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Forget War and Peace – 1970s costume drama The Pallisers is the thing to watch

Its fake backdrops may be creaky and its pacing slow by today’s standards, but The Pallisers, the 1974 BBC Trollope adaptation now on daytime TV, wins you over with its nuance and emotional intelligence

Quality period costume drama is back on the BBC. Not just in War and Peace, but now the return of what I would argue is the best of them all: the 1974 series The Pallisers, which has just started at lunchtimes on BBC2. (It’s not available on iPlayer, but if you want to catch up with the first couple of episodes, you can find them on YouTube.)

It is a dramatisation of six novels by Anthony Trollope, telling the story of Plantagenet Palliser, a rather austere and scrupulously honest Liberal politician, his vivacious wife, Lady Glencora, and their relatives and associates. It isn’t as dry as it sounds, involving a jewel theft, a murder, tortuous

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