1 9 7 0 (UK)
6 x 45 minute episodes
Following in the footsteps of The Forsyte Saga, BBC2 once more embarked on serialising a 19th-century classic. This time the book brought before the viewing masses was Daniel Deronda, reputed to be one of George Eliot’s best works.
Daniel Deronda (John Nolan) had a background interestingly shrouded in mystery and the necessary good looks, unselfishness, chivalry and money to make him a good hero.
Gwendolen Harleth (Martha Henry), on the other hand, had no money, was decidedly selfish and yet was good-looking, which made her a heroine in the true Becky Sharp style.
There was also the interest of a clandestine love affair between the German music master and his rich pupil, and the character one was meant to dislike – this time the supercilious moneyed Mr Henleigh Grandcourt (Robert Hardy).
Gwendolen learned that her mother had lost her already dwindling income through a bad investment and they were forced to move to humbler surroundings. She was also urged to take up work as a governess, the idea of which she detested.
Gwendolen also became aware of the presence of Daniel Deronda who, in true chivalrous form, redeemed from the casino her necklace with which she had paid her gambling debts. He sent it back to her anonymously and Gwendolyn at once did a little detective work to find out her benefactor’s identity.
Herr Klesmer (Laurence Carter) and Catherine Arrowpoint (Kate Lansbury) announced their love to Catherine’s parents and, for their pains, were warned she would be disinherited if she married him. True love, however, appeared to prevail.
A touch of mystery was provided in the Jewish girl Mirah Lapidoth (Vanessa Miles), who Daniel Deronda prevented from throwing herself in the river and then took under his wing by placing her under the homely Mrs Meyrick (Megs Jenkins).
Sir Hugo Mallinger