In this, the 200th anniversary year of the first publication of Pride And Prejudice, PD James' remarkably inventive homage to Austen brings her much-loved world to life in a dazzling and original way with Austen’s best-known characters, Elizabeth (Maxwell Martin), Darcy (Rhys) and Wickham (Goode) at its heart.
Death Comes To Pemberley has been adapted by Juliette Towhidi (Calendar Girls) from PD James' internationally bestselling novel, this gripping and suspenseful 3x60-minute serial was made for the channel by Origin Pictures and directed by BAFTA-winning director Daniel Percival (Dirty War, Place Of Execution).
The first episode is set on the eve of the Darcy’s annual Lady Anne ball at their magnificent Pemberley home. It’s been six years since Elizabeth and Darcy married and they now have a young son, Fitzwilliam, 3. They are happier than ever and Elizabeth’s caring nature sees her suited to her role as lady of the house.
Elizabeth finds the time to visit the Bidwell family before the guests arrive. Mr Bidwell is head coachman at Pemberley and the rest of his family work for the Darcys too but his son Will is dying and Elizabeth goes to visit him, reaching out to the family in their time of suffering.
The first of their guests arrive the evening before the ball, including Mrs Bennet who is complaining about the journey to the long-suffering Mr Bennet. Georgiana Darcy has two suitors vying for her affections: her emotionally distant cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam who, stepping up to the duties of heir, has marriage in mind; and Alveston, a dynamic young lawyer who clearly has Georgiana’s heart.
The party are relaxing after supper when the festivities are brought to an abrupt halt. A scream calls them to the window and a hysterical Lydia Bennet tumbles out of a carriage screaming murder. What follows is the sombre discovery of a dead man in Pemberley woods, with George Wickham - Lydia’s husband and Darcy’s brother in law - found at the scene covered in the dead man’s blood. So begins a nightmare and mounting scandal which will threaten to engulf Pemberley and all that the Darcys hold dear…
The drama was supported with investment from Screen Yorkshire through the European Regional Development Fund. The executive producer for Origin Pictures is Ed Rubin, the producers for Origin Pictures are David Thompson and Eliza Mellor. The executive producer for the BBC is Polly Hill and the executive producer for Screen Yorkshire is Hugo Heppell. The drama was commissioned by Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, Ben Stephenson, and former Controller of BBC One, now Director of Television, Danny Cohen.