Rollover Information
About the Series Schedule The Archive Learning Resources The American Collection Home Search Shop
Under the Greenwood Tree
Thomas Hardy Program Notes Who's Who Story Synopsis Links + Bibliography The Forum Masterpiece Theatre Under the Greenwood Tree
Who's Who [imagemap with 6 links]

Who's Who

Fancy Day | Mary Dewy | Reuben Dewy | Dick Dewy
Susan Dewy | Robert Penny | Thomas Leaf | Elias Spinks
Farmer Shiner | Parson Maybold | Geoffrey Day

Fancy Day
Educated and beautiful, Fancy Day comes to Mellstock from Exeter to work as the village schoolteacher and be near her ailing father. She draws many admirers. Determined to make the best of her situation, she agrees to play the church's new harmonium, not realizing this will upset the traditional men's choir.

...We gain a good view of our heroine as she advances to her place in the ladies' line. She belonged to the taller division of middle height. Flexibility was her first characteristic, by which she appeared to enjoy the most easeful rest when she was in gliding motion. Her dark eyes -- arched by brows of so keen, slender, and soft a curve, that they resembled nothing so much as two slurs in music -- showed primarily a bright sparkle each. This was softened by a frequent thoughtfulness, yet not so frequent as to do away, for more than a few minutes at a time, with a certain coquettishness; which in its turn was never so decided as to banish honesty. Her lips imitated her brows in their clearly-cut outline and softness of bend; and her nose was well shaped -- which is saying a great deal, when it is remembered that there are a hundred pretty mouths and eyes for one pretty nose. Add to this, plentiful knots of dark-brown hair, a gauzy dress of white, with blue facings; and the slightest idea may be gained of the young maiden who showed, amidst the rest of the dancing-ladies, like a flower among vegetables...

Keeley Hawes, born in London in 1977, was 'discovered' at age 15 and became a successful, though reluctant, model. After a couple of years a casting agent, who had seen pictures of her in campaigns for Sisley and Benetton, asked her to come in for an audition. Her career -- and life -- then changed direction.

Despite her Irish name, she has no Irish links. She comes from Marylebone where her father was a cabbie. She has three siblings and claims to be "a regular Londoner and homebody." Hawes' second husband is actor Matthew MacFadyen (Pride and Prejudice) with whom she has a child, and with whom she stars in the BBC intelligence drama Spooks (also known as MI-5).

Hawes's other film and television roles have included Masterpiece Theatre's Othello, Wives and Daughters, Our Mutual Friend, Lucky Jim, and Me and Mrs. Jones. She also appeared in MYSTERY!s Miss Marple: A Murder is Announced.

back to top

Mrs. Dewy
Dick's mother Mary presides over a chaotic house full of food, drink, laughter and dogs and the friends of her husband and children.

...Mrs. Dewy sat in a brown settle by the side of the glowing wood fire-so glowing that with a heedful compression of the lips she would now and then rise and put her hand upon the hams and flitches of bacon lining the chimney, to reassure herself that they were not being broiled instead of smoked-a misfortune that had been known to happen now and then at Christmas-time...

Actress Jane Wheldon's previous credits include appearances in Cracker, Ultraviolet, A Touch of Frost and Holby City.

back to top

Reuben Dewy
The sociable leader of the Mellstock choir and Dick's father. A man of insight and humor who is troubled by his son's infatuation with Fancy Day. But he's more upset by the arrival of a harmonium...

... Through the open doorway of a small inner room on the right hand, of a character between pantry and cellar, was Dick Dewy's father Reuben, by vocation a "tranter," or irregular carrier. He was a stout florid man about forty years of age, who surveyed people up and down when first making their acquaintance, and generally smiled at the horizon or other distant object during conversations with friends, walking about with a steady sway, and turning out his toes very considerably...

Tony Haygarth played the frustrated Mr. Gridley in Masterpiece Theatre's Bleak House. His acting career stretches back to the 1970s. One of his earliest roles was as a slave in I, Claudius. He has also been seen in Parnell and the Englishwoman, Sharpe's Enemy and Bramwell. Haygarth was the voice of the evil Mr. Tweedy in 2000's Chicken Run.

Nominated for an Olivier Award for his work in Twelve Angry Men and The Tempest, Haygarth also won the Clarence Derwent Award for Simpatico.

back to top

Dick Dewy
Handsome, charming and good-humored, Dick works as a carrier, transporting items around the village. He's very popular with the local girls but falls instantly in love with Fancy and longs to marry her, despite the difference in their social status.

... Having come more into the open he could now be seen rising against the sky, his profile appearing on the light background like the portrait of a gentleman in black cardboard. It assumed the form of a low-crowned hat, an ordinary-shaped nose, an ordinary chin, an ordinary neck, and ordinary shoulders. What he consisted of further down was invisible from lack of sky low enough to picture him on...

A Manchester native, James Murray has appeared on film in Being John Malkovich (as a student puppeteer), and in Kevin & Perry Go Large, a low-brow musical comedy. His television credits include appearances on Coronation Street, All the King's Men, Keen Eddie and Miss Marple: The Sittaford Mystery (scheduled to air on MYSTERY! in 2006).

back to top

Susan Dewy
The Dewy's eldest daughter; she misses nothing that goes on in the village.

This apartment contained Mrs. Dewy the tranter's wife, and the four remaining children, Susan, Jim, Bessy, and Charley, graduating uniformly though at wide stages from the age of sixteen to that of four years-the eldest of the series being separated from Dick the firstborn by a nearly equal interval.

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Sian Brooke has been seen previously on television in Dinotopia: The Series and Granada Television's All About George.

back to top

Robert Penny
The village bootmaker and friend of Dick Dewy. A small, bespectacled man, he plays the fiddle in the choir.

... a little man, who, though rather round-shouldered, walked as if that fact had not come to his own knowledge, moving on with his back very hollow and his face fixed on the north-east quarter of the heavens before him, so that his lower waist-coat-buttons came first, and then the remainder of his figure. His features were invisible; yet when he occasionally looked round, two faint moons of light gleamed for an instant from the precincts of his eyes, denoting that he wore spectacles of a circular form...

Terry Mortimer has been seen previously in the television programs Between the Lines, The Bill and The Lost World.

back to top

Thomas Leaf
Leaf is ungainly and not the cleverest of men, but he's kind and well-liked.

...the young man before mentioned, consisting chiefly of a human skeleton and a smock-frock, who was very awkward in his movements, apparently on account of having grown so very fast that before he had had time to get used to his height he was higher...

"... Hee-hee-ay!" replied Leaf, letting his mouth continue to smile for some time after his mind had done smiling, so that his teeth remained in view as the most conspicuous members of his body...

The role of Thomas Leaf seems perfect for the aptly named Richard Leaf who has appeared previously in several films including Braveheart, Cutthroat Island, The Messenger, Enigma, and Derailed.

Leaf has been cast as Auror Dawlish in the fifth Harry Potter film, The Order of the Phoenix, scheduled to be released sometime in 2007. Leaf is married to actress Tamsin Greig; they have three children.

back to top

Elias Spinks

... who walked perpendicularly and dramatically... Mr. Spinks was considered to be a scholar, having once kept a night-school, and always spoke up to that level...

John Axon's previous television credits include roles in Prime Suspect 3, The 10th Kingdom, The Bill and Life on Mars.

back to top

Farmer Shiner
Gruff farmer Shiner is a churchwarden and the richest man in the village thanks to his sound business sense. He is smitten by Fancy and knows she would bring joy and companionship into his big but lonely house. He sets out to make her his wife.

...the music and singing waxed so loud that it was impossible to know what Mr. Shiner had said, was saying, or was about to say; but wildly flinging his arms and body about in the forms of capital Xs and Ys, he appeared to utter enough invectives to consign the whole parish to perdition... Mr. Shiner, age about thirty-five, farmer and church-warden, a character principally composed of a crimson stare, vigorous breath, and a watch-chain, with a mouth hanging on a dark smile but never smiling, had come quite willingly to the party, and showed a wondrous obliviousness of all his antics on the previous night...

Steve Pemberton, originally from Blackburn, Lancashire, graduated from Bretton Hall Drama College. He is a co-writer and co-star of the BBC's The League of Gentlemen, a proudly tasteless and bizarre comedy (described as "Monty Python meets Twin Peaks"). He has also appeared in Gormenghast, Shameless, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Match Point.

back to top

Parson Maybold
Maybold is the new vicar in Mellstock and is set on modernizing the church with a new harmonium. A decent man, he is attracted to Fancy and they share a love of music, travel and education. But he keeps his feelings to himself.

"...O, sir, please, here's Tranter Dewy, and old William Dewy, and young Richard Dewy, O, and all the quire too, sir, except the boys, a-come to see you!" said Mr. Maybold's maid-servant to Mr. Maybold, the pupils of her eyes dilating like circles in a pond.

"All the choir?" said the astonished vicar (who may be shortly described as a good-looking young man with courageous eyes, timid mouth, and neutral nose), abandoning his writing and looking at his parlour-maid after speaking, like a man who fancied he had seen her face before but couldn't recollect where...

Ben Miles, a Wimbledon native, has appeared in the films V for Vendetta, The Wings of the Dove and The Affair of the Necklace. His television roles have included Masterpiece Theatre's The Forsyte Saga, Series I and II (as Montague Dartie) and Prime Suspect 6. He played Patrick ("a complete himbo") in the award-winning BBC hit Coupling.

back to top

Geoffrey Day
Fancy's father

... Geoffrey Day lived in the depths of Yalbury Wood, which formed portion of one of the outlying estates of the Earl of Wessex, to whom Day was head game-keeper, timber-steward, and general overlooker for this district...

Tom Georgeson's acting career dates back to the early '70s and include roles in films including A Fish Called Wanda, Fierce Creatures, The Reckoning and Irish Jam and, on television, Doctor Who, The Last Place on Earth, Foyle's War, and Bleak House (as Clamb).

He was nominated for a 2002 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor for his performance in Frozen at the Royal National Theatre/Cottesloe.

Thomas Hardy | Program Notes | Who's Who
Story Synopsis | Links + Bibliography | The Forum

Home | About The Series | The American Collection | The Archive
Schedule & Season | Feature Library | eNewsletter | Book Club
Learning Resources | Forum | Search | Shop | Feedback

WGBH Logo PBS logo


Masterpiece is sponsored by: