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