Wives and Daughters (1999– )
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Episode #1.4 

Roger returns from Africa after Osbourne's death to find his sister-in-law and his nephew living at their home as well. Cynthia has accepted the marriage offer of Mr. Henderson, a lawyer ... See full summary »


Nicholas Renton


Andrew Davies (adaptation), Elizabeth Gaskell (novel)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Iain Glen ... Mr. Preston
Justine Waddell ... Molly
Keeley Hawes ... Cynthia
Francesca Annis ... Mrs. Gibson
Bill Paterson ... Mr. Gibson
Emily McKenzie Emily McKenzie ... Maria
Tom Hollander ... Osborne Hamley
Deborah Findlay ... Miss Phoebe
Richard Dempsey ... Mr. Bold
Elizabeth Spriggs ... Mrs. Goodenough
Jacqueline Pilton Jacqueline Pilton ... Mrs. Dawes
Jemima Rooper ... Lizzie Goodenough
Barbara Flynn ... Miss Browning
Georgie Glen ... Miss Hornblower
Ian Carmichael ... Lord Cumnor


Roger returns from Africa after Osbourne's death to find his sister-in-law and his nephew living at their home as well. Cynthia has accepted the marriage offer of Mr. Henderson, a lawyer from London, while Roger seems to have his heart set on another. Written by R

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Did You Know?


Last show of the series. See more »


Mr. Gibson: Women are queer, unreasoning creatures and just as likely as not to love a man who's been throwing his affection away.
Roger Hamley: Thank you sir, I see you mean to give me encouragement.
Mr. Gibson: My encouragement is neither here nor there, for if she can stomach ya, I dare say I can.
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References Ulysses (1967) See more »

User Reviews

'Wives and Daughters': Part 4
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.

As an adaptation, 'Wives and Daughters' 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. This final episode couldn't be a more ideal way to conclude.

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. You'd think that you'd be annoyed by characters like Lady Harriet, but actually you might find that she later becomes one of your favourites, especially in this episode.

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. The beautiful Rosamund Pike is wonderfully feisty and forceful and also elegant and dignified, it's not a large role but Pike makes a lot out of it, especially loved Harriet here and no her different hair style was in no way a distraction.

Some may be underwhelmed by the ending. Not me and it is not the adaptation's fault. The book was left incomplete at the time of Elizabeth Gaskell's sudden death so that is part of the problem, it would very likely be hard to write a more conclusive ending while trying to respect the source material that such a great job was done with in the rest of the series. Taking all that into account, to me the ending was not an issue.

Overall, brilliant. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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English | French | Amharic

Release Date:

19 December 1999 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dune Films See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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