Continuing my coverage of the 1982 BBC miniseries The Barchester Chronicles. . . .
Previously, Slope has relied on some truly reprehensible levels of backstabbing to procure the warden post for Harding, after he had previously used his smarmy influence in gaining the job for Mr. Q.
This episode begins with a montage of characters getting the news about the parish dean’s stroke. The Rickman’s face sums up everyone’s reaction to this sudden, unexpected news:
His next reaction is not shared by other characters:
The Signora sums up the audience’s reaction to all this news:
As Slope tries to explain who he is, Bertie interrupts him with jibes and insults, and that increasingly irritates Slope. His resultingly peevish explanation of who the dean was is glorious.
Slope seems to have determined to still remain in the Signora’s good graces, though it also seems harder and harder for him to do so. I think it’s fair to say he is no longer serious about smarming her, though he’s slimy enough to want to stay in her good graces. Nevertheless, his discomfort throughout the scene is notable and hilarious.
Also, Bertie is an ass, but he is fun. In his first appearances, I found him off-putting, but he’s grown on me as the series has progressed. I still wouldn’t trust him any farther than I could drop-kick him, but there’s still something endearing about how honest and daffy he is. Slope clearly does not share these feelings, though.
But even Bertie can’t bring Slope down, and the chaplain knows everything there is to know about the dean’s position, especially the house, land, and salary that comes with the job.
The Signora loves to take the piss out of Slope, as was demonstrated in the previous episode, and she cannot resist pointing out that he clearly has eyes on the post.
Then she seems to encourage his ambition by reminding him his boss could make suggestions regarding a successor.
Next page: Mrs. Proudie has her say