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‘Welcome to Vanity Fair!’ announces Michael Palin, resplendent as ‘ringmaster’ William Thackeray in front of a carousel.

‘A vain, wicked, foolish place…where everyone is striving for that which is not worth having.’

It’s a striking introduction to this seven-part adaptation.

Vanity Fair ITV

Michael Palin stars as author William Thackeray in the seven-part adaptation

Becky Sharp, a ruthless but likeable school mistress, is desperate to claw her way out of the bottom of society.

And when she loses her job, her mind goes into overdrive…

‘Becky’s completely her own woman and everything is on her terms,’ says  Olivia Cooke, who plays Becky.

‘She’s very selfish, unapologetic and completely manipulative when she wants to be.’

‘But she’s also fun, strong and sees the light in every situation – she never pretends to
be virtuous.’

Starring alongside Olivia in a stellar cast are Suranne Jones, Martin Clunes and Claire Skinner.

A sumptuous and surprising treat, with episode two airing tomorrow at 9pm.

Don’t miss!

TV Times rating: *****