Friday, 25 February 2011

South Riding

On TV: Sunday 20th February 2011
Channel: BBC1 9pm
Episode Type: Episode 1 of a three-part series

In 1 Sentence: Period with a difference. 
BBC Summary: The lives and loves of a 1930s Yorkshire town explored in a passionate tale of politics in small places, written by Andrew Davies, starring David Morrissey and Anna Maxwell Martin.
1/3. Sarah arrives at the school, determined to transform both the teaching and the buildings.

My review: Different to any recent period pieces, South Riding sets the pace from the off. Beginning with the lovely Yorkshire scenery and traditional music and title sequence you’d be forgiven for thinking South Riding was just a bit of a sunday night romp. An old favourite like say, Cranford or Lark Rise to Candleford. 
But as we all know, sunday nights is when most are at home, wanting a bit of light relief before the week begins again. 
So South Riding fits perfectly... but has a slight edge. 

This appears when Sarah Burton enters and starts to speak passionately during the interview for the headmistress role of Kiplington High School for girls. Anna Maxwell Martin brings spark, wit and carries the entirety of the episode. 
Some promising subplots include Lydia Holly, a girl living in a shanty town who has a love of reading and is potentially very bright. Undoubtedly Sarah will unleash her full potential at some point. It also boasts an impressive cast, including a favourite of mine, Penelope Wilton. 

David Morrissey broodily stars as Robert Carne, a 'gentlemanly farmer'. He has flashbacks of his past with his troubled wife, which will surely develop as the series goes on. His daughter Midge has problems too, seemingly inherited from her mother, which creates some drama in the school. 

However, a drama wouldn’t be complete without a love triangle, and the man for the job is Joe Astell, played by Douglas Henshall. He doesn’t appear much in the first episode, but made an impression in the little screen time he had, which is promising indeed. 

Robert and Joe are both veterans of WW1 and Sarah lost her fiancee, so the war, inevitably, as a heavy impact, however South Riding has just the right amount of light and dark to work on a sunday evening. 

A short series at only 3 episodes - catch it will you can!
Score: 7.5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...