The Norman Conquests

Watch The Norman Conquests

  • 1978
  • 1 Season
  • 8.6  (113)

The Norman Conquests is a classic British comedy play that was adapted into a television miniseries in 1977, now available from Acorn Media. Written by Alan Ayckbourn, the play is set in a charming country house in Sussex and revolves around the hilarious exploits of a love triangle between Norman, his wife Ruth, and her sister Annie against the backdrop of a typically English weekend.

Norman is a charming and charismatic man who is married to Ruth, a humorless woman who is more enamored with her career than her husband. When the couple heads out of town for the weekend, Norman sets his sights on seducing Ruth's sister, Annie, who is staying behind to take care of their invalid mother.

The plot is divided into three separate acts, each titled after a different area of the house. Each act covers the same weekend from a different part of the house, but from a different character's perspective. The three different storylines involving various permutations of the three main characters intertwine in a web of misunderstandings, miscommunications, and mistaken identities, all of which lead to plenty of laughs.

The play's genius lies in its structure, which allows the audience to see the same set of events from three different vantage points, giving a unique perspective on the characters and their motivations. This clever narrative structure keeps the play fresh and engaging from start to finish, and elevates it beyond the typical romantic comedy.

The acting in The Norman Conquests is top-notch, with a talented cast that includes Tom Conti, Penelope Keith, and Richard Briers. Each actor imbues their character with a distinct personality and mannerisms that make them all memorable and lovable in their own ways. The comedic timing is also pitch-perfect, with each actor delivering their lines with a perfect blend of wit and physical comedy that keeps the laughs coming.

Along with the top-notch acting, the production values of the miniseries are also impressive. The country house setting is beautifully recreated and the costumes are period-appropriate, which adds to the authenticity of the comedic romp. The direction of the miniseries is also deft, with the camera work capturing the facial expressions and physical comedy of the actors in a way that enhances the humor.

Overall, The Norman Conquests from Acorn Media is a must-watch for fans of British comedy and romantic farces. It has all the hallmarks of classic British humor, including witty dialogue, physical comedy, and a charming setting. The structure of the play ensures that it remains engaging throughout, while the talented cast and high production values make it a memorable viewing experience.

The Norman Conquests
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Living Together
3. Living Together
June 28, 1978
Saturday evening Annie apologizes to Norman for not going away with him. He consoles himself by hitting the bottle. As Norman passes out on the family room floor, Reg talks the others into playing a board game, with disastrous results. Hostilities break out again the next day, yet Norman finds that amorous opportunities still abound.
Round and Round the Garden
2. Round and Round the Garden
June 21, 1978
Norman shows up unexpectedly at the house Saturday evening. He runs into Tom in the garden, has a strange encounter with Sarah, and gets drunk after talking with Annie. Ruth arrives on Sunday and proceeds to confuse Tom entirely about her intentions. For once, Tom decides to overcome his shyness towards the opposite sex and take action. As the two married couples leave the next morning, a car accident causes more commotion. Finally, Norman must face the women in his life.
Table Manners
1. Table Manners
June 14, 1978
Sarah forces Annie to abandon her plans to run off for the weekend with Norman--proposing Tom instead. Then Sarah gets into a blazing row with Reg. Norman arrives for breakfast the next morning and is joined by Ruth. Tom and Norman have a confrontation during dinner, and the wounded Norman finds consolation in an unlikely place. Monday morning finds Sarah and Norman sharing tea and toast--and a fanciful proposition. Later, Annie struggles to connect with Tom.
  • Premiere Date
    June 14, 1978
  • IMDB Rating
    8.6  (113)