Starring: Justine Waddell as main character Molly; Bill Paterson as her father; Francesca Annis as her stepmother (as Lady Ludlow in Cranford); Keeley Hawes as her stepsister Cynthia (also Fancy Day in Under the Greenwood Tree, which I loved); Tom Hollander as a potential love interest (Mr. Collins and Lord Cutler Beckett); Anthony Howell as the hero; Michael Gambon as their father (DUMBLEDORE!); and Rosamund Pike as Lady Harriet (Jane in 2005 P&P) among other familiar faces.
Now that we've covered the fantastic cast. I'm not sure I can write a short summary but a big theme is obviously relationships between women as the stepmother has difficult ones with her stepdaughter and daughter and like Cranford, this is a world filled with women (I think that's part of Gaskell's appeal-she wrote many different kinds of women instead of say Dickens' boring female creations). Another theme is prejudices, especially anti-French and Catholic as expressed by Michael Gambon's character; it's very obvious and distasteful.
Another theme is love, naturally. Molly falls in love with Roger but he is dazzled by the beautiful Cynthia. Gaskell died before finishing this book but Andrew Davies constructed a lovely ending that I found satisfying.
One pet peeve I had with this specific version I watched was that it didn't have subtitles. This is especially important to me when a film's words are important and/or there are accents; this miniseries has both. It is four episodes long, each about seventy-five minutes.
I watched this with my mom and we're both planning to read the book as soon as we can get our hands on it. It's another fantastic Elizabeth Gaskell/BBC collaboration!