Masterpiece Completes Its Sprawling 'The Forsyte Saga' Cast

Naomi Frederick as the Duchess of Bedford in 'Belgravia' Season 1

Naomi Frederick as the Duchess of Bedford in 'Belgravia' Season 1


Though many of us may poke gentle fun at shows like HBO's The Gilded Age for their constantly expanding cast rosters the truth is that part of the appeal of period drama, as a genre, is its expansive sense of scope. From recreating the technical details of specific historical periods to showing us a glimpse of the many kinds of people who populate them, the best period stories are the ones that occasionally feel full to bursting with characters, and with lives that feel as though they continue well beyond the moments we watch them onscreen. 

The Forsyte Saga is an oft-cited example of the best version of such a series, a drama that spans multiple generations and several decades. Previously adapted for television from John Galway's novels in both 1967 and 2002, this sprawling, messy story of a wealthy family in 1880s London boasts over half a dozen main characters and a plot that features everything from romance and betrayal to scandal and naked ambition. 

Both previous versions were big hits for both the BBC in the U.K and public television here in the States, so it's fairly unsurprising that, twenty years later, PBS's Masterpiece has decided the time has come to take a crack at updating this classic for a new era, complete with a fairly massive cast, a buzzy production partner in U.K.'s Mammoth Screen (Victoria) and a lush visual feel

Production on this latest adaptation is currently underway and, as a result, Masterpiece has released its final batch of casting updates, adding a half dozen more names to the show's roster.

headshots of Sharon Rose, Fiona Button, Naomi Frederick, Justine Moore, Tristan Sturrock, and Eleanor Jackson who are joining 'The Forsyte Saga' cast

Sharon Rose, Fiona Button, Naomi Frederick, Justine Moore, Tristan Sturrock, and Eleanor Jackson are joining 'The Forsyte Saga' cast


Rounding out the series’ ensemble, Fiona Button (The Split) plays Mrs. Clarissa Heron, Irene’s (Millie Gibson) stepmother, while Tristan Sturrock (Poldark) plays Professor Heron, Irene’s father. Justine Moore (Call the Midwife) is June Forsyte, the 18-year-old daughter of Frances (Tuppence Middleton) and stepdaughter of Jolyon Forsyte (Danny Griffin).

Eleanor Jackson (The Royal Mob) is Winifred Forsyte, daughter of James (Jack Davenport) and wife of Monty (Tom Durant Pritchard). Naomi Frederick (Belgravia) plays Emily Forsyte, James’ wife. And Sharon Rose (Silent Witness) is Alicia Cole, the wife of Jolyon’s best friend Isaac (Owen Igiehon). 

They join the rest of the series previously announced cast members, which include Francesca Annis (Flesh & Blood), Stephen Moyer (Sexy Beast), Eleanor Tomlinson (The Outlaws), Josette Simon (Broadchurch), Jamie Flatters (Liar), and Susan Hampshire OBE, who played Fleur Mont in the original 1967 The Forsyte Saga and will take on the role of Lady Carteret in this version.

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The Forsyte Saga

A compelling drama of love, adultery, obsession, power and money in the Victorian era.
The Forsyte Saga: show-poster2x3

Here's the series' synopsis, which confirms the show is being written with multiple seasons in mind.

The first season of six episodes follows the lives of the wealthy Forsyte family in 1880s London and is based on John Galsworthy’s Nobel Prize-winning tale of love, loyalty, ambition, and betrayal

This adaptation is written by Debbie Horsfield, who brought PBS's 2015 Poldark adaptation to the small screen. Billed as a "reimagining" of the original, it aims to expand and update the series' larger world. Not only will it reportedly incorporate prequel-ish elements that take place before the events of the first book, but it will also more fully incorporate the story's female characters and give them more to do onscreen. 

Meenu Gaur (Murder Is Easy) and Annetta Laufer (Get Millie Black) are splitting directing duties, with Sarah Lewis (The Long Shadow) producing. Executive producers include Horsfield and Gaur, along with along with Sheena Bucktowonsing, Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen, and Susanne Simpson for Masterpiece.  

"This sweeping, romantic drama portrays how duty binds a family together until it conflicts with matters of the heart," Simpson said in a statement when the series was announced. "Debbie Horsfield’s inspired scripts will be realized by an exceptional cast and supported by a lavish production. We’re thrilled to be creating another one of the high-quality period dramas that Masterpiece has always been known for.”

Filming on The Forsyte Saga is currently underway in the U.K. and Venice, Italy. The series doesn't have an airdate yet, but is expected to arrive in 2025.

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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