An all-star cast appears in brand new period drama Belgravia.
Belgravia is a story of secrets and scandals amongst the upper echelons of London society in the 19th Century.
When the Trenchards accept an invitation to the now legendary ball hosted by the Duchess of Richmond on the fateful eve of the Battle of Waterloo, it sets in motion a series of events that will have consequences for decades to come as secrets unravel behind the porticoed doors of London’s grandest neighbourhood.
Here’s a helpful guide to the main characters:
Anne Trenchard (played by Tamsin Greig)
A clever, strong woman, but not a bully. Born the daughter of a country teacher, she loves her husband and enjoys his success without sharing his social ambitions.
Astute and thoughtful, she straddles the class divide with elegance and insight, her sound judgements occasionally derailed by her husband’s aspirations and her own emotional response to events.
James Trenchard (played by Philip Glenister)
A self-made man who started out as a London market trader, James grasped the opportunity that war with Napoleon presented, becoming one of the principal suppliers to the Duke of Wellington.
After the war, he has joined the Cubitt brothers in their building of a new London City of the Rich, Belgravia. James is a social climber of mountaineering proportions. The advancement of his family drives him forward, but it drives his wife to distraction.
Oliver Trenchard (played by Richard Goulding)
He has the worst qualities of his father and none of his best. His belief in his own superiority is not supported either by achievement, intelligence or even birth.
He wants everything his father wants, but unlike James, he is not prepared to work for it. Yet though he is shallow and greedy, there is a small and undernourished moral spark in him.
Susan Trenchard (played by Alice Eve)
Beautiful, petulant and spoilt, Susan wants everything while giving nothing in return. The daughter of a successful merchant, her marriage to Oliver was a disappointment to James, who had hoped for someone with better connections, but he is sympathetic to Susan’s social climbing.
Extravagant to a fault, her priority is her own social advancement. But, whatever her failings, she is not at all stupid.
Sophia Trenchard (played by Emily Reid)
The beautiful daughter of James and Anne Trenchard whose passion blinds her to any other consideration.
A young woman who is carried away by love and deaf to those who wish the best for her.
Lady Brockenhurst (played by Dame Harriet Walter)
Once a great beauty, Lady Brockenhurst hides her private sadness behind a carapace of good breeding and a degree of aristocratic hauteur, which feeds her sense of superiority.
A clever woman, and a talented artist, she shows strength and fortitude in adversity, forming unusual alliances to protect those she loves.
Earl of Brockenhurst (played by Tom Wilkinson)
Tall and handsome in his youth, Lord Brockenhurst is a typical aristocrat who has lived his life according to an accepted code, one that he has never questioned.
He loves his wife, however, even if their marriage is a courteous but essentially external affair of form and rule, manner and custom. His family circumstances have brought out his depressive tendencies.
Lord Bellasis (played by Jeremy Neumark Jones)
Son and heir to the Earl and Countess of Brockenhurst, Edmund is a man with everything life has to offer: looks, money and rank, and the world is his oyster. But he is his own man and determined to go his own way.
Charles Pope (played by Jack Bardoe)
A child of his own time. Charles is not a Regency rake; he is a Victorian entrepreneur. He is unaware of the truth about his birth but he is at peace with his modest place in society.
That said, he is determined to rise and make his mark in this new world. Handsome, charming and thoroughly decent, his intelligence is matched by his youthful charm.
Lady Maria Grey (played by Ella Purnell)
An attractive, forthright young woman brought up under a reasonably strict regime of nurses and governesses. She is intelligent and interested in the wider world, not just the latest fashion.
Her mother has identified John Bellasis as an eligible match for her, but Maria dislikes his selfish, snobbish pride. She immediately recognizes Charles as a natural ally.
Reverend Stephen Bellasis (played by James Fleet)
The younger brother of the Earl of Brockenhurst. He became a man of the cloth because it assured him of a large parsonage near his old home and a handful of livings then in the gift of his father. He is envious of his brother’s lands, money and title and has gambled away most of his inheritance. A weak and irresolute liar and generally a bad sort.
Grace Bellasis (played by Diana Hardcastle)
The eldest of five daughters of a Gloucestershire baronet, Grace was not the catch she thought she was and ended up married to the impecunious younger son of an earl.
She is a disappointed woman, but not beyond pushing the interests of her children, most of all those of her arrogant and spoiled son, John.
John Bellasis (played by Adam James)
He is a handsome, selfish and greedy man, but he’s not stupid. He despises both his uncle, for doing so little with his inheritance, and his father, for throwing away what he had. John is not a gambler but he is extravagant, knowing that his uncle’s money will eventually come his way.
He is pompous and arrogant and endears himself to no one. He seems much more interested in seducing other men’s wives than marrying a society beauty himself.
Lady Templemore (played by Tara Fitzgerald)
Mother of Lady Maria Grey. Lady Templemore suffered through a difficult marriage to her late husband. Rather than allowing her own daughter to marry for love, she is all the more determined that a good match is made. Clouded by her own fears, she is a controlling and manipulative parent, but she is not incapable of affection.
Turton (played by Paul Ritter)
Butler to the Trenchard household, Turton has been with the family for many years. But with one eye to his retirement, he is not beyond the occasional money-making scheme, undertaken in partnership with Mrs Babbage, the housekeeper.
He believes that it behoves him to take advantage of any chance that comes his way.
Ellis (played by Saskia Reeves)
Lady’s maid to Anne Trenchard, Ellis is all smiles and deference in her mistress’s presence, but she resents the fact that she has been trapped in service all her working life. She thinks herself better than her mistress and blames the system for keeping her down.
She is cunning and greedy, and out to make as much money as she can. Even after thirty years’ service with the Trenchards she needs little encouragement to be disloyal.
Speer (played by Bronagh Gallagher)
Lady’s maid to Susan Trenchard, Speer is also clever and ambitious for herself but she is more honest and more generous than Ellis.
She likes Susan and she means to help her, but she is also careful to make sure that, however things turn out for her mistress, she, Speer, will be all right.
Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia novel is available on Amazon.