Looking Backward: British Period Drama – the 21st Century Edition

North & South (2004)

‘North & South’ (BBC)

Three years before Cranford became an Emmy-nominated success on Masterpiece, this four-part miniseries exposed American audiences to Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell. Not to be confused with the 1980s Civil War epic, North & South dramatizes England’s 19th century regional divide through the tale of a Southern do-gooder  (My Family‘s Daniela Denby-Ashe) who moves to the North and falls for the taskmaster mill owner John Thornton (breakout Richard Armitage). Unlike many period dramas that luxuriate in polished surfaces and manicured drawing rooms, North & South focused on the gritty details of industrial England. (While the miniseries was set in fictional Milton, England, much of the movie was shot in Edinburgh, Scotland, for its Victorian look.)

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