Parade's End

Series 1 - Episode 1

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Review

This obstinately cerebral miniseries didn't sweep Britain off its feet in 2012. Although Tom Stoppard judiciously filleted the dramatic essence, and the funny bits, from Ford Madox Ford's difficult quartet of novels, the result was unpredictable, artfully unresolved, laced with dry irony. It was all the things popular period sagas are not.

But a deadpan Benedict Cumberbatch was never better as Christopher Tietjens, whose virtue and propriety are finally loosened by the First World War – and by marriage to Sylvia, a toxic oil painting played with naughty relish by Rebecca Hall. Catch it if you like your dramas to aim high.

Summary

In the second decade of the 20th century, morally upright aristocrat Christopher enters into a turbulent marriage with Sylvia, a quick-witted but manipulative socialite. Despite their difficulties, he resolves to remain faithful to her - but his world is shaken when he meets forthright suffragette Valentine. Tom Stoppard's drama, based on Ford Madox Ford's quartet of novels, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall and Adelaide Clemens.

Cast & Crew

Christopher Tietjens Benedict Cumberbatch
Sylvia Tietjens Rebecca Hall
Gen Campion Roger Allam
Valentine Wannop Adelaide Clemens
Bertram Jonathan Coy
Fr Consett Ned Dennehy
Edith Duchemin Anne-Marie Duff
Mark Tietjens Rupert Everett
Macmaster Stephen Graham
Lady Claudine Clare Higgins
Tietjens Sr Alan Howard
Gerald Drake Jack Huston
Sir Reginald Denis Lawson
Marchant Sylvestra Le Touzel
Waterhouse Tim McMullan
Mrs Satterthwaite Janet McTeer
Potty Perowne Tom Mison
Mrs Wannop Miranda Richardson
Hullo Central (Evie) Lucinda Raikes
Rev Duchemin Rufus Sewell
Sandbach Malcolm Sinclair
Bobbie Pelham Anna Skellern
Glorvina Sasha Waddell
Porter Jordan Long
Michael (Four years old) Misha Handley
Bridget Tessa Parr
Johnny Pelham Garrett Moore
Lord Beichen Leslie De Gruyter
Effie Candida Benson
Mother Christine Cox
Capitaine Thurston Pierre Van Heddegem
Gertie Naomi Cooper-Davis
Policeman Howard Ward
Rev Horsley Michael Mears
Miss Fox Sheila Collings
Parry Lee Whitlock
Director Susanna White
Producer David Parfitt
Producer Selwyn Roberts
Writer Tom Stoppard
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Drama