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Summary

George Eliot's beloved story of life, love and politics in an English town.

A jewel in the classic literature crown, Middlemarch was selected as one of the BBC’s 100 Novels That Shaped Our World. Its epic arc takes in politics, tragedy, romance and comedy, interweaving multiple narratives to make up a thrilling ensemble tale.

Set in the 1830s, this ‘study of provincial life’ introduces us to young, idealistic Dorothea Brooke, who accepts a proposal from scholarly Edward Casaubon, hoping to forge a loving partnership of intellectual equals. But on honeymoon in Rome, she swiftly becomes disillusioned. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she finds solace in her friendship with Casaubon’s cousin, Will Ladislaw - only for her controlling husband to suspect her of betrayal and set out to test her loyalty.

Meanwhile, mayor’s son Fred Vincy embarks on a steep economic learning curve, risking his burgeoning relationship with Mary Garth. When he contracts typhoid, he is treated by the town’s new medical man, Tertius Lydgate, who becomes drawn to Fred’s sister, Rosamond. Eager to win her hand, the Doctor seeks help from the wealthy Mr Bulstrode - a decision he will come to regret.... 

As their stories shift, viewpoints twist together and lives collide and realign in a compelling ‘convergence of human lots’ that shows us an entire world in microcosm. Juliet Aubrey stars as the Narrator, George Eliot, with Olivia Vinall as Dorothea, Charles Edwards as Casaubon and John Heffernan as Dr Lydgate.

Also featured is a bonus edition of In Our Time, in which Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss George Eliot’s classic novel, described by Virginia Woolf as ‘one of the few English novels written for grown-up people'.

Cast and credits:

The Narrator, George Eliot - Juliet Aubrey

Dorothea - Olivia Vinall

Edward Casaubon - Charles Edwards

Dr Lydgate - John Heffernan

Will Ladislaw - Joseph Quinn

Arthur Brooke/Caleb Garth/Mr Trumball - Neil McCaul

Sir James Chettam - Hugh Skinner

Rev Farebrother - Miles Jupp

Nicholas Bulstrode - Adrian Scarborough

Celia - Lucy Reynolds

Peter Featherstone/Standish/John Raffles - Clive Hayward

Fred Vincy/Auction bidder - Will Kirk

Rosamond - Laura Christy

Mr Vincy/Mr Bambridge - Rick Warden

Mrs Cadwallader/Mrs Plymdale - Jessica Turner

Adolf Naumann/Barman - Adam Courting

Dr Hawley/Clerk - Greg Jones

Servant/Mrs Abel - Sinead MacInnes

Tantripp/Mary Garth - Scarlett Courtney

Mrs Garth - Alison Belbin

Letty Garth - Grace Doherty

Farmer/Mr Hopkins - Ikky Elyas

Tertius Lydgate - John Heffernan

Harriet Bulstrode - Rosie Cavaliero

Mrs Vincy/Farebrother’s aunt - Heather Craney

Written by George Eliot.

Adapted by Katie Hims.

Directed by Jessica Dromgoole and Tracey Neale.

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 23 November-7 December 2019.

©2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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