Three-part BBC television adaptation of the novel by Sarah Waters, set in Victorian London. In the dark alleyways and backstreets of the capital, orphan girl Sue Trinder (Sally Hawkins) is raised by Mrs Sucksby (Imelda Staunton) and her family of petty thieves, crooks and con men. Among Mrs Sucksby’s crew is a sinister young man, Richard Rivers (Rupert Evans), known as ‘the Gentleman’, who has come up with a bold scheme to steal an inheritance from a vulnerable and naive young heiress, Maud Lilly (Elaine Cassidy). Arranging for Sue to be employed as a maid in Maud’s household, Rivers poses as a suitable gentleman for Maud’s hand in marriage. The scheme is derailed however when Sue finds herself falling in love with her. With Maud eventually committed to an asylum as a result of Rivers’ devious plan, Sue must turn her back on her adopted criminal family and avoid the wrath of ‘the Gentleman’ in order to save her.
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