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BBC ONE explores love across the social divide in an adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South


Category: TV Drama
Date: 30.04.2004
Printable version


Set against the backdrop of Victorian England's industrial north, Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage head a quality cast in a four-part adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's passionate love story, North and South.


The serial follows the fortunes of Margaret Hale, one of 19th century literature's most original heroines.


Played by Daniela Denby-Ashe (My Family, EastEnders) Margaret is a privileged, middle class southerner who is forced to settle in the northern town of Milton.


Her distaste for the town and its people extends to handsome and charismatic cotton mill owner John Thornton, played by Richard Armitage (Cold Feet, Sparkhouse), whom she believes epitomises everything she dislikes about the North.


Over time, however, Margaret begins to settle in Milton, her social conscience awakens and she befriends some of the local mill workers, learning about the poverty and workplace struggles they are subjected to.


As events conspire to throw Margaret and Thornton together, the two spirited characters have to overcome their repressed physical attraction for one another and conquer prejudices of class and circumstance.


Jane Tranter, BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, says: "North and South explores the simmering, restrained passion between two very different people who fall in love in spite of themselves.


"As with He Knew He Was Right and Daniel Deronda, North and South demonstrates BBC Drama's commitment to bringing lesser-known works to a wider audience.


"It is part of a triad of dramas - which include Blackpool and William Ivory's serial about love and sex - set in the North of England for BBC ONE later this year."


A strong supporting cast includes Sinead Cusack as Thornton's proud mother, Hannah; Lesley Manville as Margaret's mother, Maria Hale; Tim Pigott-Smith as Margaret's father, Richard Hale; Pauline Quirke as the Hale's maid, Dixon and Brendan Coyle as union leader, Nicholas Higgins.


Filming begins next week in Edinburgh and will move to Selkirk, then Keighley in Yorkshire, Helmshore and Burnley in Lancashire before concluding in London.


North and South is a BBC Production, adapted by Sandy Welch (Our Mutual Friend) and produced by Kate Bartlett (Canterbury Tales).


Brian Percival (Pleasureland, Clocking Off) is director and the executive producers are Laura Mackie and Phillippa Giles.



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Category: TV Drama
Date: 30.04.2004
Printable version

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