Vanity Fair TV Series Overview (2018)


Vanity Fair is a 2018 historical drama miniseries based on the 1848 novel of the same name by William Makepeace Thackeray.

It was produced by Mammoth Screen and distributed by ITV and Amazon Studios.


Based on the novel of the same name, “Vanity Fair” follows poverty-stricken Becky Sharp as she attempts to claw her way out of the dregs of society and to scale the heights of English society in the years following the defeat of Napoleon. Set against the Napoleonic Wars, Sharp strives to rise above her station with little regard for the consequences. In her efforts to advance herself, her manipulation, merriment, forbidden romances, fighting, and dancing catapults her into the court of King George IV while breaking hearts and losing fortunes along the way.


  • Main:
    • Olivia Cooke as Becky Sharp, the daughter of a French opera singer and an artist father. Sharp is a cynical social climber who uses her charms to fascinate and seduce upper-class men.
    • Claudia Jessie as Amelia Sedley, a good-natured naïve young girl, of a wealthy London family who is Becky’s friend from Miss Pinkerton’s academy and invites Becky to stay in her London home following their graduation from the academy.
    • Tom Bateman as Rawdon Crawley, an empty-headed cavalry officer, younger of the two Crawley sons and favourite of their Aunt Matilda, until he marries Becky Sharp, a woman of a far lower class.
    • Johnny Flynn as William Dobbin, colonel of the City Light Horse regiment and the best friend of George Osborne, who feels unrequited love for Amelia.
    • Charlie Rowe as George Osborne, son of merchant John Osborne and childhood sweetheart, later husband, of Amelia, who defies his father to marry his love.
    • Simon Russell Beale as Mr. John Sedley, Amelia and Jos’s father and Louisa’s husband who goes bankrupt.
    • Anthony Head as Lord Steyne, a rich and powerful marquis who is attracted to Becky.
    • Martin Clunes as Sir Pitt Crawley, a crude and profligate baronet who hired Becky as governess to his daughters before seeking to marry her, and then discovering she has become secretly engaged to his second son, Rawdon.
    • Frances de la Tour as Lady Matilda Crawley, the wealthy aunt of the Crawley sons.
    • Mathew Baynton as Bute Crawley, Rawdon’s Christian brother.
    • Sian Clifford as Martha Crawley, Bute’s spouse.
    • Robert Pugh as Mr. John Osborne, George’s father who forbids him from marrying Amelia.
    • Suranne Jones as Miss Pinkerton, snobbish and cold-hearted headmistress of the academy which Amelia and Becky used to attend.
    • David Fynn as Jos Sedley, Collector in India and Amelia’s brother who has an initial attraction to Becky.
    • Felicity Montagu as Arabella Briggs, servant to Lady Matilda, and later Becky.
    • Claire Skinner as Mrs. Louisa Sedley, Amelia and Joss’s mother and John’s wife.
    • Michael Palin as William Makepeace Thackeray, the author of Vanity Fair and narrator of the series.
  • Recurring
    • Mike Grady as Horrocks.
    • Lauren Crace as Betsy Horrocks.
    • Ellie Kendrick as Jane Osborne.
    • Elizabeth Berrington as Lady Bareacres.
    • Sally Phillips as Lady Steyne.
    • Richard Dixon as General Tuffo.
    • Peter Wight as Mr Raggles.
    • Patrick FitzSymons as Major Michael O’Dowd.
    • Monica Dolan as Mrs. Peggy O’Dowd.
    • Niamh Durkin as Rose Crawley.
    • Rafferty Railton as Rawdy Crawley.
    • Richie Campbell as Sam.


A cottage on Chevening House Estate, Sevenoaks in Kent featured as Rawdon Crawley’s cottage. Squerryes Court, Sevenoaks, was used for the interiors of Miss Pinkerton’s school. A scene on the promenade, featuring soldiers and horses, was shot outside the Royal Hotel in Deal, Kent. Further filming took place at Chatham Historic Dockyard, where various London street scenes were shot outside the Ropery, an embarkation to France was shot on Anchor Wharf, and the interior of the Commissioner’s House was also used.



The series was met with a positive response from critics for its sets and Olivia Cooke’s performance.


  • It was originally intended for Sir Michael Palin (William Makepeace Thackeray) to appear in just one episode, but it was quickly decided to feature him in all seven episodes and he completed shooting all his scenes in just one day.
    • Palin had previously chosen Vanity Fair as his favourite book, when he appeared on Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs.
  • Sir Michael Palin and Simon Beale Russell also worked with together in The Death of Stalin (2017).

Vanity Fair Series

You can find a full index and overview of the Vanity Fair franchise here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • James Strong … (6 episodes, 2018).
    • Jonathan Entwistle … (1 episode, 2018).
  • Producer(s):
    • Veronica Castillo … production executive (7 episodes, 2018).
    • Gwyneth Hughes … executive producer (7 episodes, 2018).
    • Paula McBreen … line producer (7 episodes, 2018).
    • Tom Mullens … executive producer (7 episodes, 2018).
    • Julia Stannard … producer (7 episodes, 2018).
    • James Strong … executive producer (7 episodes, 2018).
    • Damien Timmer … executive producer (7 episodes, 2018).
  • Writer(s):
    • Gwyneth Hughes … (creator and written by) (7 episodes, 2018).
    • William Makepeace Thackeray … (novel) (7 episodes, 2018).
  • Music:
    • Isobel Waller-Bridge … (7 episodes, 2018).
  • Cinematography:
    • Ed Rutherford … (7 episodes, 2018).
  • Editor(s):
    • Jamie Pearson … (4 episodes, 2018).
    • Steven Worsley … (3 episodes, 2018).
    • Danielle Palmer … (2 episodes, 2018).
  • Production:
    • Mammoth Screen.
    • Independent Television (ITV) (for).
  • Distributor(s):
    • ITV – Independent Television (2018) (UK) (TV) (ITV1).
    • Amazon Studios (2018) (USA) (all media).
    • ITV Hub (2018) (UK) (video) (VOD).
    • KRO-NCRV (2018) (Netherlands) (TV).
    • Yleisradio (YLE) (2018) (Finland) (TV).
  • Release Date: 02 September 2018 to 07 October 2018.
  • Running Time: 45-47 minutes (per episode).
  • Rating: 12.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

Video Link(s)

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