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Brideshead Revisited is a 1981 British television serial starring Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews. It was produced by Granada Television for broadcast by the ITV network. Most of the serial was directed by Charles Sturridge; a few sequences were directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

The serial is an adaptation of the novel Brideshead Revisited (1945) by Evelyn Waugh. It follows, from the 1920s to the early 1940s, the life and romances of the protagonist Charles Ryder—including his friendship with the Flytes, a family of wealthy English Catholics who live in a palatial mansion called Brideshead Castle.

The screenplay was written by Derek Granger (the film's producer) and others. Although the film credits attribute the screenplay to John Mortimer, Mortimer's script was not used.[1]

The 11-episode serial premiered on ITV in the UK on 12 October 1981; on CBC Television in Canada on 19 October 1981; and as part of the Great Performances series on PBS in the United States on 18 January 1982.[2]

In 2000, the serial was tenth on the list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes compiled by the British Film Institute, based on a poll of industry professionals. In 2007, the serial was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TimeTemplate:-".[3] In 2010, it was second in The Guardian newspaper's list of the top 50 TV dramas of all time.[4] In 2015, The Telegraph listed it as #1 in the greatest television adaptations, stating that "Brideshead Revisited is television’s greatest literary adaptation, bar none. It's utterly faithful to Evelyn Waugh's novel yet it's somehow more than that, too."[5]

Episodes[]

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Episode number Title Running time Air date

Production[]

The television adaptation of Waugh's novel was originally conceived as a six-hour serial. In the summer of 1979, director Lindsay-Hogg began principal photography on the island of Gozo, where the sequences set in Morocco, Mexico and Central America were filmed. Shortly after the cast and crew returned to England, a technician's strike brought all ITV production to a halt. By the time it was settled four months later, Lindsay-Hogg was no longer available due to a prior commitment to another project.[6]

Lindsay-Hogg was replaced by relative novice Charles Sturridge, whose previous experience had been limited to directing episodes of Strangers and Crown Court. Cast contracts had to be renegotiated to take into account the extended filming period. Jeremy Irons, who was planning to audition for the film The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), stipulated he would remain with Brideshead under condition he would be allowed time off to film French Lieutenant if he were cast. Rather than scrap the considerable completed footage in which the actor appeared, Granger agreed.[6]

File:Castle Howard 01.jpg

Castle Howard in North Yorkshire was used as Brideshead in the miniseries.

The break in filming was fortunate in that Castle Howard and Laurence Olivier, both previously unavailable, could now be used in the serial. Sturridge and Granger agreed the six-hour script eliminated enough detail of Waugh's story that its potency was compromised, and they set about expanding it to seven two-hour episodes. The decision was also made to have the protagonist Charles Ryder narrate the serial as he had in the novel. Olivier's tight schedule required he start immediately, but his scenes had not yet been written, and Sturridge and Granger hurried to complete them so the actor would have at least a week to learn his dialogue. Mona Washbourne was less fortunate and received her script the day she arrived on the set to begin filming.[6]

Shooting resumed on 5 November 1979. The week was divided into five days of filming and two days of writing. Sturridge and Granger were anxious to complete the teleplay as soon as possible, and by the time the ten-day break for Christmas ended, the script was finished. Granada Television had approved a larger budget for the extended format, and Sturridge scheduled the shooting of sequences in Venice, London and on board the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. Everything was going according to plan, and then Irons was cast in French Lieutenant. Since his character is in nearly every scene of the serial, Sturridge was forced to place Brideshead on a lengthy hiatus. During this period, he edited completed scenes and continued to hone the script, although ultimately John Mortimer received sole screen credit for it. Filming resumed in September 1980. Because French Lieutenant had fallen behind schedule, Irons was forced to work on both projects simultaneously.[6]

The Oxford scenes were filmed largely at Waugh's alma mater, Hertford College, and the rooms Charles occupies in the film were those in which Waugh lived after his second term. Portions of Wadham College and Christ Church were also used. Most of the grounds, all the major public rooms, and several rooms in the private wings of Castle Howard represented Brideshead. Bridgewater House in Westminster was used for the exterior of Marchmain House, and its interiors were filmed in Tatton Hall. Rex and Julia's wedding was filmed in the chapel at Lyme Park. Venice locations included the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, the Scuola di San Rocco, and the Palazzi Barbaro. The ocean-liner deck scenes were filmed on the QE2 during an actual storm, but the ship's interiors were either sets or public rooms in the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool and the Park Lane Hotel in London.[7]

The riot in the General Strike sequence was the last scene to be filmed, and principal photography was completed in January 1981 after forty-two weeks of filming. Post-production was scheduled for the next seven months. Early into the period, ITV decided two-hour episodes were too lengthy, and Sturridge was forced to restructure the entire serial, beginning and ending it with expanded episodes that would bookend nine episodes running slightly less than an hour each.[6]

Principal cast[]

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  • Jeremy Irons as Charles Ryder
  • Anthony Andrews as Sebastian Flyte
  • Diana Quick as Julia Flyte
  • Simon Jones as Lord Brideshead
  • Phoebe Nicholls as Cordelia Flyte
  • Claire Bloom as Lady Marchmain
  • Laurence Olivier as Lord Marchmain
  • John Gielgud as Edward Ryder
  • Charles Keating as Rex Mottram
  • Jeremy Sinden as Boy Mulcaster
  • Mona Washbourne as Nanny Hawkins
  • John Grillo as Mr. Samgrass
  • Nickolas Grace as Anthony Blanche
  • Jane Asher as Celia Ryder
  • Stéphane Audran as Cara
  • Niall Tóibín as Father Mackay
  • Stephen Moore as Jasper

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Awards and nominations[]

Award Nominee(s) Result
BPG TV & Radio Award for Best Drama Serial Brideshead Revisited / Granada Television[8] Template:Won
British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series or Serial Derek Granger, Charles Sturridge, Michael Lindsay-Hogg[9] Template:Won
British Academy Television Award for Best Actor Anthony Andrews Template:Won
John Gielgud Template:Nom
Nickolas Grace Template:Nom
Jeremy Irons Template:Nom
British Academy Television Award for Best Actress Claire Bloom Template:Nom
Diana Quick Template:Nom
British Academy Television Award for Best Original Television Music Geoffrey Burgon[10] Template:Nom
British Academy Television Craft Award for Best Costume Design Jane Robinson[11] Template:Won
British Academy Television Craft Award for Best Film Cameraman Ray Goode[12] Template:Nom
British Academy Television Craft Award for Best Film Editor Anthony Ham[13] Template:Won
British Academy Television Craft Award for Best Film Sound Phil Smith, John Whitworth, and Peter Elliott[14] Template:Won
British Academy Television Craft Award for Best Make-up Deborah Tinsey and Ruth Quinn Template:Won
British Academy Television Craft Award for Best Scenic Design Peter Phillips Template:Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Anthony Andrews[15] Template:Won
Jeremy Irons[15] Template:Nom
Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film Brideshead Revisited[15] Template:Won
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie Peter Phillips Template:Nom
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Contemporary Series, Limited Series, or Movie Jane Robinson Template:Nom
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Charles Sturridge and Michael Lindsay-Hogg Template:Nom
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Anthony Andrews Template:Nom
Jeremy Irons Template:Nom
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series Brideshead Revisited Template:Nom
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design Valerie Pye Template:Nom
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie John Gielgud Template:Nom
Laurence Olivier Template:Won
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Claire Bloom Template:Nom
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special John Mortimer Template:Nom

See also[]

  • Brideshead Revisited (2008), film adaptation directed by Julian Jarrold, and screenplay by Jeremy Brock and Andrew Davies

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References[]

  1. Jones, Alice. "Life after Brideshead". The Independent. 1 October 2008.
  2. Erickson, Hal. "Brideshead Revisited – Synopsis". AllMovie. Retrieved on 21 May 2016.
  3. Template:Cite news
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  5. 1. Brideshead Revisited (1981, ITV). In: "The 22 greatest TV adaptations". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 May 2016. (Originally published in January 2015 as "The 20 greatest TV adaptations".)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Sturridge, Charles. The Making of Brideshead: A Note from the Director. Included in A Companion Guide to Brideshead Revisited in the Acorn Media UK DVD released 25 June 2002.
  7. Filming Locations. Included in A Companion Guide to Brideshead Revisited in the Acorn Media UK DVD released 25 June 2002.
  8. Template:Cite web
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  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Template:Cite web

Further reading[]

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External links[]

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