Sunday, December 20, 2009

Miniseries: North and South (2004)

Miniseries: North and South
Year: 2004
Cast: Richard Armitage, Daniela Denby-Ashe, Sinéad Cusack, Rupert Evans
Episodes: 4

I've never enjoyed a costume drama as much as this! It should be waaay up there with Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility! It's a rare find, this miniseries wasn't widely advertised because it wasn't expected to be popular but BBC's message board crashed an hour after the first episode due to overwhelming public response. It was such a success that BBC released it on DVD. I don't think I'll be able to find it here in Malaysia though. Unless I order it. Heh.

It's based on Elizabeth Gaskell's classic, I'll try hunting for the book (reading online is just not the same!) Nothing I say will be able to do this series justice because British people are tonnes better at conveying their appreciation and adoration of this miniseries (I can find lots of information online about it, mostly from gushing fans). Not to be confused with the Patrick Swayze war epic of the same name, I'd much rather be watching this than the latter (no offense Patrick Swayze, RIP).

THE PLOT: North and South follows the story of Margaret Hale (Daniela Denby-Ashe), a young woman from southern England who has to move to the bleak North after her father decides to leave the clergy (He's a Dissenter). The family struggles to adjust itself to the industrial town's customs, especially after meeting the Thorntons, a proud family of cotton mill owners who seem to despise their social inferiors. The story explores the issues of class and gender, as Margaret's sympathy for the town mill workers conflicts with her growing attraction to John Thornton (Richard Armitage).

I like the different settings in this historical drama, from the grey-skies of the industrial North to gay, exciting London to the simplicity of the South. It's rather different from P&P, Emma and other costume dramas in this respect. They actually make cotton mills sound fascinating! Thumbs up to the director, Brian Percival, for the brilliant camera angles and for making this drama such an enjoyable watch.

The 'Look back at me' scene...

The accents might be difficult to understand at first. A sort of Borders English accent. Like when Thornton says, 'Look back at me', there's a mass fan discussion debating whether it's 'You're back in me' or 'Look back at me'. Hilarious!!! Not the mention the fan mob Richard Armitage gained through his first leading role. He's not the pretty boy type (kind of villainous-looking if you ask me) but girls always go for the bad boy so there you go. And he totally resembles Hugh Jackman (my high school crush, lol).

Who knew a man dressed like an undertaker could be so attractive?

I'd recommend this to anyone who likes 'Victorian era' costume dramas. It's on top of my list next to Pride and Prejudice (the movie, not the series. Colin Firth is just meh to me). It's seriously that good!!! I watched it on Youtube (thank you, kind soul) based on the rabid recommendations after I watched Emma.

Fan trailer:
(Warning! Incredibly mushy!)

Rating: 5/5 stars!


Ragtag said...

Welcome to the world of Richard Armitage fandom! I watched North and South in July 09 and have yet to see another one that affected me so strongly.

varms said...

I just finished it yesterday... Loved it!!! Err, thanks for reading my review! :)