North and South

Scene from "North and South"  John Thornton behind Margaret Hale
Scene from "North and South" John Thornton behind Margaret Hale

Television Series Review

In 2004, BBC (British Broadcast Corporation) televised the 4 hour mini-series North and South. I was one of the fortunate to catch North and South in 2005 when shown on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) and loved it. Recently, I viewed it "instantly" on Netflix and found it better than remembered; reacquainted myself with a great story.

North and South is a fabulous 19th century historical-romance piece about a young woman, Margaret Hale (played by Daniela Denby-Ashe) from Southern England who is relocated to Northern England when her father, Richard Hale (portrayed by Tim Pigott-Smith) decides to become a professor in the North instead of a Minister in the South. This mini-series portrayal of how the differences of the two areas make Margaret Hale feel and affect her are very inspiring and touching; especially for those of us who have been forced into relocation by parents because of change in occupation, divorce, or other reasons.

North and South further brought up how first impressions can be misleading, how getting to know someone takes time, and how a person can change their feelings about someone. This television series through its plot and characters' interactions discussed how co-workers in the Cotton-Mill Industry should attempt to talk first to their employer before striking. North and South expertly pointed out how striking can affect both workers and employers; the pro's and con's of a strike.

The most welcome surprise of this series was Richard Armitage's (most know him as Guy de Gisborne from Robin Hood, another BBC television series) impeccable portrayal of the honorable Northern Cotton-Mill owner and Magistrate John Thornton who falls in love with Margaret Hale. Richard Armitage truly showed his expertise in the acting field with this role. Hats off to his and the rest of the cast's expert performances!

In order of appearance, the cast also included: Lesley Manville (Maria Hale, the mother of Margaret Hale), Sinead Cusack (Hannah Thornton, John Thornton's stern yet well intentioned mother) and Jo Joyner (Fanny Thornton, John Thornton's flighty sister).

North and South is on DVD. It is rated NR, very common for TV series and programs. There is adult subject matter and the poor is portrayed realistically for the period which might disturb young children viewers. This parent sees North and South as a PG-13 piece; if she were to personally rate it. Another recommendation of mine for all parents is to view this first to determine suitability for your family. Parental discretion is advised.

I highly recommend this excellent TV series. Do you like works by Jane Austin, Charles Dickens or Charlotte Bronte? North and South is definitely a "must-see!" For those who especially love historical fictional pieces this is definitely something you will not want to miss. If a romantic at heart, then North and South is a great choice.

Enjoy!

5 stars for North and South

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