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Masterpiece Theatre; Bramwell, Series I

Episode One of Bramwell Series I

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Masterpiece Theatre
Bramwell, Series I
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

This series follows the fortunes of Eleanor Bramwell (Jemma Redgrave), who sets her heart and sights on becoming a leading surgeon -- an inconceivable ambition for a woman in Victorian England. Her father, Robert (David Calder), wants her to join him in his respectable private practice, but his daughter has plans of her own. Eleanor's progressive thinking earns her the enmity of eminent surgeon Sir Herbert Hamilton (Robert Hardy), but her energy and commitment also win her the friendship of Lady Cora Peters (Michele Dotrice), who recognizes Eleanor's talents and sets her up in a small charitable infirmary. PART ONE Assisting at the East London Hospital, Eleanor questions the arrogant Sir Hamilton's old-fashioned and often barbaric practices. His belief in removing women's ovaries to cure an array of psychological problems leads to the death of a young mother and puts the life of Victoria Carstairs (Robin McCaffrey), wife of the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Nicholas Jones), at risk. Eleanor's diagnosis of Victoria's abdominal discomfort threatens to destroy Victoria's marriage -- and jeopardizes Eleanor's career. PART TWO Eleanor opens the charitable Thrift Infirmary and discovers that distinguishing between the deserving and undeserving poor is not only difficult, but dangerous. She agrees to supplement the Thrift by working in her father's private practice, where her first patient, a frivolous music hall performer, seems unconcerned about her health and later collapses on stage. Eleanor is shocked to find that her father's interest in the singer is more than professional. At the Thrift, Eleanor's first patient refuses life-saving surgery, and Lady Cora is exasperated when the Bishop's visit doesn't go as planned. PART THREE Dr. Robert Bramwell's experiments with the "new science" of electrotherapy treatment land him in hot water. Meanwhile, Eleanor has her own problems when a consumptive patient is far from grateful for her help. When Eleanor and Nurse Carr (Ruth Sheen) visit the East End slums to run tuberculosis tests, they are stunned when a man positively diagnosed refuses treatment. Eleanor's investigations open a can of worms and lead her deep into a family scandal. PART FOUR Eleanor is flattered by the attentions of a male doctor but revises her opinion of him when his housekeeper suddenly dies. She discovers that the doctor has some dark secrets and might not be what he seems. Lady Cora organizes a party to raise funds for the Thrift.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “Masterpiece Theatre; Bramwell, Series I,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed January 20, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DE9ACDF5B7F0452DA67C05763294AFF8.
MLA: “Masterpiece Theatre; Bramwell, Series I.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. January 20, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DE9ACDF5B7F0452DA67C05763294AFF8>.
APA: Masterpiece Theatre; Bramwell, Series I. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DE9ACDF5B7F0452DA67C05763294AFF8
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