Lost Empires based on the novel by JB Priestley, and featuring one of the last performances of Sir Laurence Olivier, takes you to the last days of Britain's innocence and the glamorous, magical world of the great music halls - which once brought entertainment to millions. In 1913, young Richard Herncastle, played by Colin Firth, escapes from a stuffy, provincial English background into the glitter and excitement of the theatre world. Funny, sad, and nostalgic, Lost Empires, follows Richard from his naïve, country upbringing to join his uncle Nick Ollanton, a famous music hall illusionist - known as the Indian Magician, Ganga Dun. The mystery of illusions, on and off the stage, is eventually shattered for Richard, whose dream of becoming a famous painter becomes sidetracked while he contends with men gone nearly insane, the lusts of countless women, and a murder that hangs over his head.
Richard Herncastle joins his Uncle Nick, a great illusionist, on the music hall stage. The year is 1913.
Richard is unwittingly involved in Uncle Nick's scheme to help the suffragette movement, although his personal thoughts are taken up with his love for Nancy Ellis.
Despite warnings from Varvara and Cissie, Richard's passion for Julia remains unchecked until Christmas Day. What can he say to Nancy?
Richard continues to disregard warnings about his love for Julie and when Julie takes a love nest near Shepherd's Market, disaster seems inevitable. Uncle Nick pursues his own revenge, and finds the need for another dwarf.
Richard encounters the strange relationship of Lily Farris and her accompanist Otto Mergen. He also received an apology from Julie and some insight into Nancy's behaviour.
A body has been discovered at the Palace Theatre, but who is the killer? Richard visits Blackpool and meets some new girls, but he has never been lonelier. Mr Tewby arrives for the "two-dwarf" effect and Doris joins the Ganga Din act.