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Masterpiece Theatre; Daniel Deronda

Daniel Deronda Episode 1

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Masterpiece Theatre
Daniel Deronda
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

George Eliot’s final novel, which charts a love story set in Victorian high society, takes a surprising turn into the hidden world of English Jews. Hugh Dancy (“Madame Bovary”) stars as Daniel Deronda; newcomer Romala Garai is his soulmate, Gwendolen Harleth. Though entranced with Daniel, Gwendolen is forced into an oppressive marriage to Henleigh Grandcourt (Hugh Bonneville, “The Cazalets”), while Daniel finds a new life through his friendship with singer Mirah Lapidoth (Jodhi May, “The Turn of the Screw”). 3215 Part 1: In 1875 Daniel Deronda (Hugh Dancy) is in a Swiss casino, watching the beautiful, reckless Gwendolen Harleth (Romola Garai) as she gambles away the last of her family's resources. Months earlier she had refused the marriage offer of the rich aristocrat Henleigh Grandcourt (Hugh Bonneville), after being confronted by his spurned mistress, Lydia Glasher (Greta Scacchi), and her illegitimate children by him. Destitute, Gwendolen pawns a necklace, which Daniel redeems and returns anonymously. Back in England, she faces the prospect of being a governess or else encouraging the despicable Grandcourt to renew his proposal. Meanwhile, while Daniel is boating on the Thames, he saves a woman attempting to drown herself. She is a Jewish singer named Mirah Lapidoth (Jodhi May). He takes her to the home of his friend Mrs. Meyrick (Celia Imrie) and commences a search for her family, which plunges him into the hidden world of English Jews. 3216 Part 2: On Gwendolen's wedding night, Lydia sends her the diamonds that Grandcourt had once given her. A stinging letter is attached. Gwendolen realizes her marriage is doomed. Meanwhile, Daniel finds and befriends Mirah's brother, Mordecai (Daniel Evans), an intellectual Zionist. As Daniel becomes more and more immersed in Jewish culture, Gwendolen is stifling under the sadistic treatment of Grandcourt, who is jealous that she finds amiable companionship with Daniel. Mirah is starting to flourish as a professional singer with Daniel's support, sparking Gwendolen's jealousy. The plot reaches a dramatic climax in Genoa, where Daniel finally meets his real mother, and Gwendolen and Grandcourt take a hellish sailing holiday that changes their relationship forever.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “Masterpiece Theatre; Daniel Deronda,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed March 22, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_7C2E9CB53AF94CDEBA2AEB7555E01D4B.
MLA: “Masterpiece Theatre; Daniel Deronda.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. March 22, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_7C2E9CB53AF94CDEBA2AEB7555E01D4B>.
APA: Masterpiece Theatre; Daniel Deronda. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_7C2E9CB53AF94CDEBA2AEB7555E01D4B
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