Wives and Daughters (1999– )
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Episode #1.3 

It is revealed that Cynthia is also secretly engaged to Mr. Preston ever since she was 15 years old. When she tries to break off that engagement, Preston is reluctant to let her go or give ... See full summary »


Nicholas Renton


Andrew Davies (adaptation), Elizabeth Gaskell (novel)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Howell ... Roger Hamley
Keeley Hawes ... Cynthia
Justine Waddell ... Molly
Francesca Annis ... Mrs. Gibson
Bill Paterson ... Mr. Gibson
Iain Glen ... Mr. Preston
Michael Gambon ... Squire Hamley
Ahmed Abounouom ... African Guide (as Jimmy Abounouom)
Emily McKenzie Emily McKenzie ... Maid
Richard Coyle ... Mr. Coxe
Tom Hollander ... Osborne Hamley
Tonia Chauvet Tonia Chauvet ... Aimee
Elizabeth Spriggs ... Mrs. Goodenough
Barbara Flynn ... Miss Browning
Deborah Findlay ... Miss Phoebe


It is revealed that Cynthia is also secretly engaged to Mr. Preston ever since she was 15 years old. When she tries to break off that engagement, Preston is reluctant to let her go or give her back her letters. After a visit to London, Cynthia also breaks off her engagement to Roger who is on an expedition in Africa. Osbourne's health decreases quite severely. Fearing his father's reproach, he still cannot tell him of his marriage to a French woman or his having a child. Written by R

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




TV-PG | See all certifications »





English | Amharic

Release Date:

12 December 1999 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dune Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Lord Cumnor: I say, steady on Harriet!
See more »


Referenced in Downton Abbey: Christmas at Downton Abbey (2011) See more »


Hole in the Wall
(Hornpipe from "Abdelazer")
Written by Henry Purcell
See more »

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User Reviews

'Wives and Daughters': Part 3
7 June 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Anybody who loves a good adaptation of a book, lovely period detail, compelling storytelling and great writing and acting should find no real reason to not enjoy 'Wives and Daughters'. It has every single one of those and more from the very start and never loses any of them.

'Wives and Daughters' as an adaptation is hardly disappointing, the adaptation does show loyalty to the book while telling it intricately and freshly. Have always however found it fairer to judge an adaptation on its own, and on its own 'Wives and Daughters' is brilliant and you don't even have to have read the book to enjoy what is personally considered one of the best series the BBC has ever done. The second episode continues the outstanding standard set by the first and is even better, now that there is more to the characterisation and storytelling.

The scenery and locations are stunning and the costumes, hair and make-up are true to period and a feast on the eye, which is always a great starting point for a period drama adaptation. The music is quirky yet at other times understated and is never obtrusive, letting the story speak for itself when needed.

Dialogue is incredibly thought-provoking with splashes of humour, ranging from subtle and hilarious, and emotional impact, and the story has every nuance and detail of society at the time down-pat and spot on and the telling of it is done loyally while fresh and relevant and intricate while never dragging or being too staid or too faithful. Deliberate perhaps but dull? Never.

Characters are immensely engaging and are developed just fine, Gaskell's characters like George Eliot's and Charles Dickens's were quite flesh-and-blood-like and there is a sense of that here.

The acting is superb from all, especially from Michael Gambon who is gruff yet poignant and Francesca Annis who makes a formidable character genuinely beastly. Justine Waddell is excellent and never comes across as too perfect considering her type of character, while Keeley Hawes is incredibly charming and naturally.

Bill Paterson is likable and admirably restrained. Tom Hollander, who plays a conflicted character most touchingly, and Anthony Howell, who is effortlessly dashing, provide the heart of the drama without problem.

To conclude, can't fault anything to fault again. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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