The daughter of a country doctor copes with an unwanted stepmother, an impetuous stepsister, burdensome secrets, the town gossips, and the tug on her own heartstrings for a man who thinks of her only as a friend.
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8 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Series cast summary:
 Mr. Gibson 4 episodes, 1999
 Miss Phoebe 4 episodes, 1999
 Miss Browning 4 episodes, 1999
Emily McKenzie ...
 Maria / ... 4 episodes, 1999
 Mr. Preston 4 episodes, 1999
 Osborne Hamley 4 episodes, 1999
 Roger Hamley 4 episodes, 1999
 Squire Hamley 4 episodes, 1999
Tonia Chauvet ...
 Mrs. Goodenough 3 episodes, 1999
 Lady Cumnor 3 episodes, 1999
 Robinson 3 episodes, 1999
 Lady Harriet 3 episodes, 1999
Shaughan Seymour ...
 Lord Hollingford 3 episodes, 1999
 Sheepshanks / ... 3 episodes, 1999
 Mr. Coxe 2 episodes, 1999
 Lizzie Goodenough 2 episodes, 1999
 Miss Hornblower 2 episodes, 1999
Jacqueline Pilton ...
 Mrs. Dawes 2 episodes, 1999
 Mr. Henderson 2 episodes, 1999
Roddy Maude-Roxby ...
 St. Hilaire 2 episodes, 1999
Dariel Pertwee ...
 Lady Cuxhaven 2 episodes, 1999
Ben Illis ...
 Mr. Wynne 2 episodes, 1999
Gordon Gostelow ...
 Williams 2 episodes, 1999
 Mrs. Hamley 2 episodes, 1999


For many years, young Molly Gibson had lived a blissful sheltered life with her widower father. However, her world is shaken with the introduction of new acquaintances and situations. Molly becomes friends with a landed gentry family, which includes two brothers with very different temperaments. Meanwhile, her father marries a widow with a daughter close in age to Molly. Eventually, Molly becomes a trusted confidante for her new friends and family; but the secrets become burdensome, as the gossip begins to circulate about Molly herself. Written by L. Hamre

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Release Date:

15 December 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Esposas e hijas  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(4 parts)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The tan striped gown with teal scallop trim at the hem worn by a guest at the Easter Ball is the same costume worn by Greta Scacchi (Mrs. Weston) in the final scene of Emma (1996), and by Emma Pierson (Fanny Dorrit) to visit Mrs. Merdles in Little Dorrit (2008). See more »


[to Mr. Preston]
Cynthia Kirkpatrick: I didn't sell myself. I liked you then, but oh, do I hate you now!
See more »


Featured in The Best of Masterpiece Theatre (2007) See more »


Hole in the Wall
(Hornpipe from "Abdelazer")
Written by Henry Purcell
See more »

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User Reviews

A Rare Gem
12 September 2001 | by (Harrisburg, PA) – See all my reviews

After some deliberation, I have decided that this miniseries is one of my favorite movies of all time. Why? Because I can make no complaints whatsoever about this film. First, the screenplay, written by the wonderfully talented Andrew Davies of "Pride and Prejudice" (my favorite film of all time) and "Middlemarch" fame (the latter is on my list of must-sees). "Wives and Daughters" is based on the novel of the same name written by Elizabeth Gaskell. It tells the story of young Molly Gibson (Waddell), who lost her mother at a young age, but is raised by her loving father, the town doctor. When Mr. Gibson remarries, Molly's world is turned upside down. Now she has to contend with her daft and, at times, conniving stepmother, Hyacinth (Annis), and her worldly stepsister, Cynthia (Hawes). Despite their vast differences in temper, Molly and Cynthia become fast friends, but a secret from Cynthia's past stands to stain Molly's impeccable reputation. Meanwhile, Mr. Gibson's old friend, Squire Hamley, has two sons, studious Roger, and tortured Osbourne. Osbourne, the family favorite, has a few secrets of his own, but it is the younger Roger who not only proves himself the most responsible of the two, but also wins the heart of Molly and also a piece of Cynthia's as well. Will Molly finally have some happiness of her own? Well, after 3 1/2 hours, you'll find out.

Now, the actors. Superb! Justine Waddell (Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Great Expectations) is excellent and totally convincing as the strongwilled yet innocent Molly. Keeley Hawes (Cater Street Hangman, Our Mutual Friend) is wonderful as always. Bill Paterson (Mr. Gibson) is perfect as Molly's doting and protective father. And how can I forget Roger, played by Anthony Howell in his first television role? Wow, not only is he amazingly easy on the eyes, but he is a superb actor, who hails from various theatre troupes in England. The supporting actors and actresses are splendid, as well. As for the scenery and costumes, perfection. Nothing more to add on that account. One of the most memorable scenes to look out for is when Molly catches Roger's eye at a party given in his honor. I don't want to get into a lot of detail, but let me say that fortunately I recorded W&Ds, and I rewound that scene and also the last half hour at least 10 times. The ending is perfect! Definitely no disappointments. Please see "Wives and Daughters" if you already haven't. Even if you don't like period dramas, make an exception in this case!

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