Vanity Fair (2018 TV series)

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Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair 2018 TV Series Title Card.png
GenreHistorical period drama
Created byGwyneth Hughes
Based onVanity Fair
by William Makepeace Thackeray
Written byGwyneth Hughes
Directed byJames Strong
Theme music composerBob Dylan
Opening theme"All Along the Watchtower" by Afterhere
ComposerIsobel Waller-Bridge
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes7
Executive producers
CinematographyEd Rutherford
  • Jamie Pearson
  • Steven Worsley
  • Danielle Palmer
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time45—47 minutes
Production companyMammoth Screen
Original networkITV
Picture format1080p (2:1)
Audio formatStereo
Original release2 September (2018-09-02) –
7 October 2018 (2018-10-07)
External links

Vanity Fair is a 2018 historical drama miniseries based on the 1848 novel of the same name by William Makepeace Thackeray. It was produced by Mammoth Screen and distributed by ITV and Amazon Studios.

The series stars Olivia Cooke as Becky Sharp, Tom Bateman as Captain Rawdon Crawley, and Michael Palin as the author William Makepeace Thackeray.[1][2]



  • Olivia Cooke as Becky Sharp, the daughter of a French opera singer and an artist father. Sharp is a cynical social climber who uses her charms to fascinate and seduce upper-class men.
  • Claudia Jessie as Amelia Sedley, a good-natured naive young girl, of a wealthy London family who is Becky's friend from Miss Pinkerton's academy and invites Becky to stay in her London home following their graduation from the academy.
  • Tom Bateman as Rawdon Crawley, an empty-headed cavalry officer, younger of the two Crawley sons and favourite of their Aunt Matilda, until he marries Sharp, a woman of a far lower class.
  • Johnny Flynn as William Dobbin, colonel of the City Light Horse regiment and the best friend of George Osborne, who feels unrequited love for Amelia.
  • Charlie Rowe as George Osborne, son of merchant John Osborne and childhood sweetheart, later husband, of Amelia, who defies his father to marry his love.
  • Simon Russell Beale as Mr. John Sedley, Amelia and Joss's father and Louisa's husband who goes bankrupt.
  • Anthony Head as Lord Steyne, a rich and powerful marquis who is attracted to Becky.
  • Martin Clunes as Sir Pitt Crawley, a crude and profligate baronet who hired Becky as governess to his daughters before seeking to marry her, and then discovering she has become secretly engaged to his second son, Rawdon.
  • Frances de la Tour as Lady Matilda Crawley, the wealthy aunt of the Crawley sons.
  • Michael Palin as William Makepeace Thackeray, the author of Vanity Fair and narrator of the series.
  • Robert Pugh as Mr. John Osborne, George's father who forbids him from marrying Amelia.
  • Suranne Jones as Miss Pinkerton, snobbish and cold hearted headmistress of the academy which Amelia and Becky used to attend.
  • David Fynn as Jos Sedley, Collector in India and Amelia's brother who has an initial attraction to Becky.
  • Claire Skinner as Mrs. Louisa Sedley, Amelia and Joss's mother and John's wife.
  • Mathew Baynton as Bute Crawley, Rawdon's Christian brother.
  • Sian Clifford as Martha Crawley, Bute's spouse.
  • Felicity Montagu as Arabella Briggs, servant to Lady Matilda, and later Becky.
  • Monica Dolan as Mrs. Peggy O'Dowd



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [3]
1"Miss Sharp In The Presence Of The Enemy"James StrongGwyneth Hughes2 September 2018 (2018-09-02)5.45[5]
After losing her teaching job, orphan Becky Sharp convinces kindly school-friend Amelia to take her in - and promptly sets about ensnaring Amelia's wealthy but oafish brother.[4]
2"Miss Sharp Begins To Make Friends"James StrongGwyneth Hughes3 September 2018 (2018-09-03)4.90[5]
Becky is in Hampshire as governess to Sir Pitt Crawley's neglected daughters. Determined to get into his good books she quickly lands a promotion to secretary. The arrival of Crawley's sister prompts a new plan.[6]
3"A Quarrel About An Heiress"James StrongGwyneth Hughes9 September 2018 (2018-09-09)4.22[8]
Becky has moved in with Matilda Crawley and seems to have a bright future ahead of her. However, war is brewing which threatens the fortunes of the scheming social climber and everyone she knows.[7]
4"In Which Becky Joins Her Regiment"James StrongGwyneth Hughes16 September 2018 (2018-09-16)4.04[8]
George refuses to apologise for his marriage to Amelia and his father cuts him off from the family and his inheritance. All the friends leave for Brussels, where Becky makes use of every opportunity to advance in society.
5"In Which Battles Are Won and Lost"James StrongGwyneth Hughes23 September 2018 (2018-09-23)N/A
The Battle of Waterloo gets underway with George in the thick of it. Becky spies an opportunity to profit from the war by selling Rawdon's horses to the cowardly Jos.[9]
6"In Which a Painter's Daughter Meets a King"Jonathan EntwistleGwyneth Hughes30 September 2018 (2018-09-30)2.30[10]
Becky's time to finally shine arrives as she is introduced to the King, it comes at great cost though. How will her marriage hold up to the new arrangement she has made?
7"Endings and Beginnings"James StrongGwyneth Hughes7 October 2018 (2018-10-07)N/A
Becky is alone and living in greatly reduced circumstances. Dobbin discovers that Amelia plans to remarry, prompting him to finally confess his feelings for her. The Sedleys have an unexpected encounter on holiday.


A cottage on Chevening House Estate, Sevenoaks in Kent featured as Rawdon Crawley's cottage. Squerryes Court, Sevenoaks, was used for the interiors of Miss Pinkerton's school. A scene on the promenade, featuring soldiers and horses, was shot outside the Royal Hotel in Deal, Kent. Further filming took place at Chatham Historic Dockyard, where various London street scenes were shot outside the Ropery, an embarkation to France was shot on Anchor Wharf, and the interior of the Commissioner's House was also used.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

The series was met with a positive response from critics for its sets and Olivia Cooke's performance. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a 88% with an average rating of 7.08 out of 10 based on 33 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Olivia Cooke's brilliant portrayal of the feisty and scheming Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair makes this adaptation of Thackeray's classic novel more relatable for a 21st century audience."[12] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13]

Following the conclusion of the series and on writing about the series's significantly low viewing figures in comparison to the BBC One "ratings juggernaut" Bodyguard, Ben Dowell of the Radio Times praised Cooke's performance, writing that "of all the TV Beckys down the ages – Joyce Redman, Susan Hampshire, Eve Matheson, Natasha Little, not to mention Reese Witherspoon in the 2004 film – Cooke is definitely one of the best we’ve ever had."[10] Newsday's Verne Gay was more critical of the show, calling it both "faithful and faithless" to the book and concluded that the series "can occasionally feel like a homework assignment."[14] Matthew Gilbert, writing for The Boston Globe, was more positive, stating that "If you’re a fan of these adaptations...I think you’ll find something pleasing in this “Vanity Fair” — not heroes and heroines stirring about waiting for their happy endings, of course, but something far more scandalous and universal."[15]


  1. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (25 September 2017). "'Vanity Fair': Suranne Jones, Michael Palin Join Olivia Cooke In ITV/Amazon Drama". Deadline. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  2. ^ Bley Griffiths, Eleanor (2 September 2018). "Meet the cast of Vanity Fair". The Radio Times. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Four-screen dashboard | BARB".
  4. ^ "Miss Sharp In The Presence Of The Enemy". Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Four-screen dashboard - BARB".
  6. ^ "Miss Sharp Begins To Make Friends". Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  7. ^ "A Quarrel about an Heiress". Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Weekly top 30 programmes - BARB".
  9. ^ "In Which Battles Are Won and Lost" – via
  10. ^ a b "Vanity Fair series finale review: Becky gets her just desserts as this underwatched classic ends in style". Radio Times.
  11. ^ "Vanity Fair (2018)". Kent Film Office. 7 September 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Vanity Fair: Miniseries". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Vanity Fair (2018) Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  14. ^ Gay, Verne (20 December 2018). "'Vanity Fair' review: Mirthless, melodramatic version of Thackeray's classic". Newsday. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  15. ^ Gilbert, Matthew (19 December 2018). "Sit back and enjoy the deceits of 'Vanity Fair'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 26 December 2018.

External links[edit]