Screen Two (1985–2002)
52 user 1 critic

Northanger Abbey 

Catherine Morland is a young woman who enjoys reading Gothic Novels. She is invited to Bath by a family friend, Mrs. Allen, and there she meets Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor. Upon ... See full summary »


Giles Foster


Jane Austen (novel), Maggie Wadey

On Disc

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Katharine Schlesinger ... Catherine Morland
Peter Firth ... Henry Tilney
Robert Hardy ... General Tilney
Googie Withers ... Mrs. Allen
Geoffrey Chater ... Mr. Allen
Cassie Stuart ... Isabella Thorpe
Jonathan Coy ... John Thorpe
Ingrid Lacey ... Eleanor Tilney
Greg Hicks ... Frederick Tilney
Philip Bird Philip Bird ... James Morland
Elvi Hale Elvi Hale ... Mrs. Thorpe
Helen Fraser Helen Fraser ... Mrs. Morland
David Rolfe David Rolfe ... Mr. Morland
Elaine Ives-Cameron Elaine Ives-Cameron ... Marchioness
Angela Curran Angela Curran ... Alice


Catherine Morland is a young woman who enjoys reading Gothic Novels. She is invited to Bath by a family friend, Mrs. Allen, and there she meets Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor. Upon returning to her home with her family, Eleanor invites Catherine to come along as her guest and companion. There Catherine's imagination continues to flourish and she begins to suspect a dark secret at Northanger Abbey. Written by Cara-chan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Official Sites:

PBS [United States]





Release Date:

6 December 1987 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Herbert Kretzmer in the Daily Mail said the 24-year-old Schlesinger "plays the girl with a pleasing, persuasive simplicity, eyes rounded and mouth slightly agape. . . ." See more »


Referenced in Comedy Connections: Drop the Dead Donkey (2006) See more »


Nel cor piu non mi sento (from La Molinara)
Composed by Giovanni Paisiello
Performed by Peter Firth
{Henry Tilney sings]
See more »

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User Reviews

Well done, elaborate, intriguing adaptation
19 April 2001 | by Psyche-8See all my reviews

When Jane Austen wrote 'Northanger Abbey' she intended to poke fun at the trashy Gothic literature of her day, aimed at silly, young, impressionable females. The story was meant to gradually draw the character of Catherine Morland out of the fantasy world she had built for herself, and into reality. The typical language, characters and themes of a Gothic romance were sent up the whole way through and were shown to be the epitomy of bad writing.

However, this adaptation seemed to embrace and flatter what it was that Jane Austen was attempting to satirise. It retained a gothic feel throughout and seemed to 'put back' what it was that Jane Austen was trying to 'take out'. Northanger Abbey became the mysterious castle, Henry Tilney became the intriguing Gothic hero, and the 'secret' which Catherine believed existed at the Abbey turned out to be real. One cannot help thinking that the makers of this adaptation hadn't read the book very closely as they seemed to have missed the point.

Unfortunately with an adaptation of this type, when Jane Austen was writing she was assuming that her readers would be familiar with the Gothic genre. Filmmakers today would need to explain to the audience what the Gothic genre was all about, explaining why this adaptation contains so many fantastical elements that Jane Austen was attempting to escape from.

All of this aside, it works quite well. The adaptation keeps to the storyline pretty much, and retains much of Jane Austen's witty dialogue. The music helps contribute to the eerie atmosphere very well. One cannot help but wonder at the beauty of this version. Perfectly cast and impeccably acted.

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