I began watching with some trepidation, expecting it to be a hammy and dated production. How pleasantly surprised I was! Yes, the first episode was rather heavy-going and seemed to cram in an awful lot of characters and plots and sub-plots, but then so does the book. With both, a little perseverance made it all worthwhile as for the rest of the series I was transfixed by the story and, on the whole,the acting. I live in the area dubbed "Cold Harbour" in the novel so it was admittedly of particular interest to me, but apart from that, this was a wide-sweeping depiction of rural Britain of the time between the two wars. Had I not read the book I might have suspected that many of the feminist and political aspects had been inserted by Stan Barstow, it seemed so modern, but they were actually true to the content of the novel. Winifred Holtby was very politically aware and shared many of the views of Sarah Burton, the headmistress who strives so hard to inspire and enable her students and to ensure that they get the best possible education. More than this, the author does not just take the leftist approach and only depict the poor and needy, but also shows empathy for the struggle of farmers and landowners to survive and not go under and for the politicians who follow their beliefs. As to the complaint that the series was dated, I actually found that this enhanced the atmosphere. (No doubt the new series will be very pretty and glossy, but I doubt that it will feel as authentic.) The acting in the 70s version was very true to the characters, apart from the rather wooden performance of Nigel Davenport. Locations are true to the area and the atmosphere created was spot on. Don't be deterred, stick it out past the first couple of episodes, let it take over your imagination and you will be hooked.