Episode 1

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Episode 1 of 3

Duration: 1 hour

South Riding charts the story of Sarah Burton's homecoming to Yorkshire in 1934 after 20 years teaching in London and the Empire. After a fiery interview with a conservative interview panel, outspoken Sarah takes up her first headmistress-ship at Kiplington High School for Girls, determined to demonstrate to her new pupils that the future is theirs for the taking.

Change is on her agenda straight away - of the curriculum, of teaching methods, of the rundown buildings. Her hurry to transform the South Riding brings her into immediate conflict with landowner Robert Carne, a man tragically trapped in his past, and wins her the friendship of Joe Astell, a reforming socialist councillor bent on improving the lives of the Yorkshire poor by means of a spanking new housing estate to replace the rural slum known as The Shacks. As term begins, Shacks girl Lydia Holly arrives at the High School, with talent to burn and domestic circumstances that make it almost impossible for her to realise her dreams. Meanwhile, Sarah is brought closer to Carne through his highly-strung and delicate daughter, Midge.

More episodes

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    Read and comment on Kate's post on the BBC TV blog


Robert Carne
David Morrissey
Sarah Burton
Anna Maxwell Martin
Mrs Beddows
Penelope Wilton
Anthony Snaith
Peter Firth
Joe Astell
Douglas Henshall
Alfred Huggins
John Henshaw
Muriel Carne
Lydia Wilson
Mrs Huggins
Penny Layden
Mrs Oldroyd
Wendy Patterson
Bessy Warbuckle
Janine Mellor
Lydia Holly
Charlie May-Clark
Mrs Holly
Jennifer Hennessy
Gaius Drew
Ian Bartholomew
Lord Port
William Rodell
Renny Krupinski
Miss Sigglesthwaite
Brid Brennan


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