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The Camomile Lawn 

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In 1939, young Oliver, Calypso, Polly and Walter visit friends and family in Cornwall. Spanish Civil War is over and WW2 has begun, so they enjoy their love life while they can. Decades later, they gather again, this time for a funeral.




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Series cast summary:
Felicity Kendal ...  Helena 4 episodes, 1992
Claire Bloom ...  Sophy (older) 4 episodes, 1992
Jennifer Ehle ...  Calypso 4 episodes, 1992
Richard Johnson ...  Oliver (older) 4 episodes, 1992
Rebecca Hall ...  Sophy 4 episodes, 1992
Nicholas Le Prevost ...  Hamish / ... 4 episodes, 1992
Paul Eddington ...  Richard 4 episodes, 1992
Oliver Cotton ...  Max 4 episodes, 1992
Virginia McKenna ...  Polly (older) 4 episodes, 1992
Trudy Weiss ...  Monika 4 episodes, 1992
Vivienne Ritchie Vivienne Ritchie ...  Iris 4 episodes, 1992
John Elmes John Elmes ...  James 4 episodes, 1992
James Gaddas ...  Tony 4 episodes, 1992
Tara Fitzgerald ...  Polly 3 episodes, 1992
Polly Adams ...  Sarah 3 episodes, 1992
Toby Stephens ...  Oliver 3 episodes, 1992
Jeremy Brook Jeremy Brook ...  Paul 3 episodes, 1992
Joss Brook Joss Brook ...  David 3 episodes, 1992
Rosemary Harris ...  Calypso (older) 2 episodes, 1992
Martin Benson ...  Pauli 2 episodes, 1992
Ben Walden ...  Walter 2 episodes, 1992
Richard Syms ...  Parson 2 episodes, 1992
Donald Pickering ...  George 2 episodes, 1992
Richard Vernon ...  General / ... 2 episodes, 1992
Jane Evers Jane Evers ...  Mildred Floyer 2 episodes, 1992


Presents the lives and loves of a family of cousins from 1939 to the present. Follows very closely the Mary Wesley novel. Begins with a funeral and uses the reminiscences of those gathered to fill in details in the lives of Richard and Helena and their nieces and nephews. Written by Dorothy Burgess

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance | War

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Release Date:

5 March 1992 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Camomile Lawn See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(4 parts)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jennifer Ehle plays the young Calypso, while her mother Rosemary Harris plays the older Calypso. See more »


Referenced in The Big Fat Anniversary Quiz (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Compulsively watchable and great fun
4 October 2004 | by notmicroSee all my reviews

I'd been curious for years to see this thing, both because of the very interesting actors, and the period setting. Now I've just watched the British DVD, and found that its absolutely brilliantly done, and compulsively watchable. Its basically the saga of an "extended family" from 1939 to 1984, focusing on the females - all of them quite lively, and several of whom have luckily married into money. The characters are admittedly somewhat shallow and self-centered, but nevertheless fascinating. The acting and direction are so wonderful, and the story is so intriguing and amusing, that it all just flies by, leaving you wanting more. I suspect that this is one of those rare times when the "film-version" improves on the original book. Kudos to Channel 4 for having successfully tackled another edgy piece of material.

It takes some time getting accustomed to the affected and presumably somewhat archaic upper-middle-class accents assumed by some of the actors. The occasionally plummy and arch dialog, particularly between Calypso and Oliver, started to remind me strongly of watching Rex Harrison and his wives elegantly sniping at each other in "Blithe Spirit (1945)". As an American this blows right by me; I can only guess that, for the UK audience, the accents will place the characters very firmly in time, place, and class.

Trivia note: young Sophy is played by Rebecca Hall, who is the daughter of the director Peter Hall. She turns in an amazing performance.

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