Meet the characters and cast of Persuasion
Click on any of the major characters in Persuasion to learn more about how they fit in the story, and also about the careers of the actors who portray them.
Sir Walter Elliot
Having lost his wife years earlier, Sir Walter Elliot is on the brink of financial ruin. A vain baronet, Elliot attempts to keep up the appearance of nobility while having to give up his ancestral home, Kellynch Hall.
Anthony Head is best known for his role as Rupert Giles in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A regular cast member for three years in the comedy television series Little Britain, Head's most recent movies include Sparkle, Macbeth, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Also a singer, Head released an album in 2002 entitled Music for Elevators on which he collaborated with musician George Sarah.
The eldest Elliot daughter, the self-involved Elizabeth encourages her father’s reckless spending, and hardly pays attention to Anne.
After a period of serious illness, Julia Davis decided to become a comedian. Davis is best known for creating and starring in the BBC series Nighty Night, for which she won a Royal Society of Television Award and was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for Best Comedy Performance.
The nervous and often sickly youngest daughter of Walter Elliot, Mary is married to Charles Musgrove.
A graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Amanda Hale was nominated for the Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer for her role in The Glass Menagerie at the Apollo Theatre in London in 2007. Hale's television credits include Richard is My Boyfriend, and Jekyll. She has appeared on stage in The Importance of Being Earnest and Crooked. She is accomplished in stage combat and dance.
The middle daughter of the Elliot household, Anne seems destined for spinsterhood at age 27 after being persuaded eight years earlier to refuse the proposal of Frederick Wentworth.
Sally Hawkins, the daughter of children’s book authors Jacqui and Colin Hawkins, is a native of London. Hawkins has appeared in numerous theater productions, including Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Winterling. Hawkins made her first notable film appearance in the 2002 Mike Leigh film All or Nothing. She later co-starred with Imelda Staunton in the Leigh film Vera Drake, and also appears in Leigh’s forthcoming film. Hawkins also co-stars in Woody Allen’s latest film, Cassandra’s Dream. A comedy enthusiast, Hawkins has appeared in the British hit comedy series Little Britain and has written for the BBC Radio 4 production Concrete Cow.
Father of Henrietta, Louisa, and Charles Musgrove
Nicholas Farrell has appeared in a number of Masterpiece productions: The Jewel in the Crown, The Ginger Tree, To Play the King, The Choir, Bramwell, Poirot, Foyle's War, Jericho, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, and The Jury. In 1983, he starred as Edmund Bertram in a television adaptation of Mansfield Park.
Mother of Henrietta, Louisa, and Charles Musgrove
Scottish actress Stella Gonet is one of 12 children, and is best known for her role as Beatrice Eliott in the 1990s BBC series House of Eliott. As part of Masterpiece Mystery!, she appeared in The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Foyle’s War.
The eldest Musgrove daughter, jovial Henrietta has a romantic attachment to her cousin Charles Hayter, but in nonetheless tempted by Captain Wentworth.
Rosamund Stephen appeared as Miss de Bourg alongside Keira Knightley in the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice.
Heir to the Musgrove estate, Charles is the husband of Mary Musgrove.
Sam Hazeldine is the son of James Hazeldine, the late British actor. After dropping out of drama school, Sam Hazeldine returned to acting after his father’s death. His Masterpiece appearances include Foyle’s War and Prime Suspect 6. He has appeared in the films Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
Sister of Charles and Henrietta Musgrove, decisive Louisa has attracted the attention of Captain Wentworth.
Jennifer Higham has been acting since she was 17 years old, and her television credits include Casualty, I Shouldn't Be Alive, Gideon's Daughter, Born and Bred, and Doctors. In 2004 she appeared alongside Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy in the film Ella Enchanted.
A dashing and formerly destitute naval officer who eight years earlier unsuccessfully proposed to Anne Elliot, Captain Wentworth has returned from war with his fortune to find a wife. Wentworth is the brother of Sophia Croft.
The son of actors Peter Penry-Jones and Angela Thorne, and brother of actor Laurence Penry-Jones, Rupert Penry-Jones started his theatrical career at age 16 in London’s National Youth Theatre. Penry-Jones won the prestigious Ian Charleson Award in 2000 for his performance in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Don Carlos. He is best known for playing Adam Carter in the British drama series Spooks. Penry-Jones has also appeared in Masterpiece’s The Prince of Hearts and Casanova. His film credits include Match Point, The Four Feathers, Charlotte Gray, and Hilary and Jackie.
Wife of Admiral Croft and sister of Frederick Wentworth.
Marion Bailey’s Masterpiece and Masterpiece Mystery! credits include: Heat of the Sun, Inspector Morse: The Secrets of Bay 5B, and Poirot: The Plymouth Express. In addition to extensive work in television programs such as The Bill, and Shine on Harvey Moon, Bailey has also appeared in films such as Offending Angels, All or Nothing, I’ll Be There, and Vera Drake.
Admiral Croft and his wife, Sophia, the sister of Frederick Wentworth, have come to live at Kellynch Hall, recently vacated by Sir Walter Elliot.
Peter Wight’s television credits include Dalziel and Pascoe, Party Animals, Life on Mars, EastEnders, Murder Prevention, and Early Doors. His film credits include Hot Fuzz, Babel, Pride and Prejudice, Lassie, and Vera Drake.
Estranged relative and presumptive heir of Sir Walter Elliot, William Elliot is eager to get in the family’s good graces. When meeting Anne, he shows a romantic interest.
Best known as Marcus Junius Brutus in the television series Rome, Tobias Menzies is also known for his role in Masterpiece Mystery!’s Foyle’s War. On film, he’s appeared in The Low Down and Casino Royale. He also has theatre credits under his belt including playing Hamlet at the Royal Theatre, a performance for which he won critical acclaim.
A revered member of society because of wealth and rank, Lady Dalrymple, viscountess, is a cousin to Sir Walter Elliot. Sir Walter and Elizabeth Elliot are eager to be in her company and receive her favor.
Tilly Tremayne has appeared in Masterpiece productions of Poldark and A Perfect Spy. She also has extensive theatrical credits including Present Laughter and The Reporter.
A widow with an interest in Walter Elliot, Mrs. Clay has also befriended Elizabeth Elliot.
British actress Mary Stockley has appeared in several Masterpiece Mystery! presentations: Poirot: Mrs. McGinty's Dead; Miss Marple: The Body in the Library; Jericho:The Killing of Johnny Swan; and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: Natural Causes. She can also be seen in the film V for Vendetta, and is currently working on the film 7 Lives.
An Elliot family friend and maternal to advisor Anne after her mother’s death, Lady Russell persuaded Anne not to marry Frederick Wentworth when he first proposed.
Born and raised in South Africa, Alice Krige grew up without television, something she refers to as a “huge black hole in my education.” She debuted in the Academy Award winning Chariots of Fire in 1981, and has been seen in an array of film, television, and theater productions including: Ghost Story, Barfly, Sleepwalkers, The Little Vampire, Star Trek Voyager: End Game, Attila, Dinotopia, Reign of Fire, Children of Dune, The Mystery of Natalie Wood, Lonely Hearts, The Contract, and a recurring guest role in the HBO series Deadwood. She appeared as La Marquesa in Masterpiece’s Sharpe, II.