Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The lavishly produced British historical series The Strauss Family chronicled the lives of rival "Waltz Kings" Johann Strauss -- both senior and junior -- in 19th century Vienna. Though initially forbidden to study music, Johann Strauss Jr. (Stuart Wilson) eventually became a celebrated composer, much to the chagrin of his more celebrated (and intensely competitive) father Johann Strauss Sr. (Eric Woolfe). Caught in the middle of the familial hostilities was Johann Sr.'s long-suffering wife, Anna (Anne Stallybrass), who, after being shut out of her husband's life, devoted her energies to promoting the career of her son, Johann Jr. Surviving the political upheaval of 1848, when Johann Sr. was forced into exile for siding with the Hapsburg regime, Johann Jr. went on to weather many a personal tragedy and professional setback, finding solace and comfort in his music. Among the stars-to-be seen in this seven-part miniseries were Derek Jacobi as Johann Jr.'s half-brother Josef and Jane Seymour as Russian belle Karolin. The music was provided by the London Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Cyril Ornadel. Premiering over Britain's ATV on November 7, 1972, The Strauss Family was later picked up by America's ABC network, where it was telecast on Saturday evenings from May 5 to June 16, 1973.