Regency House Party
About the Show
In a country house restored to its Regency splendour, five aspiring Mr Darcys and five Miss Bennets attempt to live and find love by the rules of the great age of romance
Series 1 Summary
Over the course of two months 10 young people live in a country house that has been set up exactly as it would have been in 1805, complete with 12 footmen, 17 maids and 32 chamber pots...
The young gentlemen arrive first for the summer-long house party at Kentchurch Court, followed the next day by the young ladies and their chaperones.
Nestled deep in the rolling hills of the Herefordshire countryside, the Regency House has been stripped of any modern amenities and painstakingly restored to its Regency heyday. Within hours the gentlemen are behaving like true Regency bucks, talking scandalously, drinking excessively and gambling at every opportunity. But if life for the well-to-do men of the Georgian era was full of fun and freedom, it is a very different matter when the women air their feelings. In a bid to dispel this early disharmony the host, Mr Gorell Barnes, announces that he is to have a firework display.
The fireworks bring a moment of pure Regency magic and the flame of romance is ignited in two young hearts.
The chaperones are struggling to get their girls romantically entwined when the hostess announces that a wealthy beauty from the West Indies will be joining the party. The gloves are off as both the chaperones and the young ladies prepare to square up to the new competition! Meanwhile, the gentlemen have an illegal Regency assignation - 'the Fancy', otherwise known as the bare-knuckle boxing fraternity.
The routine of life at the beginning of the 19th century is starting to grate. Finding the summer of 1811 particularly hard is the Cinderella of the party, the Lady's Companion Miss Francesca Martin.
Until, that is, she hears gossip among the servants that she has an admirer among the male guests. It seems that Captain Robinson is quite taken. Miss Martin has had enough of bathing in other people's bath water and if she can get herself engaged, her circumstances would be greatly improved. Meanwhile, a hermit moves into the park and his good looks prove quite a lure for the ladies.
The men compete in a Regency athletics competition at which Captain Glover looks set to steal all hearts. For one man though, living the life of a Regency gentlemen proves too much of a burden...
The guests are mid-way through their stay, during the long, hot summer days of 1811.
Mr Gorell Barnes reminds the chaperones that they should be engineering more situations and distractions - with six weeks to go till the end of the party, complacency should be the last thing on their minds. Miss Hopkins' chaperone Elizabeth, Lady Devonport, is about to embark on a dangerous liaison with the young Mr Foxsmith, and Miss Hopkins indulges in a little Emma-esque matchmaking with Miss Braund's heart as the hapless casualty.
The indefatigable Mrs Hammond hatches a theatrical plot to secure a gentleman's hand for her charge and Miss Braund does end up in Mr Everett's arms. But will the resultant love-triangle end in a gothic romance, or tragedy?
The Regency Party guests are looking forward to the event of the season, the summer ball. However, this one is tainted with scandal.
As drinking and conflict threaten to tear the party apart, the gentlemen descend to the depths of the subterranean Hell Fire Club. Meanwhile, Miss Braund has an eventful week as she almost comes to blows with Miss Hammond, and is also the centre of Captain Glover's attentions.
Just when it seemed that Mr Everett might be getting somewhere with Miss Hopkins, a new arrival, the handsome musician Mr Carrington, enchants her with a magical lullaby.
Mr Gorell Barnes agrees to Mr Foxsmith's long petitioned request to dedicate a week to the pursuit of science.
However Mr Foxsmith uses the time for planning the event to get increasingly intimate with Lady Devonport. Regency anatomists are brought vividly to life with the arrival of Gunther Von Hagens and his anatomical exhibits. The mesmerist Tom Fortes Mayer also comes to the house to entertain the guests. Mr Carrington agrees to be mesmerised, hoping that he may compose a romantic overture as successful as Mozart's product of mesmerism, the opera Cosi Fan Tutti.
Before the end of the evening Miss Hopkins is in Mr Carrington's arms. Mr Everett is devastated, but takes solace in the fact that he can finally put Miss Hopkins out of his mind. But for how long?
As the end of the party approaches old quarrels rise to surface and the chaperones fall out in spectacular style by throwing the fine china at each other.
Ever since the arrival of Mr Carrington, Mr Everett and Miss Hopkins have avoided each other. Miss Hopkins breaks with protocol and speaks to Mr Everett alone on the lawn and each lays bare their heart. Meanwhile, Captain Glover has secured his prize for the capture of an enemy vessel and now has a fortune of £50,000, nearly £2,000,000 in modern money, and the prospect of a baronetcy, meaning that he will now be called Sir Jeremy.
Will Sir Jeremy succeed with Miss Braund where Captain Glover had failed? To escape the Regency hot house, and the blistering summer heat, the ladies walk to the edge of the estate and bathe, a popular pastime in Regency spa towns, but never naked!
After disappearing to see the hermit Zebedee Helm for a whole day on an undisclosed errand, Miss Francesca has had to cut the number and length of her visits as she is fast losing her tenuous grasp on gentility.
Back at the house, Mr Carrington has been doing his homework, and after asking the other ladies he fulfils one of Miss Hopkins' dreams. She returns to her room to find her bed strewn with rose petals. Torn between Mr Everett and Mr Carrington, is the broken-hearted Miss Hopkins about to make a terrible mistake? Lady Devonport, her chaperone, is struggling to take the impossible step of leaving her "passionate friend" Mr Foxsmith.
As the house party comes to an end and each guest prepares to leave, a final un-chaperoned ball held in 'Masque' and throws the rule book out the window. There is not so much corridor creeping as a thunderous stampede.
Regency House Party synopsis
In a country house restored to its Regency splendour, five aspiring Mr Darcys and five Miss Bennets attempt to live and find love by the rules of the great age of romanceEpisode Guide >