The Cazalets TV Series Overview (2001)


The Cazalets is a 2001 six-episode television drama series (5 episodes when broadcast in the US) about the life of a large privileged family in the years 1937 to 1947.

Most of the action takes place in London, and at the family’s large estate in Sussex.


In the shadows of WWII, one family is blessed with privilege, prestige and unspeakable secrets.

It is 1937 and the storm clouds of World War II gather across Europe. Tensions also simmer beneath the seemingly charmed lives of the Cazalet family. While this grand family saga commences during an idyllic summer at the Cazalet’s Sussex country estate, the years that follow will see birth, death, marriage, adultery, dementia, intrigue, and war play significant roles.

Acclaimed for its richly detailed production, talented cast and brilliant character depictions, this vivid and poignant family portrait revolves around the wives, lovers, and children of the four Cazalet siblings: hard-working Hugh, womanising Edward, spinster Rachel, and the artistic Rupert.

Soon after Hitler enters Poland and England enters the war, the lives of three generations intertwine as devastating secrets explode like a blitzkrieg. Hardships invade with brutal reality, and slowly, the Cazalet’s decorum can no longer mask their problems. As both the country and family are splintered by war, the Cazalets must prove they have the strength to endure.

Based on Elizabeth Jane Howard’s captivating family epic, The Cazalets stars Tony Award®-winner Stephen Dillane (The Real Thing), Hugh Bonneville (Madame Bovary), Paul Rhys (From Hell) and Emma Griffiths Malin (Mary Reilly).


  • Hugh Bonneville … Hugh Cazalet.
  • Stephen Dillane … Edward Cazalet.
  • Lesley Manville … Villy Cazalet.
  • Joanna Page … Zoe Cazalet.
  • Anna Chancellor … Diana Mackintosh.
  • Penny Downie … Sid.
  • Anastasia Hille … Sybil Cazalet.
  • John McArdle … Tonbridge.
  • Ursula Howells … Kitty Cazalet.
  • Patsy Rowlands … Miss Millament.
  • Frederick Treves … William Cazalet.
  • Catherine Russell … Rachel Cazalet.
  • Florence Hoath … Clary Cazalet.
  • Jacqueline Tong … Mrs. Cripps.
  • Emma Griffiths Malin … Louise Cazalet.
  • Claudia Renton … Polly Cazalet.
  • Ch’Lu … Maid.


The drama was based on the novels of Elizabeth Jane Howard, The Cazalet Chronicles, first published in the 1990s, and adapted by the screenwriter Douglas Livingstone and directed by Suri Krishnamma. The series was originally produced by Cinema Verity for BBC One and is available on DVD.

A BBC Radio 4 version in 45 episodes, in 5 series, was also produced later, broadcast between December 2012 and April 2014.


  • Viewers have commented on the fact that the newly-commissioned Rupert is seen boarding a train in the uniform of a high-ranking naval officer.
    • It was explained in the “Radio Times” that this was a genuine error; Paul Rhys had accidentally put on the coat intended for the character of Michael Hadleigh.

The Cazalets Series

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Suri Krishnamma.
  • Producer(s):
    • Joanna Lumley … co-producer (6 episodes, 2001).
    • Alison Barnett … line producer (3 episodes, 2001).
    • Rebecca Eaton … executive producer (3 episodes, 2001).
    • Pippa Harris … executive producer (3 episodes, 2001).
    • Verity Lambert … producer (3 episodes, 2001).
    • Jane Tranter … executive producer (3 episodes, 2001).
  • Writer(s):
    • Elizabeth Jane Howard (novel).
    • Douglas Livingstone (writer).
  • Music:
    • Julian Nott.
  • Cinematography:
    • Robin Vidgeon.
  • Editor(s):
    • Anthony Combes.
  • Production:
    • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
    • Cinema Verity.
    • WGBH.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Masterpiece Theatre (2001) (USA) (TV) (as Exxon-Mobil Masterpiece Theatre).
    • Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) (2001) (USA) (TV).
    • WGBH Boston Video (2001) (USA) (DVD).
    • WGBH Boston Video (2001) (USA) (VHS).
  • Release Date: 22 June 2001 to 27 July 2001.
  • Rating: 12.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

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