Novelist Winifred Holtby died of kidney disease in 1936, at the time she was putting all her energies into what would become her most famous book, South Riding, published in 1937. This Yorkshire set saga was clearly wonderful TV material but it wasn’t until 1974 that it reached the box in the corner (there had been a movie in the late 1930’s which never did the book justice).
This 13 episode series, which was adapted by the brilliant Stan Barstow, was very popular in its day and still has resonance for a modern day audience (hence the fact that it was recently revived by the BBC) with its stories of hard times and class struggles in Yorkshire society, it’s is similar in tone actually to other series of the day such as When the Boat Comes In or Sam.
The wonderful Dorothy Tutin headlines as Sarah Burton who rises to become headmistress of a girls school in the Yorkshire coastal town of Kiplington and finds not only love (with a married Tory landowner no less, Nigel Davenport as Robert Carne) but also a major reason for her being in battling the injustices which are rife in the district.
South Riding builds to a natural conclusion that doesn’t necessarily end the way you think it will. It also has that nice seventies film and video flavour.
UK | ITV Network – Yorkshire
RUNNING TIME: 60 minutes | NUMBER OF EPISODES: 13 | AIRDATES: 16 September – 9 December 1974
WRITER: Stan Barstow | NOVEL: Winifred Holtby | PRODUCER: James Ormerod
DOROTHY TUTIN as Sarah Burton
HERMOINE BADDELEY as Mrs Beddows
NIGEL DAVENPORT as Robert Crane
JUDI BOWKER as Midge Carne
JOHN CATER as Alderman Anthony Smith
RAY MORT as Barney Holley
CLIVE SWIFT as Councillor Alfred E. Huggins
LESLEY DUNLOP as Lydia Holly
1. THE POWERS THAT BE (16 Sep 1974)
2. A LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY (23 Sep 1974)
3. THOSE FOR, AND THOSE AGAINST (30 Sep 1974)
4. A TIME TO LIVE AND A TIME TO DIE (7 Oct 1974)
5. THE FACTS OF LIFE (14 Oct 1974)
6. IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH (21 Oct 1974)
7. DREAMS AND DESTINATIONS (28 Oct 1974)
8. BEGGARS AND CHOOSERS (4 Nov 1974)
9. TAKE WHAT YOU WANT AND PAY FOR IT (11 Nov 1974)
10. THE LORD GIVETH AND THE LORD TAKETH AWAY (18 Nov 1974)
11. THE NUMBER OF OUR DAYS (25 Nov 1974)
12. FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES (2 Dec 1974)
13. GIVE US THIS DAY (9 Dec 1974)