Saturday, July 14, 2012



John Galsworthy

Eric Porter

'The Forsyte Saga'

Recastaway (Original)

Earth Prime-Time

From Wikipedia:
"The Forsyte Saga" is a series of three novels and two interludes (intervening episodes) published between 1906 and 1921 by John Galsworthy. They chronicle the vicissitudes of the leading members of an upper-middle-class British family, similar to Galsworthy's own. Only a few generations removed from their farmer ancestors, the family members are keenly aware of their status as "new money". The main character, Soames Forsyte, sees himself as a "man of property" by virtue of his ability to accumulate material possessions—but this does not succeed in bringing him pleasure.

Separate sections of the saga, as well as the lengthy story in its entirety, have been adapted for cinema and television. The BBC produced a popular 26-part serial in 1967, that also dramatised a subsequent trilogy concerning the Forsytes, 'A Modern Comedy'. The 1967 version inspired the popular 'Masterpiece Theatre' television program.

[The] television adaptation by the BBC of 'The Forsyte Saga', and its sequel trilogy 'A Modern Comedy', starred Eric Porter as Soames, Kenneth More as Young Jolyon and Nyree Dawn Porter as Irene. It was adapted for television and produced by Donald Wilson and was originally shown in twenty-six episodes on Saturday evenings between 7 January and 1 July 1967 on BBC2. It was the repeat on Sunday evenings on BBC1 starting on 8 September 1968 that secured the programme's success, with 18 million tuning in for the final episode in 1969. It was shown in the United States on public television and broadcast all over the world, and became the first British television programme to be sold to the Soviet Union.

The series was adapted from the three novels and two interludes of John Galsworthy's "Forsyte Saga": "The Man of Property" (1906), "Indian Summer of a Forsyte" (1918), "In Chancery" (1920), "Awakening" (1920) and "To Let" (1921); and Galsworthy's later trilogy "A Modern Comedy".

Soames, James and Emily's son, [is] an intense, unimaginative and possessive solicitor, married to the unhappy Irene, who later marries Young Jolyon.

In this first novel of the "Forsyte Saga", after introducing us to the impressive array of Forsytes headed by the formidable Aunt Ann, Galsworthy moves into the main action of the saga by detailing Soames Forsyte's desire to own things, including his beautiful wife, Irene Forsyte (née Heron). He is jealous of her friendships and wants her to be his alone. He concocts a plan to move her to the country, to Robin Hill and a house he had built, away from everyone she knows and cares about. She resists his grasping intentions and falls in love with the architect Philip Bosinney who has been engaged by Soames to build the house. However, Bosinney is the fiancé of her friend June Forsyte, the daughter of Soames's cousin Jolyon. There is no happy ending: Irene leaves Soames after he rapes her, and Bosinney dies under the wheels of a cab after being driven frantic by the news of Irene's rape by Soames.


The marital discord of both Soames and his sister Winifred is the subject of the second novel, the title being a reference to the Court of Chancery, which deals with domestic issues. They take steps to divorce their spouses, Irene, and Montague Dartie respectively. However, while Soames tells his sister to brave the consequences of going to court, he is not willing to go through a divorce himself. Instead he stalks and hounds Irene, following her abroad, and asking her to have his child, which is his father's wish. Ultimately, Soames remarries, wedding Annette, the young daughter of a French Soho restaurant owner. With his new wife, he has his only child, Fleur Forsyte.


This novel concludes the "Forsyte Saga". The title derives from Soames' reflections as he breaks up the house in which his Uncle Timothy, recently deceased in 1920 at age 101 and the last of the older generation of Forsytes, had lived a recluse, hoarding his life like property.

In Toobworld, Eric Porter may be better known today for having played Professor Moriarty opposite Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes. As both characters were transfers from BookWorld to Toobworld, with Porter playing them both in Earth Prime-Time, I feel confident in calling on the "Identical Cousins" rule for them. (Moriarty would be the elder by at least a decade, perhaps even two.)

"The Forsyte Saga" was remade again in the early part of the 21st Century, with Damian Lewis playing Soames Forsyte. Even though it was in color and had higher quality production values, it still will be placed in an alternate TV dimension, most likely that of the remakes.


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