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Northanger Abbey

Premier :: 1987-02-15

Airs :: Sunday 22:10 on BBC Two

Genre :: Drama

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Northanger Abbey follows seventeen-year-old Gothic novel aficionado Catherine Morland and family friends Mr. and Mrs. Allen as they visit Bath, England. Catherine is in Bath for the first time, and is excited to spend her time visiting newly-made friends, such as Isabella Thorpe, and going to balls. Catherine finds herself pursued by Isabella's brother, the rather rough-mannered dandy John Thorpe, and by her real love interest, Henry Tilney. She also becomes friends with Eleanor Tilney, Henry's younger sister. Henry captivates her with his view on novels and his knowledge of history and the world. General Tilney (Henry and Eleanor's father) invites Catherine to visit their estate, Northanger Abbey, which, from her reading of Ann Radcliffe's gothic novel The Mysteries of Udolpho, she expects to be dark, ancient and full of Gothic horrors and fantastical mystery.

Latest Episode

Series 1 - Episode 1 - Northanger Abbey
Aired - 15 February 1987

Episode summary:

Northanger Abbey is the story of a young woman, Catherine Morland, who is invited to Bath with family friends, the Allens, for the waters at Bath will help Mr. Allen's gout. Catherine (called "Cathy" by her many younger siblings) has been quite sheltered all her life, escaping only by reading Gothic novels, and so is delighted to go to Bath. Mrs. Allen introduces Catherine to the Thorpe family, including an older girl, Isabella, who befriends Catherine. The girls have bonded over their love of similar novels, when their brothers arrive. James (Catherine's brother) falls in love with Isabella, a hardened flirt. Likewise, John (Isabella's brother and James's friend) goes after Catherine, who does not like John half so much as John likes himself. Catherine is in love herself, however, with a quirky young minister, Henry Tilney, whom she met at a dance. Catherine befriends Henry's sister, Eleanor, and goes on many outing with the two siblings, after their brother, Frederick, comes to Bath. Isabella, having learned that James (to whom she is now engaged) is poor, begins to flirt with Frederick Tilney. Eleanor invites Catherine to stay with her at the Tilney's home, Northanger Abbey; Catherine accepts with pleasure, though she imagines that the Abbey will be rather like on the gloomy castles in her books. Catherine is, at first, welcomed by General Tilney (Henry's father), who has been bragged to by John Thorpe that Catherine (whom John thinks is in love with him) is an heiress. When he realizes that Catherine is not rich, however, he sends her packing. Back at home, Catherine is unhappy, missing Henry and disillusioned about her precious Gothic novels. Henry appears and proposes, however, and the story ends happily.

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