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The greatest number of adaptations of Hardy’s novels and stories have been made for television, specifically in the forms of TV movies and serials (or, as they are more popularly known in America, miniseries).1  Unfortunately, of the twelve productions discussed here, two have entirely vanished, one is incomplete, and two apparently have never been available for home viewing.  The first two known television adaptations of Hardy, the movie of The Distracted Preacher and the 1970 Woodlanders serial, were probably “wiped” by the BBC, which for years maintained a policy of erasing old programs to re-use the videotape--a policy it now deeply regrets.2  It is not known if the missing installments of Wessex Tales were also wiped (see entry), but the fact three or four extant and self-contained episodes are not available to the public is bound to be disappointing to anyone interested in screen or television adaptations of Hardy's fiction.  Exploits at West Poley and The Day After the Fair seemingly have never been on any home video format, either because of ownership issues or perceived lack of interest by the public.  The TV productions that exist and are available, like the cinematic adaptations, offer a variety of ways of approaching Thomas Hardy and the worlds he created, and make for either worthwhile viewing or profitable study, or both.

 

The Distracted Preacher

Production Company: British Broadcasting Corporation.  Producer/Director: Brandon Acton-Bond.  Teleplay: John Hale.  Length: 49 minutes.  Presumed black and white.  First telecast: 26 December 1969, on BBC-2.

 Cast: Stephanie Beacham, Christopher Gable.

 

NOTES:  Not much is known about this production of The Distracted Preacher beyond what is presented here.  Prospects of a print being uncovered are slim.

The Woodlanders

Production Company: BBC.  Director: John Davies.  Teleplay: Harry Green.  Producer: Martin Lisemore.  Length: Four episodes of 45 minutes each.  Color.  First tele-casts: Part One, “Giles,” 15 February 1970; Part Two, “Grace,” 22 February 1970; Part Three, “Felice,” 1 March 1970; Part Four, “Marty,” 8 March 1970; on BBC-2.

Cast:  Felicity Kendal (Grace Melbury), David Burke (Giles Winterborne), Michael Goodliffe (George Melbury), Ralph Bates (Edred Fitzpiers), Annette Robertson (Marty South), Angela Thorne (Felice Charmond).

 

NOTES:  Like The Distracted Preacher, which was telecast less than two months before this serial, little is known about The Woodlanders.  One should be cautioned that the cast list presented here was adapted from the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), a "Wiki" and therefore open to contributions from anyone.  While there is no reason to doubt this cast list, it has yet to be independently verified.  Of note is that The Woodlanders is the first of three serials based on Hardy novels that Martin Lisemore would produce in the 1970s; the next year he would re-team with scriptwriter Harry Green on Jude the Obscure.

 

 

Jude the Obscure

Production Company: BBC.  Director: Hugh David.  Teleplay: Harry Green.  Producer: Martin Lisemore.  Script Editor: Lennox Phillips.  Lighting: John Summers.  Sound: John Staple.  Costumes: Odette Barrow.  Makeup: Elizabeth Lowell.  Design: Richard Wilmot.  Dialect Coach: Owen Barry.  Graphics: Colin Cheesman.  Length: Six episodes of 45 minutes each.  Color.  First telecasts: 6 February to 13 March 1971, on BBC-2.  Telecast in America on Masterpiece Theatre (PBS) from 3 October to 7 November 1971.           

Cast: Robert Powell (Jude Fawley), Fiona Walker (Sue Bridehead), John Franklyn-Robbins (Richard Phillotson), Alex Marshall (Arabella Donn), Daphne Heard (Aunt Drusilla), Sylvia Coleridge (Miss Fontover), Mark Praid (Young Jude), Charleton Hobbs (Dr. Tetuphar), Freda Bamford (Landlady at Christminster), Michael Golden (Tinker Taylor), Michael Rothwell (Mr. Dawlish), Gwen Nelson (Mrs. Edlin), Gary Rich (Juey), George Woodbridge (Challow), Meadows White (Stonemason), Edwin Brown (Blacksmith), Pamela Denton (Anny), Michael Beale (Chivers), Christopher Banks (College Servant), Eleanor Smale (Mrs. Hawes), Hazel Coppen (Old Crone), Gladys Spenser (Mrs. Baize), Mary Wimbush (Miss Young), Jane Tucker (Sarah Blandford), Anita Sharp Bolster (Mrs. Trott), Mark Dignam (Vicar of Shaston), Beth Morris (Phillotson’s Maid), Ian Ricketts (Tavern Customer), John Moore (Willis), Christopher Hodge (Auctioneer), Owen Berry (Registrar), Sheila Fay (Landlady), John Scott Marlin (Doctor).

 

 

 

NOTES:  Stagy in terms of acting and production, this serial nevertheless manages to retain some of the power--and often unrecognized dark comedy--of Hardy's novel.  Jude the Obscure was televised in America as part of the first season of the now-legendary Masterpiece Theatre; it likely marked many Americans' first exposure to not only Hardy, but to nudity on TV.  Fiona Walker, who plays Sue, had previously played Liddy in John Schlesinger's film of Far from the Madding Crowd; while the role of the suffering Jude perhaps prepared Robert Powell for the title role in a later miniseries, Franco Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth (1977).  Jude the Obscure is available on video and DVD in the UK; it is also available in these formats in the US, but it can be a difficult find.

 

Wessex Tales

Production Company: BBC.  Producer: Irene Shubik.  Based on the stories by Thomas Hardy.  Music: Joseph Horovitz. 

 

Above: A moment from "The Withered Arm"

“The Withered Arm.”  Director: Desmond Davis.  Teleplay: Rhys Adrian.  Camera: Brian Tufano.  Length: 49 minutes.  Color.  First telecast: 7 November 1973, on BBC-2.

Cast:  Billie Whitelaw (Rhoda), Yvonne Antrobus (Gertrude), Edward Hardwicke (Farmer John Lodge), William Relton  (Jamie), Paul Hardwick (Hangman), Esmond Knight (Conjuror Trendle), Hugh Morton (Doctor), Virginia Snyders (Housekeeper), John Welsh (Dairyman), Valerie Holliman (Beth), Merelina Kendall (Meg).

 

“Fellow Townsmen.”  Director: Barry Davis.  Teleplay: Douglas Livingstone.  Length: 49 minutes.  Color.  First telecast: 14 November 1973, on BBC-2.

Cast: Kenneth Haigh, Jane Asher, Terence Frisby, Susan Fleetwood, John McKelvey, Ann Curthoys, Robert Hartley, William Simons, Colin Edwyn, Anthony Edwards.

“A Tragedy of Two Ambitions.”  Director: Michael Tuchner.  Teleplay: Dennis Potter.  Camera: Peter Hall.  Editor: Ken Pearce.  Design: Richard Henry.  Costumes: Barbara Lane.  Makeup: Shirley Channing-Williams.  Length: 49 minutes.  Color.  First telecast: 21 November 1973, on BBC-2.

Cast: John Hurt (Joshua Harlborough), David Troughton (Cornelius Harlborough), Paul Rogers (Joshua Harlborough, Sr.), Lynne Frederick (Rosa Harlborough), Heather Canning (Selimar), Edward Petherbridge (Squire Fellmer), Betty Cooper (Mrs. Fellmer), Dan Meaden (Countryman), Andrew McCulloch (Farm Laborer), John Rainer (Clergyman), Peter Bennett (Principal).

“An Imaginative Woman.”  Director: Gavin Millar.  Teleplay: William Trevor.  Length: 49 minutes.  Color.  First telecast: 28 November 1973, on BBC-2.

Cast: Claire Bloom, Norman Rodway, Maureen Pryor, Paul Dawkins, Barbara Kellerman, Anne-Louise Wakefield.

 

“The Melancholy Hussar.”  Director: Mike Newell.  Teleplay: Ken Taylor.  Length: 49 minutes.  Color.  First telecast: 5 December 1973, on BBC-2.

Cast: Mary Larkin, Ben Cross, Emrys James, Richard Kay.

♦ 

“Barbara of the House of Grebe.”  Director: David Hugh Jones.  Teleplay: David Mercer.  Length: 49 minutes.  Color.  First telecast: 12 December 1973, on BBC-2.

Cast: Ben Kingsley (Lord Uplandtowers), Joanna McCallum (Barbara), Nick Bramble (Willowes), Leslie Sands (Sir John Grebe), Richard Cornish (Drenkard), Jean Gilpin (Mrs. Drenkard), John Boswall (Tutor), Robert Rietty (Sculptor), Janet Hanfrey (Mary), Charles Rae (Bailiff), Paul Imbusch (Vicar), Peter Geddis (Beggar), Don Henderson, Matthew Guinness (Tramps).

 

NOTES:  This anthology series dramatizes six of Hardy's short stories, utilizing the talents of the BBC's best script writers (most notably Dennis Potter and William Trevor) and directors and starring an eclectic ensemble of established performers--such as Billie Whitelaw and Claire Bloom--and young actors on the verge of stardom, among them John Hurt, Ben Kingsley, and Ben Cross.  Mike Newell, who directed "The Melancholy Hussar," would go on to a major film career, directing hits such as Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Donnie Brasco (1997), and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005).  Roy Pierce-Jones reports that only three episodes from this series survive: “A Tragedy of Two Ambitions,” “The Melancholy Hussar,” and “Barbara of the House of Grebe,” and because of this the BBC is unlikely to release any of the Tales on DVD or video.3 (Significantly, while the BBC offers a large collection of programs on DVD scripted by Dennis Potter, it does not include "A Tragedy of Two Ambitions" among them.)  However, it would appear that "The Withered Arm" has also survived, as the site "Haunted TV" reports the program was rebroadcast in 2002 and 2003 as part of BBC Schools' "English File."  The story "The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion" would be filmed again in 1998 as The Scarlet Tunic.

 

 

The Mayor of Casterbridge

Production Company: BBC.  Director: David Giles.  Teleplay: Dennis Potter.  Producer: Martin Lisemore.  Editor: Neil Pittaway.  Music: Carl Davis.  Designer: Peter Kindred.  Costumes: Christine Rawlins.  Makeup: Elizabeth Rowell.  Sound: Robin Luxford.  Lighting: Hubert Cartwright.  Script Editor: Betty Willingale.  Length: Seven episodes, varying from 50-55 minutes each.  Color.  First telecasts:  22 January to 5 March, 1978 on BBC-2.  Telecast in America on Masterpiece Theatre (PBS) from 3 September to 15 October 1978.

Cast: Alan Bates (Michael Henchard), Janet Maw (Elizabeth-Jane), Jack Galloway (Donald Farfrae), Anne Stallybrass (Susan Henchard), Anna Massey (Lucetta Templeman), Avis Bunnage (Mrs. Goodenough), Richard Owens (Newson), Peter Bourke (Abel Whittle), Joe Ritchie (Buzzford), Douglas Milvain (Concy), Clifford Parrish (Longways), Ronald Lacey (Jopp), Freddie Jones (Fall), Alan Rowe (Mr. Joyce), Kenneth Waller (Clerk of Court), William Whymper (Commissioner), Lloyd McGuire (Prince Albert), Jeffrey Holland (Carter), Leonard Trolley (Auctioneer), Deddie Davies (Nancy), Patricia Fincham (Henchard’s Maid), Gilly Brown (Lucetta’s Maid), John Flint (Landlord), Jack Le White (Fiddler), Desmond Adams (Charl), Charles West (Doctor), David Willitts (Councillor), Alan Collins (Laborer), Alec Bregonzi (Companion), Trudie Styler (Cook).

 

NOTES:  The third of producer Martin Lisemore's television adaptations of Hardy's novels, The Mayor of Casterbridge was specifically commissioned to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Hardy's death.  The serial reunited two veterans of John Schlesinger's Far from the Madding Crowd: Alan Bates, who played Gabriel Oak in that film, takes on the role of the tragic Henchard; while Freddie Jones, the drunken Cainy Ball from Crowd, becomes the eccentric Conjuror Fall in Mayor.  Dennis Potter, probably the most acclaimed television writer in Britain then and now, had previously written "A Tragedy of Two Ambitions" for Wessex Tales.  This handsome, well-acted production is available on DVD and video throughout Britain and America.

 

Exploits at West Poley

(aka "Our Exploits at West Poley")

Production Company: Children’s Film and Television Foundation, Ltd (UK).  Director: Diarmud Lawrence.  Teleplay: James Andrew Hall; based on Hardy’s novella.  Producer: Pamela Lonsdale.  Executive Producer: Ian Shand.  Cinematography: Ray Orton.  Editor: Chris Ridsdale.  Music: Nigel Hess.  Production Design: Keith Wilson.  Costumes: Reg Samuel.  Makeup: Elizabeth Moss.  Production Manager: Jeanne Ferber.  Casting: Ann Fielden.  Sound Mixer: Laurie Clarkson.  Boom: Sam Morris.  Length: Approx. 55 minutes.  Color.  First telecast: 31 August 1990, on ITV.  (Note: Filmed 7 October – 1 November 1985.)

Cast:  Anthony Bale (The Man Who Has Failed), Brenda Fricker (Aunt Draycott), Charlie Condou  (Leonard), Jonathan Jackson (Stephen), Jonathan Adams (Miller Griffin), Noel O’Connell (Job Tray), Frank Mills (Ned Jones), Thomas Heathcote (Farmer Will Gant), James Coyle (Millhand), Jelena Budimir (Washerwoman), Diana King (Old Woman), Kelita Groom (Susan), Brian Coburn (Branded Man), Sean Bean (Scarface), George Malpas (Shepherd), Barry Dromfield (Fiddler), Jacob Thomas (Young Boy).

 

 

Some unsavory characters from Expoloits at West Poley, including Sean Bean (center).

NOTES:  Intended for a theatrical release, Exploits at West Poley essentially sat on a shelf for five years, the market for children's films having, in the words of Roy Pierce-Jones, "disappeared."4  Exploits' premiere on ITV went largely unmarked, and the production has apparently never been available on video or DVD.  Of interest is an early screen appearance by Sean Bean as "Scarface," and the fact Hardy's novella had been filmed before, as the children's movie The Secret Cave (1953).

 

The Day After the Fair

Production Company: BBC.  Director: Anthony Simmons.  Teleplay: Gillian Freeman; based on the stage play by Frank Harvey, from Hardy’s story “On the Western Circuit.”  Producer: Louis Marks.  Executive Producer: Bill Kenwright.  Editor: John Stothart.  Music: Rick Wakeman.  Production Designer: Gerry Scott.  Photography: Kenneth MacMillan. Length: 95 mins.  Color. First telecasts: 1986, on BBC.  Telecast in America on Masterpiece Theatre (PBS) on 12 March 1988.

Cast: Hannah Gordon (Edith Harnham), Kenneth Haigh (Arthur), Anna Massey (Letty), Sammi Davis (Anna May Dunsford), Martyn Stanbridge (Charles Bradford), Sophie Thursfield (Sarah), Jonathan Adams (Parnell), Veronica Clifford (Cook), Jane Gurnett (Grace), Roy Holder (Jim), Peter Martin (Groom), Brian Hogg (Postman), Geoffrey Greenhill (Bridges), Richard Huggett (Registrar), John Baskcomb (Solicitor), Dominic LeFoe (Elderly Barrister), Maria St. Clare (Vicar’s Wife), Elizabeth Hunt (Dressmaker), Dave Chatterley, Mike Sargeant (Musicians at Wedding).

 

NOTES: Less an adaptation of a Hardy story than an adaptation of an adaptation.  Frank Harvey’s theatrical version of “On the Western Circuit” was first staged in London in 1972, directed by Harold Pinter and starring Deborah Kerr as Edith.  Kerr toured the United States with the production in 1973-74, and she revived the role in 1979.  The play has been staged numerous times since.  Anna Massey, who played Lucetta Templeman in the 1978 Mayor of Casterbridge, appears here as Letty.  Apparently there are no DVD or video prints available.

 

The Return of the Native

 

Production Company: Hallmark Hall of Fame.  Director: Jack Gold.  Teleplay: Robert W. Lenski.  Producers: Craig Anderson, Nick Gillott, Richard Welsh.  Cinematography: Alan Hume.  Editor: Jim Oliver.  Music: Carl Davis.  Production Design: Peter Mullins.  Costumes: Derek Hyde.  Assistant Director: Kieron Phipps.  Sound Effects: Eric A. Norris.  Sound Re-Recording: John Asman.  Sound Mixer: Tony Dawe.  Boom: Chris Gurney. Camera Operator:  John Maskall.  Dialect Coach: Andrew Jack.  Length: 101 minutes.  Color.  First telecast: 4 December 1994 (CBS Television, US).

Cast: Catherine Zeta-Jones (Eustacia Vye), Clive Owen (Damon Wildeve), Ray Stevenson (Clym Yeobright), Joan Plowright (Mrs. Yeobright), Steven Mackintosh (Diggory Venn), Claire Skinner (Thomasin), Paul Rogers (Captain Vye), Celia Imrie (Susan Nunsuch), Richard Avery (Humphrey), Peter Wight  (Timothy), Jeremy Peters (Sam), Gregg Saunders (Charley), John Boswall (Grandfer Cantle), William Waghorn (Christian Cantle), Matthew Owens (Johnny), Britta Smith (Olly Dowden), John Breslin (Vicar), Daniel Newman (Mummer).

 

NOTES:  The Return of the Native (its full onscreen title is Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native) was produced by the American greeting card company, Hallmark, to run as part of its periodic Hallmark Hall of Fame series.  HHF films tend to be family-friendly productions, and the few commercial breaks are primarily for Hallmark products, so the diminution of the novel's somberness and the emphasis upon the colorful locales should not come as surprises.  Though the producers are American, the producers filmed in southwest England and utilized an entirely British cast.  This production is among the earliest screen credits for both Catherine Zeta-Jones and Clive Owen.  Return of the Native is available in DVD and video formats; in America, it's as close as the nearest Hallmark store.

 

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

 

Production Companies: London Weekend Television (UK), Arts and Entertainment Network (US).  Director: Ian Sharp.  Teleplay: Ted Whitehead.  Producer: Sarah Wilson.  Executive Producers: Delia Fine, Sally Head.  Cinematography: Richard Greatrex.  Editor: Peter Davies.  Music: Alan Lisk.  Production Design: Gerry Scott.  Art Direction: Mark Kebby.  Costumes: Les Lansdown.  Makeup: Kristin Chalmers.  Assistant Director: Cliff Lanning.  Sound Editors: Peter Baldock, Gillian Dodders.  Production Sound Mixer: Tony Dawe.  Boom: Chris Gurney.  Script Supervisor: Sarah Hayward.  Choreographer: Christine Carter.  Length: Two parts, approx. 90 minutes each.  Color.  First telecasts: 8 and 9 March1998, on ITV (UK); 13 and 14 September 1998, on A & E (US).

Cast: Justine Waddell (Tess Durbeyfield), Jason Flemyng (Alec D’Urberville), Oliver Milburn (Angel Clare), John McEnery (Jack Durbeyfield), Lesley Dunlop (Joan Durbeyfield), Rosalind Knight (Mrs. D’Urberville), Anthony O’Donnell (Crick), Christine Moore (Mrs. Crick), Bryan Pringle (Kail), Debbie Chazen (Marian), Candida Rundle (Izz), Amanda Brewster (Retty), Linda Armstrong (Car Darch), Hannah Westerman (Nancy), Charlotte Bellamy (Cissie), Amanda Loy-Ellis (Sue), Luke Graham (Abraham), Cheryl Heuston (Liza-Lu), Trevor Martin (Parson Tringham), Penny Morrell (Rolliver Landlady), Gerald James (Narrator).

 

NOTES:  A co-production of Britain's LWT network and the American cable channel A & E (which, for a brief period, ran original movies and serials based on classic novels--such as this one--under the banner heading "A & E's Literary Collection"), this Tess often seems to be a response to Polanski's film of 1979.  Justine Waddell's fiery Tess is the polar opposite of Nastassja Kinski's often passive dairymaid; and Alec (Jason Flemyng) is portrayed as such an unapologetic rapist that no one could accuse the film of sympathizing with him.  One of the curious features of this serial is the presence of an off-camera narrator, who actually makes a physical appearance after Tess confesses her past to Angel.  The viewer is left with little doubt that, based on the narrator's appearance, he is Thomas Hardy himself.  Tess of the D'Urbervilles is widely available in DVD and video formats.

 

 

 

 

Far from the Madding Crowd

Production Companies: Granada Television (UK), WGBH Boston (US).  Director: Nicholas Renton.  Teleplay: Philomena McDonagh.  Producer: Hilary Bevan Jones.  Executive Producers: Rebecca Eaton, Gub Neal, Antony Root.  Assistant Producer: Catriona McKenzie.  Cinematography: John Daly.  Editor: Anthony Ham.  Music: John E. Keane.  Production Design: Adrian Smith.  Art Direction: Rosie Hardwick, Paul Kirby.  Costumes: Nic Ede.  Hair and Makeup Design: Dorka Nieradzik.  Makeup: Beverly Binda, Clare Golds.  Assistant Director: Vincent Fahy.  Sound Effects Editor: John Rutherford.  Sound Recordists: Nick Steer, David Hall.  Boom: Ben Brookes.  Special Effects: Perry Brahan, Chris Lawson.  Stunt Coordinator: Peter Brayhan.  Stunts: Crispin Layfield, Tom Lucy.  Script Editor: Susie Conklin.  Choreographer: Jane Gibson.  Dialect Coach: Julia Wilson-Dixon.  Length: Four episodes, 54 minutes each.  Color.  First telecasts: Parts One and Two, 10 May 1998; Parts Three and Four, 17 May 1998, on Masterpiece Theatre (PBS); 6 July to 27 July 1998, on ITV (UK).

Cast: Paloma Baeza (Bathsheba Everdene), Nigel Terry (Mr. Boldwood), Nathaniel Parker (Gabriel Oak), Jonathan Firth (Sergeant Troy), Natasha Little (Fanny Robin), Tracy Keating (Liddy), Robin Soans (Henery Fray), Victoria Alcock (Temperance Miller), James Allen (Will Coggan), James Ballentine (Joe Coggan), David Barrass (Pennyways), Tim Bartholomew (Sam Sammy), Linda Bassett (Maryann Money), Gwynn Beech (Simeon), Shannon Bone-Sands  (Lizzie Coggan), John Boswell (Timothy), Reginald Callcott (Jacob Smallbury), Neil Caple (Laban Tall), Elizabeth Estensen (Mrs. Coggan), Philip Fowler (William), Sean Gilder (Joseph Poorgrass), Robyn Gow (May Coggan), Leader Hawkins (Old Shepherd), Geoffrey Jenkinson (Sam Samway), Phillip Joseph (Jan Coggan), Kevin Kibbey (Billy Smallbury), Gabrielle Lloyd (Mrs. Twill), Prussia Moore (Annie Coggan), Rhys Morgan (Teddy Coggan), Brian Rawlinson (Parson Thirdly), Luke Redbond (Cainy Ball), Andy Robb (Mark Clark), Charles Simon (Old Malter), Paul Sirr (Barrister), Linda Spurrier (Mrs. Hurst), Sarah Tansey (Soberness Miller), Neil Warhurst (Sergeant Dobbs).

 

NOTES:  Visually similar to John Schlesinger's film of thirty years before, this Far from the Madding Crowd is actually more earthy and more focused on the average lives of the peasants than is the earlier film.  Special attention is paid to the plight of Fanny Robin, though the invented scenes of Fanny laboring in the fields seem to be a direct steal from Tess (and the workhouse scenes owe more than a little to Dickens).  Like the LWT/A & E Tess of the D'Urbervilles, which appeared the same year, this serial is an Anglo-American co-production.  It is available both on DVD and on video.

 

The Mayor of Casterbridge

Production Companies: Pearson Television International (UK), Arts and Entertainment Network (US).  Director: David Thacker.  Teleplay: Ted Whitehead.  Producer: Georgina Lowe.  Executive Producer: Sally Head.  Executive Producer for A & E:  Delia Fine.  Music: Adrian Johnston.  Cinematography: Ivan Strasburg.  Editor:  St. John O’Rorke.  Production Design: Bruce Macadie.  Art Direction:  Emma Mac Devitt, Patrick Rolfe.  Costumes: Lyn Avery.  Hair and Makeup Design:  Marilyn MacDonald.  Assistant Directors: Charlie Leech, Toni Staples, Lee Grumett.  Production Manager:  Claudine Sturdy.  Post-Production Supervisor:  Phil Brown.  Special Effects:  Casper Lailey, Ken Lailey, Alastair Vardy.  Visual Effects:  Ron Beard, Simon Frame.  Sound Mixer: Tim Fraser.  Casting: Jill Trevellick.  Length: Two parts, approximately 100 minutes each.  Color.  First telecasts: 17 August 2003, on A & E (US); 28 and 29 December 2003, on ITV (UK).  (Note: filmed in 2001.)

Cast: Ciarán Hinds (Michael Henchard), James Purefoy (Donald Farfrae), Jodhi May (Elizabeth-Jane), Juliet Aubrey (Susan), Polly Walker (Lucetta Templeman), Jean Marsh (Furmity Woman), Tony Haygarth (Solomon Longways), Trevor Peacock (Christopher Coney), Darren Hawkes (Auctioneer), Clive Russell (Newson), Michael Beint (Coachman), John Surman (Tent Auctioneer), Susan Jane Tanner (Staylaces Dealer), David Bradley (Councillor Vatt), Richard Moore (Councillor Chalkfield), Elliott Head (Waiter), Annette Badland (Mrs. Stannidge), Judy Cornwell (Mother Cuxsom), Sophie Stanton (Nance Mockridge), Henry Goodman (Joshua Jopp), Ben Crompton (Abel Whittle), James Walker (Priest), Victoria Byrne (Lucetta’s Maid), Karl Johnson (Conjurer Fall), David Calder (Grower), Alan Williams (Stubberd), Michael Cronin (Senior Commissioner), Alex Kelly (Maid), Tim Treslove (Wagon Driver), Stephanie Jacob (Woman in Wagon).

 

NOTES:  This production was originally announced to air in 2002, but budget problems at ITV forced the already-completed Mayor—and many other programs—to be shelved for nearly two years.  When it was first broadcast in America on the A & E network, the two parts were severely edited and stitched together into a single three-hour block.5  The DVD version restores the original two-part format.  The executive producer and script writer were also responsible for the Tess of the D'Urbervilles miniseries (see above), and The Mayor was likewise a joint production between A & E and a British television network.  Interestingly, Jodhi May, Polly Walker, and Tony Haygarth had all appeared in the 1998 film of The Woodlanders, in largely similar roles--as, respectively, suffering innocent, seductive "other woman," and salt-of-the-earth man of the country.

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Greenwood Tree

 

Production Companies: Ecosse Films, BBC America, WGBH Boston, Ignatious Television LLB.  Distributor: ITV.  Director: Nick Laughland.  Teleplay:  Ashley Pharaoh.  Producer: Jeremy Gwilt.  Executive Producers: Matthew Arlidge, Robert Bernstein, Douglas Rae.  Line Producer: Kit Williams.  Editor: Steve Singleton.  Music: John Lunn, Jim Williams.  Production Designer: Dave Arrowsmith.  Art Directors: Catherine Carruthers, Nicki McCallum, Kate Purdy.  Photography: James Aspinall.  Costumes: Joan Wadge.  Makeup: Alison Davies.  Assistant Directors: Peter Stenning, Rachel Stone, Will Cummins.  Visual Effects: Gary Brown.  Length: 93 mins.  Color.  First telecasts: 26 December 2005, on ITV (UK).  Telecast in America on Masterpiece Theatre (PBS) on 23 April 2006.

Cast: Keeley Hawes (Fancy Day), James Murray (Dick Dewy), Terence Mortimer (Robert Penny), Richard Leaf (Thomas Leaf), Tony Haygarth (Reuben Dewy), Jane Wheldon (Mary Dewy), Sian Brooke (Susan Dewy), Ellie Thackeray (Bessie Dewy), Liam DeGruchy (Charley Dewy), John Axon (Elias Spinks), Steve Pemberton (Mr. Shiner), Ben Miles (Parson Maybold), Althea Steven (Anne Roebuck), Tom Georgeson (Geoffrey Day), Sean Arnold (Farmer), Robert Wilkinson (Gabriel).

 

NOTES:  As is now apparently standard practice, this is a co-production between British and American networks and investors.  How differently the two nations view Hardy's work, though, can be seen in the venues in which they chose to broadcast the program.  In the UK, Under the Greenwood Tree was televised on Boxing Day, taking advantage both of the holiday setting of the movie's early scenes; when it was broadcast on Masterpiece Theater in the US, the date chosen was Earth Day.  Tony Haygarth makes his third appearance in a production based on a Hardy novel, appearing as paterfamilias Reuben Dewy.  Under the Greenwood Tree is available on DVD and video.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, the material here is derived from my book, Seeing Hardy.

More information on "wiping" and attempts to recover lost programs is available on Missing-Episodes.com.

Roy Pierce-Jones, "Screening the Short Stories: From the 1950s to the 1990s," in Wright, ed., Thomas Hardy on Screen, pp. 63-75.  Page 68 is referenced here.

Pierce-Jones, p. 73.

For further information, see Philip Allingham, "The Mayor of Casterbridge (2001, 2003) on A & E Television."

 

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