×

Masterpiece Theatre Body and Soul

Host: Russell Baker.

With:
Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Amanda Redman, Anthony Valentine, Sandra Voe, Joshua Smith, Ben Hinitt, Gareth Milne, John Bowe, Gary Mavers, Patrick Allen, Tracy Keating, Madeleine Christie, Pamela Duncan, Helena McCarthy, Olive Pendelton, Elizabeth Bennett, Rebecca Harris, Eileen Davies, John Lambert, Maggie Lane, Mary Wray, Caroline O'Neill, Vicky Denton, Joanna Swain, Olga Graham, Dorothy Tutin, Graham Rigby, Geoff Bryson, Patrick Allen II, John Carlisle, John Bowie, Bobby Knutt, Kate Wood, Frances Cox, Leigh Samuels, Kulvinder Ghir, Don Gallagher, Pinkey Devaz, Norika Aida, Renny Krupinski.

Host: Russell Baker.

Fair to middling adaptation of a novel by Marcelle Bernstein about a Catholic nun emerging from a Wales convent into the heady life of an English mill town plods along its expected route. First episode of this “Masterpiece Theatre” miniseries is good storytelling; the remainder is manufactured meller tilting to body, not soul.

Sister Gabriel (luminous Kristin Scott Thomas), aka Anna Gibson, gets temporary leave when her Yorkshire brother Simon, head of a textile mill, dies. His pregnant widow, Lynn (Amanda Redman), two young sons and the foundering mill need attending. Anna, blessed with a good business head, strong will and doubtful principles, takes on the mill’s manager, the stock villain Stan (Anthony Valentine).

With the help of Simon’s secretary, Peggy (Sandra Voe), and the mill’s good-looking overseer, Hal (Gary Mavers), Anna starts the mill on a new tack — which is where Anna’s story deteriorates. She wears nun’s robes, but she’s never seen going to Mass or saying her rosary; spiritual thoughts are unexplored (unused to mirrors, she gawks at herself fully nude in what’s supposed to represent awakening but plays like gratuitous exhibitionism).

She eyes handsome Hal. To pull off a business deal, she deceptively wears civvies so the bankers won’t know they’re dealing with a Catholic sister. Returning to her nun’s habit and to the convent, she no longer feels part of the cloistered world where a sweet young nun yearns for her and an older, wise woman hands her pithy recommendations.

There’s no sign of why she was originally drawn to the religious life, no sense of a pietistic bent or why she’s remained a bride of Christ for 16 years. Using Hal for an experimental affair — she tells him frankly that she wants him tobe the first — she faces her secular future.

Scripter Paul Hines (with a hand from Jill Hyem in the first episode) demonstrates purpose in the convent life.

Redman’s versatility and Voe’s heartiness are pluses, and Thomas, whose remarkable eyes speak for her, is resourceful. Mavers makes a good impression of the used mill man.

Peter Middleton’s photography is good, other tech credits are solid.

Popular on Variety

Masterpiece Theatre Body and Soul

(Sun. (13), 9-10:30 p.m.; Sun. (20), 9-10 p.m.; Sun. (27), 9-11 p.m., PBS)

Production: Filmed in England by Red Rooster Films and TV Entertainment Prods. for Carlton TV. Exec producers, Linda James, Jenny Reeks; producer, Jacky Stoller; director, Moira Armstrong; writers, Paul Hines, Jill Hyem; based on the novel by Marcelle Bernstein.

Crew: Camera, Peter Middleton; supervising editor, John MacDonnell; editor, Jeremy Strachan; art director, Julie Sheppard; sound, Nick Steer; music, Jim Parker. 270 min.

Cast: Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Amanda Redman, Anthony Valentine, Sandra Voe, Joshua Smith, Ben Hinitt, Gareth Milne, John Bowe, Gary Mavers, Patrick Allen, Tracy Keating, Madeleine Christie, Pamela Duncan, Helena McCarthy, Olive Pendelton, Elizabeth Bennett, Rebecca Harris, Eileen Davies, John Lambert, Maggie Lane, Mary Wray, Caroline O'Neill, Vicky Denton, Joanna Swain, Olga Graham, Dorothy Tutin, Graham Rigby, Geoff Bryson, Patrick Allen II, John Carlisle, John Bowie, Bobby Knutt, Kate Wood, Frances Cox, Leigh Samuels, Kulvinder Ghir, Don Gallagher, Pinkey Devaz, Norika Aida, Renny Krupinski.

More TV

  • Judith Light'Transparent' TV show Musical Finale,

    'Transparent' Team Talks 'Transformative Energy' of Trans Community

    As Amazon Prime Video prepares to send off “Transparent” with a musical finale movie on Sept. 27, the cast and creative team behind the show are hoping the impact of a character such as Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor) will not be overshadowed by the controversy that the actor who portrayed Maura caused. “I believe that [...]

  • Cherry Jones

    Cherry Jones Wins 2019 Guest Drama Actress Emmy

    Cherry Jones won the 2019 guest drama actress Emmy for her work as the titular character’s mother, Holly Osborne, in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” This was Jones’ second consecutive nomination for the role but first win. Interestingly, both noms were for her work in the second season of the dystopian streaming series. After a few [...]

  • Jane Lynch, Cyndi Lauper Developing 'Golden

    Jane Lynch, Cyndi Lauper Developing 'Golden Girls'-Style Comedy for Netflix

    Jane Lynch and Cyndi Lauper just wanna have fun. The comedian and the 1980s music icon have joined forces to star in a new comedy project that may be heading to Netflix. Lynch let it slip backstage at the Creative Arts Emmys that she and Lauper will co-star in a comedy that she described as [...]

  • Luke Kirby71st Annual Primetime Creative Arts

    Luke Kirby Wins 2019 Guest Comedy Actor Emmy

    Luke Kirby has been crowned the winner of the 2019 guest comedy actor Emmy for his role as the real-life comic Lenny Bruce on Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” This was Kirby’s first-ever Emmy attention. He was nominated against a slew of “Saturday Night Live” players (Robert De Niro, John Mulaney and Adam [...]

  • Bradley Whitford photographed at the PMC

    Bradley Whitford Wins 2019 Guest Drama Actor Emmy

    Bradley Whitford won the 2019 guest drama actor Emmy for his role of Commander Joseph Lawrence on Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Whitford joined the cast of the streaming dystopian series at the end of its second season, in episodes that were released after the close of the 2018 Emmy eligibility window. The Television Academy agreed [...]

  • TV Review: 'Transparent' Series Finale

    TV Review: 'Transparent' Series Finale

    Amazon’s “Transparent” will have a chapter, or a section of one, in some to-be-written history of television, in part thanks to how brazen and how daring its ideas were for its moment. Some of those were ideas that came to seem simply logical in retrospect: The show was a pathbreaker for trans representation onscreen, casting [...]

  • Jane Lynch NBC Relatively Happy

    Jane Lynch Wins 2019 Guest Comedy Actress Emmy

    Jane Lynch has been crowned the winner of the 2019 guest comedy actress Emmy for her role of comic Sophie Lennon on Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” This was Lynch’s second consecutive nomination for the role but first win. However, it is her fifth Emmy overall, after winning a short form statue in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content