After barely surviving trench warfare, a Welsh miner's son with a working class education becomes an unlikely teacher at an elite English boarding school. This captivating Masterpiece Theatre classic, based on R.F. Delderfield's beloved novel, chronicles our hero's evolution, from cynic to idealist, during two tumultuous decades between the World Wars. Romantic, suspenseful, inspiring, and sentimental (but never sappy), it's a charming portrait of bygone English life. CC; 11 hours on 4 DVDs.
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Though he once had dreams of a life in academia, injured soldier David Powlett-Jones arrives at Bamfylde a broken man haunted by the horrors of the front. Long, solitary walks and encouragement from Headmaster Herries helps him regain strength and face the scrutiny of the other masters.
On a holiday in Wales, David meets Beth, a vivacious young nurse from Swansea who literally sets her cap for him. After months of corresponding, David invites Beth to visit Bamfylde for the Founders' Day festivities.
David faces his wedding day with Howarth's gruff encouragement. Beth settles happily into life at Bamfylde, but David becomes agitated over a confrontation with Carter and a wealthy board member.
The twins arrive, and David gets an opportunity to shine as a substitute housemaster. Beautiful Julia Darbyshire takes a teaching post at Bamfylde, but she finds the atmosphere stifling and the isolation unbearable.
David takes over Havelock for good and makes a curious choice for house captain. Everything goes well until Winterbourne, a Havelock boy, goes missing.
Stumbling about the moors, David finds a reason to return to Bamfylde and carry on. Five years later, sustained by his teaching and friendships with Herries and Howarth, he resumes his writing.
When Herries announces his retirement, Carter and David square off in the competition for the new headmaster. Julia's gentle persuasion helps David overcome his reticence to love again, but she declares she'll never return to Bamfylde.
As Alcock takes charge and Herries bows out, the contrast between the two men is stark. The new head proves to be interested in economy and sanitation above all else.
Outraged by Alcock's campaign to interrogate boys he suspect of "unhealthy friendships," David lashes out and Carter moves on. David becomes fascinated with Christine, a feisty upper-class socialist and politician who despises Bamfylde.
Alcock arranges a formal board hearing to air his grievances against David. Despite the risk, David continues to take time away to support Christine. At the hearing, Alcock issues an ultimatum.
The masters bid farewell to Alcock in their own unique ways. David becomes the heir apparent, but Herries cautions David that the job won't be handed to him.
To David's delight and amazement, Christine shows up at Bamfylde to enroll a new student. A trip home to Wales for a family death stirs David's emotions about his divided loyalties. The German threat looms over everything.
David revels in his new life as headmaster and husband, but Christine struggles to find her place at Bamfylde. Howarth makes a telling final request, and a letter reveals the imminent loss of another dear friend.
- Biography of R.F. Delderfield
- Background information
- Lyrics to Bamfylde school song
- Photo gallery
- Cast filmographies
Packaging: Boxed set
Run Time: 663 minutes
Format: Full screen
Number of discs: 4
Color or B&W: Color
Region Code: 1
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
"Absolutely enthralling"--The New York Times
"I highly recommend this feature for purchase. I hope you'll get as enticed in the story of David Powlett-Jones as I have."--DVD Talk
BAFTA TV Award Nomination for Best Drama Series/Serial (1981)
BAFTA TV Award Nomination for Best Television Cameraman (1981)
Emmy Award Nomination for Outstanding Limited Series (1983)