The seven-part series, set in the early 1800s, centres around the lives of members of high English society, and a close knit group of friends who all end up marrying the wrong person, and regret it.
Even though the plot is timeless, the novel is notoriously complex, with many characters and moving parts, so we’ve broken down the main players for you...
Becky Sharp played by Olivia Cooke
Obsessed with status and wealth, Becky is willing to do anything to leave her mark on the world. Coming from a penniless background, she has no family to speak of. She is deceitful, cruel but also resourceful, and will stop at nothing to reach the top of English Society.
Olivia Cooke describes her character as “an expert charmer”, saying: “She is completely manipulative and charming because she’s had to be.
“Becky is very astute and perceptive, even though she can come across as quite unemotional sometimes.
“She can read most people because she has had to do that. Becky is a survivor. She has had to look out for herself.”
Amelia Sedley played by Claudia Jessie
Amelia is in all the right circles and her good nature and beauty have made her very popular. A star student at Miss Pinkerton’s Academy, unlike her close friend Becky, she comes from a stable background and is ever the optimist.
Describing her character, actor Claudia Jessie says: “At the start of this story she is so sweet with a lack of real life experience. You could say she was naive. Amelia wants to see the world in a better light because that’s how she is.”
Her naivety is on display with her unrelenting desire to marry George Osborne, who she’s been promised to since brith, despite his many faults.
Jos Sedley played by David Fynn
Amelia’s brother, Jos has made a fortune while on service in India. But he is vain and self-important and lavishes money on extravagant clothes. However, none of it helps his luck with women, or does anything to relieve the fact that he is a coward.
George Osborne played by Charlie Rowe
Promised to Amelia since childhood, George does love her, but he can’t resist chasing after other women and loves himself even more. Spoilt his entire life, he is completely entitled and gambles away his money.
After years of being told to love Amelia, he selfishly takes advantage of her unceasing affection. However, Charlie Row says his selfishness is due to his privileged and care-free upbringing, and not part of his nature.
“I don’t think George means to be a terrible person. He just lacks experience,” he says.
William Dobbin played by Johnny Flynn
To complicate matters slightly, William is hopelessly in love with Amelia, but he is too shy to admit it. The son of a grocer, William was lucky enough to win a scholarship to pay for his education, but has carried his background with him as he climbed social ranks.
Actor Johnny Flynn says: “Dobbin’s behaviour reflects the sense that he is duty bound to honour his parents and their sacrifices in getting him to where he was at school and so on. He carries himself with excellent manners, dignity, graciousness and chivalry.”
Selfless and sincere, William is George’s best friend, and regardless of his feelings, he will do anything to make sure the marriage between Amelia and George goes ahead.
Sir Pitt Crawley played by Martin Clunes
Despite being an MP and the owner of the Queen’s Crawley mansion in Hampshire, his finances have collapsed. He also ignores his wife and he is described as an ignorant and boorish gentleman. However, it does not take very long for him to develop an interest in Becky.
None of that bothers Martin Clunes, though, who says: “I like the fact Sir Pitt is a man of the country. He is titled, landed and very wealthy, but gets amongst it.
“Sir Pitt is the real deal. Very straightforward.”
Miss Matilda Crawley played by Frances de la Tour
Matilda is Sir Pitt’s unmarried sister who is in control of her mother’s large fortune. Everyone’s favourite aunt, the family are all fighting to be named in her will. Matilda is aware of their selfish interest in her and despises them all as vain rogues.
Vain and snobbish herself, she takes Becky under her wing, admiring her ambition.
“Matilda probably was a little bit like Becky Sharp when she was younger,” Frances de la Tour says.
Rawdon Crawley played by Tome Bateman
Rawdon is Sir Pitt’s youngest son who is serving in the army. He may not be the brightest of the bunch, but he is definitely aunt Matilda’s favourite - a relationship he’s keen to keep because he’s not in line to inherit his family’s estates.
A good person by nature, if not a little careless, he is completely obsessed with having the best time possible and enjoys horses, gambling and most of all, women.
However, when he meets Becky he falls head over heels for her and can’t resist her charms.
″Rawdon is a man who knows who he is. But also knows what love is. Even though Becky is the smartest person in the room, her smartness is her downfall,” Tom Bateman says.
Miss Pinkerton played by Suranne Jones
Although not one of the main characters, Suranne’s Miss Pinkerton runs her own Academy for Young Ladies and is a fierce personality who does not want to be crossed.
Both Austere and snobbish, she only cares about those who have come from rich and respectable families. She detest those who do not, and has no time what so ever for Becky Sharpe.
‘Vanity Fair’ begins on Sunday 2 September at 9pm on ITV, with the second episode following on Monday.