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Summary

A BBC radio adaptation of the celebrated novels about high life and low politics in Victorian England.

In this lively, radical reworking of Anthony Trollope’s famous Palliser series, we are invited into the world of our omniscient narrator, Lady Glencora, as she introduces us to her social circle and takes us on a whirlwind tour through two decades of scandal, scheming, ambition and political powerbroking.

Cora’s story starts in the 1860s, when she is just 19 and married to the older, conscientious politician Plantagenet Palliser. Bored and unhappy, she pines for her ex-fiancé, the wastrel Burgo Fitzgerald. However, motherhood and maturity put an end to her youthful dreams – and as her husband’s career takes off, she settles for becoming the power behind the throne. But she cannot control her children’s futures, however much she tries to guide and protect them.

Nor can Cora shape her friends’ lives. Clever, politics-obsessed heiress Violet Standish, denied the opportunity to be a Member of Parliament, aspires to marry one instead – will her chosen husband listen to her advice? Newly-elected MP Phineas Finn sets his sights on a Cabinet post – but could his strict principles and weakness for the fairer sex count against him? And wealthy Bohemian widow Marie Goesler is determined to be accepted into the higher echelons of society – might a match with the elderly Duke of Omnium provide the prestige she seeks?

From her unique vantage point, Cora watches her nearest and dearest take fateful decisions, make rash mistakes – and even get away with murder, as they struggle to win power and find love....

This bold, pacy adaptation of Trollope’s Palliser series stars Jessica Raine as Cora, Tim McMullan as Plantagenet, Edward MacLiam as Phineas and Melody Grove as Marie.

Written by Anthony Trollope.

Dramatised by Mike Harris and Sharon Oakes.

Directed by Gary Brown and Emma Harding.

Produced by Gary Brown.

Cast:

Cora – Jessica Raine

Plantagenet – Tim McMullan

Phineas Finn – Edward MacLiam

Burgo – Blake Ritson

Violet/Servant – Scarlett Courtney

Marie Goesler – Melody Grove

Kennedy/Slide/Duke/Orlando Drought/Mr Boncasson – Neil McCaul

Bonce/Grimes/Sailor/Servant/Popplecourt – Greg Jones

Commons Speaker/Judge – Hamilton Berstock

Mary Flood – Sinead MacInnes

Finn's mother – Heather Craney

Servant/Policeman/Usher/Johnson/Nidderdale – Ikky Elyas

Bonteen/ Sir Gregory – Eugene O’Hare

Lowe – Jonathan Keeble

Fawn – Lloyd Peters

Lopez – Mark Arends

Emily Drought – Lucy Reynolds

Spurgeon – Clive Hayward

Mary – Laura Christy

Silverbridge – Will Kirk

Lady Mabel – Anneika Rose

Tregear – Prasanna Puwanarajah

Isabel – Julianna Jennings

Mrs Boncasson – Jessica Turner

Tifto – Sam Dale

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 10 November 2019-8 March 2020.

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

Critic reviews

"Beautifully acted and presented at a gallop...one of the most entertainingly vivid radio dramas I have listened to all year." (The Telegraph)

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