Set over a tumultuous ten-year period in the early 20th century, this five-hour miniseries tells the story of an honorable Englishman coping with his growing disillusion at the end of a privileged era and the beginning of a new, egalitarian society. As the comfortable certainties of Edwardian England begin to give way to the chaos and destruction of WWI, nobleman Christopher Tietjens puts principles first by marrying Sylvia, a pretty, manipulative socialite who gives birth to a child who may not be his. Christopher endures his new wife's whims and overt indiscretions, foreseeing a cold future with Sylvia at his family's palatial estate, Groby Hall. He finds himself inexorably drawn to a young suffragette, Valentine Wannop, but refuses to give in to their mutual passion or end his marriage with Sylvia, who is alternately infuriated and infatuated by her incorruptible husband. The onset of war, combined with the advent of feminism at home, ushers in far-reaching changes for the English status quo, gradually eroding the constraints that have kept Christopher tethered to his aristocratic past.