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In this 1994 BBC adaptation of George Eliot's novel, altruism, social reform, and romantic love struggle to survive against snobbery, economic oppression, and self-indulgence. Set in the fictional town of Middlemarch in the 1830s, the film begins when Dr. Tertius Lydgate (Douglas Hodge) arrives in the community to begin a medical practice. Because of his knowledge of the latest medical techniques and his desire to do humanitarian work and pioneering laboratory research, Lydgate becomes the ideal candidate for the pro bono position of superintendent of a new Middlemarch hospital. Meanwhile, Dorothea Brooke (Juliet Aubrey), a well-to-do resident of the nearby town of Tipton Grange, desperately searches for a noble cause to occupy her time. She and her sister Celia, both orphans, live with their uncle, Arthur Brooke (Robert Hardy), in a spacious home where they enjoy a comfortable life. After Dorothea observes the plight of poor tenant farmers during a horseback ride in the country, she decides to promote new housing for the farmers. But Dorothea and Lydgate both encounter obstacles as they attempt to realize their dreams. In Dorothea's case, her own uncle, Mr. Brooke, who operates the worst of the tenant farms, refuses to endorse her housing plan. As a self-satisfied member of the local establishment and a possible candidate for Parliament, he deems it wise to maintain the status quo. In Lydgate's case, a corrupt banker, Nicholas Bulstrode (Peter Jeffrey), threatens to block the physician's appointment as hospital superintendent unless he supports Bulstrode's candidate for the hospital chaplaincy.

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WAE2190 Middlemarch DVD (1994/Juliet Aubrey) $14.98