A friend in need is a friend indeed, and Louis Trevelyan couldn't
have a truer one than Hugh Stanbury, who puts his own troubles aside
to help out when Louis and Emily's marriage hits the rocks.
He behaves selflessly, but Stephen Campbell Moore, who plays Hugh,
admits that his own advice to Louis wouldn't be quite so encouraging.
"I'd say get rid of her and move on. Don't beat yourself up about
it - and please don't go mad in the process!" he laughs.
It's a good job then that it's Hugh, not Campbell Moore, who's giving
the advice to Louis.
"I probably wouldn't be the best person to give advice in that situation,"
he grins. "That's what's nice about playing someone who is capable of
In fact Hugh seems like a pretty capable chap all round, managing to
earn a living for himself as a penny journalist after being disowned
by the rich aunt who brought him up.
"His Aunt Stanbury paid for his education; but instead of becoming
something respectable, he became a journalist for one of the new, liberal
kind of newspapers," says Campbell Moore.
"She finds that completely disrespectful to her and a bit like an anarchist
plot, so she disowns him.
"So that's his situation. Louis is his long-standing friend from
school and university and he gives him lots of good advice - which Louis
ignores on a daily basis!"
There's an added twist to the plot when Hugh falls in love with Louis's
sister-in-law, Nora, though it's hard for him to court her with no prospects
of his own.
But when Emily and Nora are sent away by Louis, Hugh comes to their
rescue by offering to put them up with his mother in the countryside.
"That's obviously very kind and charitable and advantageous to everybody
- except for the fact that it affects the purity of the relationship
which was developing between him and Nora, and now she feels that she's
in his charity instead of on some equal footing," says Campbell Moore.
"That corrupts their relationship slightly and makes it interesting."
He points out that in Trollope's writing, nothing is quite what it
first seems to be.
"Whoever is being righteous tends in some degree to be hypocritical,"
he says. "In Hugh's case his generous offer has an underlying motive.
"Hugh adores Nora. By being a part of the family and dealing with their
problems he's also serving himself, however unconsciously. That's what
I found most interesting - even though he's meant to be a slightly heroic
figure, he's actually just as human, fallible and self-deceiving as
Campbell Moore had no option but to suffer for his art, as filming
took place during last year's long hot summer.
"I went to the costume fitting and they brought out all these woollen
garments and I said, 'It's going to be hot. It's already hot now.' But
they said, 'Oh, don't worry, this is right for the period.'
"I kept saying, 'I'm sure that people in those days had cooler
clothes than this for the summer!' But it was no go. I had to grin and
Campbell Moore's break came with Stephen Fry's Bright Young Things,
in which he played Adam, one of the lead characters, to considerable
Prior to that he worked solely in the theatre, mainly with the RSC.
Luckily he'd had plenty of experience of Shakespeare at school.
"I went to a public school and they did a lot of Shakespeare because
everything else with a rude word in it was considered too dirty, although
frankly I'd challenge anyone to find anything more bawdy than the Bard!"