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Hard Times (ITV 1977, Jacqueline Tong, Patrick Allen)



Period drama serial Hard Times was based on the novel by Dickens. In the 1850’s the Northern Gradgrind family are ruled with a rod of iron by the patriarch Thomas but his children prove problematic for him thanks to his daughters ill starred marriage and his sons financial problems.

Dickens wrote Hard Times in the early 1850’s and the town of Coketown was in reality the northern city of Preston where the Industrial Revolution was very much in full swing.

At the time Hard Times was considered to be the most expensive UK TV drama then made with a cost put on the production of four thousand pounds a minute. One of the major expensives was the five acre circus set which cost one hundred and fifty thousand pounds and featured a full on circus.

This slickly put together 4 part production was an emphatic hit for Granada studios and features a towering central performance from the legendary Patrick Allen.


production details
UK / ITV Network – Granada / 4×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 25 October – 15 November 1977

Writer: Arthur Hopcraft / Novel: Charles Dickens / Producer: Peter Eckersley / Director: John Irvin / Music: Malcom Arnold / Camera: Ray Goode

JACQUELINE TONG as Louisa Gradgrind
PATRICK ALLEN as Thomas Gradgrind
TIMOTHY WEST as Bounderby
EDWARD FOX as Harthouse
ALAN DOBIE as Stephen
URSULA HOWELLS as Mrs Gradgrind


Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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