‘The Forsyte Saga’ headed to Masterpiece on PBS

Photo: PBS Masterpiece

First broadcast in 1967 on the BBC, The Forsyte Saga was produced on a budget of £10,000 per episode which, at the time, was a fairly significant gamble not only because it was the last major British drama serial to be made in black and white but it was produced at a time when only a small proportion of the population had television sets able to receive the BBC. It had a successful run on PBS in the U.S. in the early 70s which allowed WGBH/Boston to launch the Masterpiece series

Fast forward 50+ years and you have The Forsyte Saga returning to PBS with a major new reimagining of John Galsworthy’s Forsyte novels. Planned as a returning series, the first season of six episodes will follow the lives of the wealthy Forsyte family in 1880s London and is based on Galsworthy’s Nobel Prize-winning tale of love, loyalty, ambition and betrayal.

The third adaptation of the 1967 series (the second by Granada Television for ITV being the 2002 adaptation starring Damian Lewis, Gina McKee, Rupert Graves and Wendy Craig) will be adapted by BAFTA-nominated Poldark writer Debbie Horsfield and will definitely be one of those ‘you can’t tell the players without a scorecard’ with a stellar ensemble cast announced by Masterpiece.

The Forsyte Saga cast. Photo: PBS Masterpiece/Mammoth Screen

BAFTA winner Francesca Annis (Home Fires, Lillie, Cranford, Flesh and Blood) plays formidable Forsyte matriarch Ann, with Stephen Moyer (Sexy BeastTrue Blood) as her eldest son, Jolyon Senior, head of the family stockbroking firm Forsyte & Co.

Danny Griffin (Fate: The Winx Saga) plays his bohemian son Jo, Tuppence Middleton (Downton Abbey: A New Era) is Jo’s status-driven wife Frances, and Eleanor Tomlinson (One Day) plays Louisa Byrne, a Soho dressmaker and Jo’s first love.

Jack Davenport (The Morning Show) plays Ann’s competitive younger son James.  Joshua Orpin (Titans) stars as James’ shrewd son Soames, with  Millie Gibson (Doctor Who) featuring as his love interest. Tom Durant Pritchard (This Is Going To Hurt) plays Monty Dartie, James’ son-in-law.

Rounding out the cast is Susan Hampshire, who is returning to The Forsyte Saga having starred in the original BBC series. She won the first of her three Emmy Awards for playing Fleur Forsyte and returns to Galsworthy’s world as Lady Carteret.

Filming begins next month in England, Wales, and Italy with a PBS Masterpiece broadcast projected to be some time in 2025.

In: Drama