1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. However, scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains - the reclusive and skillful Mr Norrell (Marsan). His displays of magic soon thrill the nation. In London, he raises the beautiful Lady Pole (Englert) from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French.
Soon the cautious and fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange (Carvel). While trying to secure his beloved Arabella's (Riley) hand in marriage, he meets a vagabond, the magician of Threadneedle Street, Vinculus (Paul Kaye), who tells him he is destined to be a great magician. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very antithesis of Norrell. A dangerous battle ensues between the two great men. Their obsessions and secret dabbling's with the dark arts will cause more trouble than they can imagine