Watch The Forsyte Saga

The Forsyte Saga is the story of the Forsyte family over several years. They are an upper-middle class family that is just a few generations removed from their farmer ancestors. The two main characters, Soames Forsyte and Jolyon Forsyte Jr., are first cousins. Soames sees himself as a man of property, though it does not bring him happiness. This strait-laced solicitor only has two weaknesses, his wife Irene and his daughter Fleur. Jolyon is an artist who abandons his wife and mother of his children for his children's nanny. The lives of the family intersect over 30 years.

Granada Television, the only original ITV contractor still broadcasting, produced the miniseries with the help of PBS station WGBH. The show's executive producer was Andy Harries, who worked on such shows as DCI Banks and Wallander. Granada has produced such shows as the popular Brideshead Revisited. It has helped the careers of people such as Russell T. Davies and Sacha Baron Cohen.

The story was adapted from the John Galsworthy serial novel of the same name. Galsworthy, who was a member of the Order of Merit, won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1932 for The Forsyte Saga. He based the story on his own family, who was new money like the fictional Forsyte family. At one time, he turned down a knighthood. His work The Skin Game was adapted to the big screen by Alfred Hitchcock.

Damien Lewis stars as Soames Forsyte. He currently stars in Homeland. He studied at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Daniel Craig and Joseph Fiennes. Rupert Graves played Jolyon Forsyte Jr. The British born actor has also appeared in Doctor Who, Sherlock and MI:5. Irene Forsyte was played by Gina McKee. She has been in The Borgias and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

Acorn Media
2 Seasons, 13 Episodes
October 6, 2002
Drama
8.6/10
Cast: Eric Porter, Margaret Tyzack, Nyree Dawn Porter, Kenneth More
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The Forsyte Saga Full Episode Guide

  • Period drama series based on John Galsworthy's novels. Fleur tells Soames she is in love with Jon. Irene opposes the marriage but says it rests with Jon.

  • Fleur begs her father to go to Robin Hill and intercede on her behalf. Once in Irene's company, Soames becomes overcome with feelings about the past. Defending his mother, Jon turns against Soames and shuns Fleur. Heartsick and blaming her father, Fleur shuts herself away until her mother returns home and counsels her to be more practical about marriage.

  • Determined to be with Fleur, and furious at his parents' objections, Jon moves into a cottage near the farm. Fleur joins him for a few idyllic days, and they vow to elope to Scotland. The plan goes smoothly until Jolyon's illness and a chance encounter with Soames forces the families' ugly secret out into the open. Mont presses his suit with Fleur, but she remains steadfastly attached to Jon. As he grieves, Jon begins to feel torn between Fleur and his mother.

  • Soames tries for one last chance with Irene, only for her to spurn him and marry Young Jolyon.

  • Winifred starts painful divorce proceedings. Soames decides to force Irene to return to him

  • Though Soames tries desperately to keep her, Irene recoils from his entreaties. Enraged, he challenges Bosinney over the bill for the now-completed house and instigates legal action that taints the architect's reputation. Irene and Bosinney defy Soames and continue to meet secretly. June returns from a therapeutic holiday abroad and is horrified at news of the lawsuit, knowing it will just deepen the lovers' bond. Old Jolyon is disgusted by Soames' vindictiveness and withdraws his business from the family firm. After a night when Soames turns violent, Irene and Bosinney determine to run off together.

  • Soames enlists Bosinney to design a grand country retreat that he hopes will salvage his marriage. But the project makes Irene more desperate than ever to break away and provides new opportunities for Irene and Bosinney to cross paths. Tempered by advancing age, Old Jolyon reconciles with his son's new family. Winifred's marriage has soured owing to Dartie's profligate ways. Soames' dream house, Robin Hill, materializes nicely, but his marriage deteriorates further. Bosinney and Irene find it harder and harder to hide their feelings for each other. After a scene at a Forsyte ball, Soames confronts Irene with his suspicions.

  • At a Forsyte family gathering, Winifred announces her engagement to Montague Dartie. Young Jolyon, distracted by the illness of his daughter, June, reveals his feelings for the child's governess, forcing a showdown with his wife. Deciding to follow his heart, Young Jolyon is disowned by his father. Four years later, Soames Forsyte's search for a suitable wife leads him to Irene, a beautiful young woman dependent on her avaricious stepmother. Though she makes no secret of her lack of feelings for Soames, Irene agrees in desperation to marry him. June, now grown into a spirited beauty, introduces young architect Phil Bosinney to the family as her husband-to-be. In church soon after, Bosinney and Irene have eyes only for each other.

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