When Mr. Hale, a clergyman, has a matter of conscience on his mind regarding his position, he uproots his family from Helston in the south of England to Milton, an industrial town in the north of England, to become a tutor. Mr. Hale's daughter, Margaret, takes an immediate dislike to Milton: she witnesses an employer of a cotton mill mistreating one of his employees. Margaret soon finds out that her father has taken a new pupil, Mr. Thornton, the same employer that witnessed mistreating his employee.
There are a couple of members of the cast that you might recognize: Mrs. Hale was played by Lesley Manville who was Mrs. Rose in Cranford; Nicholas Higgins was played by Brendan Coyle who was Robert Timmins in Lark Rise to Candleford and John Bates in Downton Abbey. Frederick Hale was played by Rupert Evans who was Frank Churchill in the latest adaptation of Emma.
|Margaret Hale (Right) and Mr. Thornton (Middle) in Milton:|
notice the grey overtones.
For about 75% of the miniseries, I really disliked Mr. Thornton... and even by the end, I only got to the point where I admitted that he was "okay". It seemed like he couldn't control his temper most of the time, or he would be extremely rude. By the end, when he started to get along with Nicholas Higgins, a former union leader, and how he started to take interested in the newly orphaned children that Nicholas was taking care of, he started to get a little more humanity to him and became a little more likable. To me, it was a bit difficult to like his character throughout the entire miniseries.
It took me a little bit to like Margaret, but it didn't take too long. For a while, I thought that she took any opportunity of butting her way into conversations between Mr. Thornton and her father, which kind of caused me to think that she was looking for any chance to argue with Mr. Thornton. By the second half of the miniseries, she stopped that and even started to like Mr. Thornton. Overall, I like her character, but like any character in literature, she has her faults like the rest of us.
|Helstone in the South|
I thought the costuming was good. I liked some of Margaret's outfits. My favorite one has to be the white blouse with the dark green skirt. Some of her dresses I really didn't care for (like the dress she had during the final scene at the train station: I really didn't like that one), but for the most part, I liked her dresses. Some of Fanny Thornton's dresses were also nice (but I disliked her character).
The music was mostly very serious since the story was a serious story. Most of the pieces were slow moving and had a lower tone to them.
I liked North and South, but I wouldn't say it's my favorite. Spoiler Towards the end, it seemed like characters were dying off one by one. At least four prominent characters died by the end and one was about to die in a short while. End of Spoiler I tend to like more lighthearted stories, so it can be difficult for me to like a more serious storyline, but I did like it. It kept me interested throughout the entire miniseries. There are some implications, violence and people do die in this miniseries, but other than that there really isn't anything too bad in this miniseries.
North and South is available on a two disk DVD. It is 235 minutes long and has four episodes.