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Gormenghast (2000)

A fantasy drama series by Malcolm McKay, adapted from The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake, and first broadcast on 17 January 2000 (BBC2).

Running time: 4 hours and 34 minutes


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Gormenghast is a television epic, adapted from the cult novels of Mervyn Peake.

The Groan family have reigned over the strange land of Gormenghast for centuries.  The royal household's aversion to change and reliance on tradition, however, threaten to cripple this once-mighty kingdom.  When a ruthless servant, Steerpike, determines to exploit the Groans' weaknesses, the overthrow of Gormenghast seems certain. 

Among the palace's residents are identical twins Clarice and Cora Groan, who have been barred from public life for over a decade.  Shunned by their relatives, the resentful sisters develop a thirst for power at any cost and are among the first to be corrupted by Steerpike.  Having failed to guess the real motivation behind the kitchen boy's plans, the simple-minded pair are persuaded to set fire to the palace's ancient library.  Lord Groan is driven mad by the loss of his beloved books. 

Steerpike rewards his co-conspirators only by locking them away, without hope of escape.  His rise to power seems unstoppable.  Only the young heir, Titus Groan, stands in his way.


Steerpike ... Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
Lord Groan ... Ian Richardson
Lady Gertrude Groan ... Celia Imrie
Lady Fuchsia Groan ... Neve McIntosh
Clarice Groan ... Zo Wanamaker
Cora Groan ... Lynsey Baxter
Nanny Slagg ... June Brown
Barquentine ... Warren Mitchell
Flay ... Christopher Lee
Swelter ... Richard Griffiths
Dr. Prunesquallor ... John Sessions
Irma Prunesquallor ... Fiona Shaw
Professor Bellgrove ... Stephen Fry


Director: Andy Wilson
Producer: Estelle Daniel
Executive Producers: Rebecca Eaton, Hilary Salmon and Michael Wearing
Cinematography: Gavin Finney
Production Designer: Christopher Hobbs
Costume Designer: Odile Dicks-Mireaux
Makeup Designers: Christine Greenwood and Joan Hills
Original Music: Richard Rodney Bennett and John Tavener


Gormenghast Region 1 DVD

Gormenghast Region 2 DVD

The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake

Related links

Gormenghast guide - BBC Drama

Gormenghast guide - PBS

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