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Masterpiece Theatre; Doctor Zhivago

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Masterpiece Theatre
Doctor Zhivago
Program Number


Series Description

Program premiered in 1971 with The First Churchills. Hosted by Alastair Cooke. Intended as a showcase for the best of British television drama. Spawned MYSTERY! in 1980. Current executive producer Rebecca Eaton. All promotion of program done by Frank Goodman & Associates (see below). Synopsis, cast information and producers listed by individual title. Series release date: 1971

Program Description

Broadcast Sundays December 19 and 26, 2004

In this new version of Boris Pasternak's famous novel, now presented in its full richness of detail in a script by screenwriter Andrew Davies, Yury and Lara pursue their undying love across Russia amid war and revolution. Packed with epic action and fiery romance, this retelling stars Sam Neill ("Jurassic Park," "The Piano") as Komarovsky, Hans Matheson ("Mists of Avalon") as Yury Zhivago, and Keira Knightley ("Bend It Like Beckham," "Pirates of the Caribbean") as Lara. 3303 - Young Yury Zhivago moves in with his uncle (Bill Paterson), aunt (Celia Imrie), and young cousin Tonya after his father (Hugh Bonneville) is driven to suicide by his business advisor Komarovsky (Sam Neill). When he is grown up and in medical school, Yury (Hans Matheson) falls in love with Tonya (Alexandra Maria Lara). But one day he sees the beautiful Lara (Keira Knightley) through a café window. Lara's mother (Maryan d'Abo) is the lover of Komarovsky, whose attentions soon turn to the daughter. Jealous, her mother attempts to kill herself, and while treating her, Yury recognizes both Komarovsky and Lara as faces he has seen before. At Christmas, Yury and Tonya attend a glamorous party at which Lara suddenly appears and takes a shot at Komarovsky, but misses. Yury and Tonya wed, while Lara marries her Bolshevik friend Pasha (Kris Marshall). The outbreak of World War I sends both men into the Russian army. Fate brings Yury and Lara to the same battle zone, where he is a medical officer and she is a nurse searching for the missing Pasha, who is reportedly dead. She ends up nursing Yury when he is wounded in action. Though they fall deeply in love, the Communist Revolution has arrived and Yury must reunite with Tonya and his son in the turmoil of Moscow, while Lara returns to her daughter in the remote village of Yuryatin in the Ural Mountains. 3304 - Yury returns to Moscow to find his house has been taken over by the Reds and the city's public health system is hopelessly politicized. He decides to move his family to his uncle's old estate, Varykino, near Yuryatin. On their way he meets Pasha, very much alive under the new name Strelnikov, a notorious revolutionary leader with little interest in either Lara or his daughter. One day while in Yuryatin, Yury sees Lara and they start a passionate affair. With Tonya pregnant again, he decides to break with Lara, but on the way home he is captured by partisan fighters and forced to be their medic. When Lara is midwife at Tonya's delivery, Tonya realizes who she is. After months with the partisans, Yury escapes during winter and barely survives his trek to Lara's house in Yuryatin, where she nurses him back to health. Meanwhile, Tonya, her children, and father have left Varykino for Moscow. Pursued by Komarovsky, now a high Communist official, Lara and Yury flee to Varykino, where they spend an idyllic sojourn until Komarovsky shows up to take the now-pregnant Lara away. Yury has a last encounter with Pasha, who is himself a hunted man, and then Yury returns to Moscow to find that both Tonya and Lara have vanished. Several years later he spots a little boy who reminds him of himself as a child; nearby is the boy's mother....



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “Masterpiece Theatre; Doctor Zhivago,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed July 16, 2020, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_07A136E687F1459B95E13327DCB7E9B5.
MLA: “Masterpiece Theatre; Doctor Zhivago.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. July 16, 2020. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_07A136E687F1459B95E13327DCB7E9B5>.
APA: Masterpiece Theatre; Doctor Zhivago. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_07A136E687F1459B95E13327DCB7E9B5
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