This made-for-TV British comedy begins at the turn of the century, as bumbling ironmonger Alfred Salteena (Jim Broadbent) meets a pretty girl named Ethel Monticue (Lyndsey Marshal) on a train and invites her to his London flat. Hoping to impress the girl, Alfred brags about all the "important" people he knows; swallowing the line whole, the covetous Ethel insists upon meeting Alfred's illustrious acquaintance. Enter Lord Bernard Clark (Hugh Laurie), a seedy nobleman who offers to train Alfred to be a social lion so that he'll be more acceptable to Ethel; what Lord Bernard doesn't tell Alfred is that he intends to keep Ethel for himself. Much of the humor arises from Alfred's experiences at a high-society "boot camp" run by an indigent aristocrat, the Earl of Clincham (Bill Nighy). The Young Visiters was written in 1890 by Daisy Ashford -- who was all of nine years old at the time! The book remained on the shelf until it was published, misspellings and all, in 1919, with a preface by James M. Barrie (whom many reviewers suspected of being the novel's true author). First telecast in the U.K. on December 26, 2003, the film won a BAFTA award for best original music. The Young Visiters premiered in the United States courtesy of the BBC America digital-cable service on November 2, 2004.
by Hal Erickson synopsis