denny who ordered the coach stopped and ran into the woods with Wickham running after him. She soon heard two shots leading her to order the coach to Pemberley at full speed. A search party soon finds Denny dead and Wickham bloodied and semi-conscious. Darcy contacts the local magistrate, Sir Selwin Hardcastle, who investigates and quickly arrests Wickham for murder.
2 "Episode Two" Daniel Percival Juliette Towhidi 27 December 2013 (2013-12-27) 6.00
Wickham is visited in jail by Fitzwilliam, who has his own reason for keeping quiet although Fitzwilliam has an alibi for the murder as he was publicly seen in the company of one of his soldiers' widow. Elizabeth assures the staff that they have nothing to fear - whilst cancelling the ball - but is intrigued by fragments of a torn letter whose writer sought to meet Darcy in the woods. She tells Hardcastle she saw the woman believed to be the ghost in the woods but was certain she was mortal. Later she comes upon a grave in the woods and is told it belongs to the Darcys' great grandfather, a reckless gambler who almost lost Pemberley. Whilst Georgiana turns down Alveston's marriage proposal the young lawyer supports Darcy at the inquest, whose jury finds Wickham guilty of murder and sends him to the Assizes. Furthermore Elizabeth learns that Wickham has used a false name to seduce a serving girl Louisa Bidwell, who has borne his child.
3 "Episode Three" Daniel Percival Juliette Towhidi 28 December 2013 (2013-12-28) 6.05
With Wickham in jail awaiting trial, he admits to Darcy that he is the father of Louisa Bidwell's child. Louisa tells Elizabeth that on the morning of the murder she had met Captain Denny and a woman - the same woman Elizabeth and some of the housemaids had seen in the woods - who would adopt the baby. Louisa changed her mind at the last moment however. She also saw Colonel Fitzwilliam at the abbey that morning. Sir Selwyn Hardcastle becomes aware that Wickham is the father of Louisa Bidwell's child and seems intent on using that information at the trial. Fitzwilliam soon falls out of favour and after Wickham is found guilty and sentenced to hang, it's left to Elizabeth to uncover the identity of the true killer.


The Guardian described the tone of the first episode as respectful of Austen's original, but "not afraid to stand out and be its own very different thing as well", describing it as a "mashup" between period drama and Agatha Christie or Midsomer Murders.[7] A later Guardian review described the series as "pretty much perfect Christmas TV", praising the appearance of the series and the "satisfying plot".[8] Lina Talbot, writing for the Independent, praised the casting of Mr and Mrs Bennet.[9] The Radio Times praised the production values of the piece, and noted that they were supported by a "meaty" plot.[10]


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