South Riding

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  • 2011
  • 1 Season
  • 7.2  (1,510)

South Riding is a British drama series aired on BBC One in 2011. Set in the early 1930s, the show is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Winifred Holtby. The series is directed by Diarmuid Lawrence and stars Anna Maxwell Martin, David Morrissey, and Penelope Wilton in lead roles.

The story revolves around the ambitious and determined Sarah Burton (Anna Maxwell Martin), an intelligent and outspoken teacher who lands the post of the headmistress in the fictional Yorkshire town of South Riding. The town is deeply affected by the economic depression of the time and is in dire need of someone to take charge and implement reforms.

Sarah Burton's arrival in South Riding is met with resistance from some of the local authorities who believe that a woman's place is in the home and not in a position of power. However, Sarah is not one to be easily deterred and sets out to make a positive impact on the community, especially on the lives of her students.

The primary conflict of the series comes from the clash between Sarah's progressive ideas and the conservative mindset of the town's council. While Sarah is determined to create a better future for her students and the town at large, the council is more concerned with maintaining their power and status quo.

David Morrissey plays the role of Robert Carne, a wealthy landowner and one of the members of the council. Robert is facing financial difficulties and is struggling to keep his estate afloat. His growing feelings for Sarah become a source of both hope and turmoil for him. Robert is torn between his loyalty towards his fellow council members and his desire to support Sarah's vision for the town.

Penelope Wilton plays the role of Mrs. Beddows, a wealthy widow and a member of the council. Mrs. Beddows is a staunch believer in social hierarchy and the importance of maintaining a status quo. Her patronage towards Sarah's school is founded more on her desire to maintain her image in society than any genuine concern for education.

The show also explores various other subplots, including the struggles of the working-class families, tensions between the farmers and the city dwellers, and the difficulties faced by the council in managing the town's finances. The characters are well-developed, each with their own motivations and struggles, making the series both engaging and relatable.

The show's production design and cinematography are top-notch, giving a visually immersive experience of the town and its inhabitants. The series doesn't shy away from depicting the harsh realities of the era, including the deep-rooted class divisions and the devastating impact of poverty.

In conclusion, South Riding is an engaging and well-crafted drama series set in a fascinating historical period. The strong performances from the lead actors, coupled with the richly-detailed narrative, make it a must-watch for fans of period dramas.

South Riding is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (3 episodes). The series first aired on May 1, 2011.

South Riding
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South Riding: Episode 3
3. South Riding: Episode 3
May 15, 2011
Sarah throws herself into work to take her mind off the pain of unexpected, unrequited love while Carne reluctantly comes to terms with the idea that his beloved Muriel can never be restored to him.
South Riding: Episode 2
2. South Riding: Episode 2
May 8, 2011
Sarah's ideals are turned inside out when an everyday tragedy hits close to home and she realises that it is not as easy as she thinks to change the world. At Maythorpe, Robert Carne is living with the consequences of a single act of madness almost fifteen years before.
South Riding: Episode 1
1. South Riding: Episode 1
May 1, 2011
Fiery teacher Sarah Burton comes home to the South Riding full of ambition and hunger to change the world while landowner Robert Carne is persuaded to send his delicate daughter Midge to school.
Where to Watch South Riding
South Riding is available for streaming on the BBC One website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch South Riding on demand at Amazon, Vudu and Google Play.
  • Premiere Date
    May 1, 2011
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (1,510)