Re: Gormenghast

John Holland (
Thu, 31 May 2001 09:13:48 -0700 (PDT)

July 3 street date for the DVD (and probably VHS too).

Carol Dunn wrote:

> WAY OFF THE TOPIC: For those of you who love Fantasy, PBS is finally
> going to air the BBC mini-series, Gormenghast. I saw it on BBC America,
> and it was wonderful! Don't miss it. Hopefully it will be for sale soon
> on DVD/Video. June 27 and 28 at 9pm ET (see details below)
> Regards,
> Carol Dunn
> Findlay-Hancock County Public Library
> 206 Broadway
> Findlay, Ohio 45840
> Telephone: 419.422.1712
> Fax: 419.422-0638
> A gothic masterpiece comes breathtakingly to life in a lavish four-hour
> adaptation of GORMENGHAST, airing on PBS Wednesday and Thursday, June 27 and
> 28, 2001, 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). Based on Mervyn Peake's
> Gormenghast trilogy, the program presents an epic fantasy in the tradition
> of Dune and The Lord of the Rings.
> Five years in the making, GORMENGHAST is one of the most ambitious
> undertakings in British television history. Enhancing the sense of magic and
> majesty are 120 elaborate sets and a magnificent array of costumes,
> recreating the richly imagined world of a book familiar to three generations
> of readers.
> Set in the sprawling tumbledown castle of Gormenghast, the story features a
> menagerie of weird and colorful characters that plot, seduce, murder, go mad
> and otherwise cope in an ageless and increasingly corrupt society.
> Ian Richardson (House of Cards trilogy) stars as Lord Groan, head of the
> ancient family of Groan and 76th Earl of Gormenghast. A bibliomaniac, he
> turns into a simple maniac when his books go up in flames thanks to a
> nefarious arson plot designed to unhinge his mind.
> Horror movie legend Christopher Lee (The Curse of Frankenstein, soon to be
> seen in The Lord of the Rings) plays Flay, Groan's cadaverous manservant.
> Exiled for mistreating one of the palace cats, he remains faithful to the
> dynasty in his search to discover the evil genius who is destroying it.
> Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Titus, Velvet Goldmine) plays the arch villain
> Steerpike, who rises from kitchen boy to Master of the Ritual as he plots to
> topple the House of Groan and take over.
> The cast of GORMENGHAST also includes Celia Imrie (Star Wars, Hilary and
> Jackie) as Gertrude, Countess of Groan, a bird- and cat-fancier who
> instructs her newborn son's nanny, "Bring him back when he's six"; Neve
> McIntosh (Lady Audley's Secret) as Fuchsia, Gormenghast's spoiled princess
> and Steerpike's doting pawn; John Sessions as Prunesquallor, the bizarre
> surgeon-in-chief who has more on the ball than it appears; Richard Griffiths
> (Hope and Glory; the upcoming Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) as
> Swelter, the homicidal head of the palace kitchens; Zoe Wanamaker (David
> Copperfield) and Lynsey Baxter as demented twin aunts, Clarice and Cora,
> whose fixation on the trappings of power leads them into a ruinous alliance
> with Steerpike, and Stephen Fry (Jeeves and Wooster) as the narcoleptic
> Professor Bellgrove.
> Mervyn Peake concocted the fantasy world of Gormenghast during his British
> Army service in World War II. At first, he had difficulty finding a
> publisher, but with the appearance of Titus Groan in 1946, he developed a
> cult following that eventually encompassed teenagers as well as literary
> critics. Peake died in 1968 at age 57.
> "The Gormenghast trilogy is about Titus Groan and his ascent toward
> manhood," wrote Robert Ostermann in the National Observer. "But to speak of
> these novels as being 'about' anything is as inadequate as saying The
> Odyssey is about a man trying to get home to his wife. Such fiction is first
> and foremost about itself ... and it imposes itself with obsessive force on
> the reader."
> Day & time: check with your local station

John Holland
Media Express
Chicago Public Library
(312) 747-4100