WGBH Openvault

Masterpiece Theatre; Way We Live Now, The

Packaged master Episode 1 (Reel 1 of 2)

License Clip

More material may be available from this program at the WGBH Archives. If you are a researcher interested in accessing the collection at WGBH, please email archive_requests@wgbh.org.

This program has not been digitized yet or cannot be made available on Open Vault.

Masterpiece Theatre
Way We Live Now, The
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

"The Way We Live Now" is Anthony Trollope's epic story about the trials and tribulations of young love, the enduring values of honorable men, the dissolute antics of the upper class, the raw energy and excitement of the most powerful city the world has ever seen, and the greed and corruption that lay just below its glittering surface. At the heart of this world is Augustus Melmotte, who settles in London, drawing into his web a series of characters that only Trollope could devise. Adapted by Andrew Davies, the series stars David Suchet. Also starring are Matthew Macfadyen (Wuthering Heights) as cad-about-town Sir Felix Carbury; Paloma Baeza (Anna Karenina, Far From the Madding Crowd) as his beautiful and levelheaded sister, Hetta; and Cheryl Campbell (The Mill on the Floss) as their widowed mother, Lady Carbury, who writes historical potboilers with titles like Wicked Queens to make ends meet. The mysterious Melmotte pulls Felix and other aristocrats into a grandiose plan to finance a railroad from Salt Lake City to Vera Cruz, Mexico; hardly a lucrative route, but Melmotte has no intention of laying track. Meanwhile, he uses the capital to finance a lavish lifestyle and a run for Parliament. Shirley Henderson (Bridget Jones’s Diary) plays Melmotte’s manic daughter, Marie, who develops a pathological passion for Felix. Deeply in debt to an unscrupulous gambling partner, he is less interested in matrimony than in papa’s money. Douglas Hodge (Middlemarch) is the Carburys’ country-squire cousin Roger, who has a chaste infatuation with Hetta and wants to marry her. One of the only principled characters in the plot, Roger is the source of the series title: “Perhaps these things don’t matter anymore. What do I know about the way people live now?” Cillian Murphy is Hetta’s other suitor, earnest engineer Paul Montague, who is Melmotte’s hapless partner in the Salt Lake-to-Vera Cruz line. And Miranda Otto is pistol-packing Southern belle Winifred Hurtle, Paul’s jilted American fiancée, who is said to have shot a man in Oregon and seems ready to repeat the act in London.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “Masterpiece Theatre; Way We Live Now, The,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed March 30, 2020, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_1EB3A39E82C747688503DB44BF9453C5.
MLA: “Masterpiece Theatre; Way We Live Now, The.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. March 30, 2020. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_1EB3A39E82C747688503DB44BF9453C5>.
APA: Masterpiece Theatre; Way We Live Now, The. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_1EB3A39E82C747688503DB44BF9453C5
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.