Eager to see more of the world, Richard Herncastle (Oscar® winner Colin Firth, The King’s Speech) joins a traveling stage act run by his uncle Nick (John Castle, The Lion in Winter). His new colleagues are an assorted bunch of singers, dancers, acrobats, jugglers, and comedians, including one (Oscar® winner Laurence Olivier, Rebecca) whose best days are well behind him. Captivated by the group’s female performers, Richard embarks upon a series of love affairs as the act tours the length and breadth of Britain.
Nominated for six BAFTA awards and a supporting actor Emmy® for Olivier, this haunting saga based on J.B. Priestley’s novel garnered acclaim on Masterpiece Theatre. Set on the eve of World War I, Lost Empires unfolds against the backdrop of the coming conflict in Europe—and the growing sense that the world is about to change forever.
Disc 1 Episode 1 New arrival Richard makes an immediate impact on the other members of the act, especially the women. Hired as a stage assistant, he soon begins performing roles. But just as Richard embraces the limelight, one of his colleagues decides he can’t take it anymore.
Episode 2 Uncle Nick’s conjuring skills are put to the test when an on-the-run suffragette leader asks for his help—to make her disappear before the police can arrest her. Much to Richard’s distress, an attractive young singer named Nancy Ellis plans to vanish as well.
Episode 3 Richard turns his attentions to another woman in the act—or rather, she turns her attentions to him. An older woman with a mysterious past, Julie Blane displays more than a few warning signs. Richard has to decide whether or not to heed them.
Disc 2 Episode 4 Julie’s past finally catches up with her in the shape of Tommy Beamish, a comedian and an ex-heavyweight boxer. The incident prompts Uncle Nick to come to the aid of his nephew and Julie to react unexpectedly.
Episode 5 Richard gets mixed up with a volatile young singer and her entourage. At first, the woman simply requests that Richard sketch her portrait. But soon, he unwittingly enters a new, darker side of theatre life.
Disc 3 Episode 6 The troupe gets a shock when one of their acrobats is found strangled. The local police feel unable to handle the case, and Scotland Yard sends an inspector to investigate. Meanwhile, Richard makes a desperate attempt to reconnect with Nancy Ellis.
Episode 7 The police close in on a murder suspect, but Uncle Nick has one last trick up his sleeve before he strikes out for America. As war breaks out, Richard enlists in the army and heads off to the Western Front, where he runs into a surprising figure from his past.