The Charmer (TV series)

The Charmer was a 1987 British television serial set in the 1930s, and starring Nigel Havers as Ralph Ernest Gorse, a seducing conman, Rosemary Leach as Joan Plumleigh-Bruce, a smitten victim widow and Bernard Hepton as Donald Stimpson, Plumleigh-Bruce's would-be beau, who vengefully pursues Gorse after he has conned her.

The Charmer
Based onMr. Stimpson and
Mr. Gorse

by Patrick Hamilton
Written byAllan Prior
Directed byAlan Gibson
StarringNigel Havers
Bernard Hepton
Rosemary Leach
Fiona Fullerton
Theme music composerRichard Rodney Bennett
Opening themeYou're the Top - Performed by Paul Jones
Ending themeYou're the Top - Performed by Paul Jones
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
Producer(s)Philip Hinchcliffe
Running time50 minutes
Production company(s)LWT
Yorkshire Television
Original networkITV
Audio formatMono
Original release18 October (1987-10-18) –
22 November 1987 (1987-11-22)

It was made by London Weekend Television (LWT) for ITV, and loosely based on the 1953 novel Mr. Stimpson and Mr. Gorse by Patrick Hamilton, the second work in the Gorse Trilogy.[1]

The series was repeated in February and March 1990. ITV3 also repeated the series in full at 01:45 a.m. from 5 September 2009. Narrative repeats were on Mondays from 7 September 2009 at 10:05 a.m. It was broadcast in the US on Masterpiece Theater starting April 30, 1989.[1]



Writing for The Los Angeles Times, Ray Loynd wrote "The world loves a delicious scoundrel. "The Charmer," which begins a six-week run on "Masterpiece Theatre" Sunday (8 p.m. on Channels 50 and 24, 9 p.m. on Channels 28 and 15), is a suave romp of a diversion... Havers is so devilishly decadent you root for him not to get caught."[2]


Episode # Title Original release date Length
1"Gorse, the Tempter"18 October 1987 (1987-10-18)51min.
In September 1938, Gorse is down on his luck in Reading when he meets Joan Plumleigh-Bruce, a widow and a snob, and Mr. Stimpson, a real estate broker with designs of his own on Joan.
2"Gorse, the Investor"25 October 1987 (1987-10-25)49min.
Gorse needs money to bankroll his affair with the beautiful Clarice Manners. He steps up his seduction of Joan which arouses the suspicions of Mr Stimpson.
3"Gorse, the Deceiver"1 November 1987 (1987-11-01)49min.
It's April 1939 and Gorse has fled Reading after absconding with Plumleigh-Bruce's money, which he has quickly squandered. He sets his sights on the daughter of his new employer. Mr. Stimpson keeps a watch on him.
4"Gorse in the Middle"8 November 1987 (1987-11-08)49min.
Now married, Gorse feels increasingly trapped. In need of money to escape his domestic life and be with Clarice, he resorts to drastic and dangerous measures.
5"Gorse, the Imposter"15 November 1987 (1987-11-15)49min.
In May 1940, Gorse, now a private, deserts his regiment. He spots his next victim, the recently widowed Alison Warren.
6"Gorse at the End"22 November 1987 (1987-11-22)49min.
With Joan and Mr Stimpson trailing him, Gorse plans a desperate escape with Clarice's help.


  1. ^ a b "Masterpiece Theatre | The Archive | The Charmer". Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  2. ^ Loynd, Ray (29 April 1989). "The Charmer: A Decadent Romp". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 September 2017.

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