Most helpful positive review
116 of 117 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2010
It is great to see this classic series finally available on DVD. It was made and transmitted back in 1976. And hasnt been repeated or seen since. (to my knowledge)
The series is based on the Arnold Bennett novels, Clayhanger, Hilda Lessways, These Twain and Roll Call. This series is a very long 26 episode epic. At the time it was created by itv as a sort of answer to the Forsythe Saga. The setting is the "Five Towns" Bennett`s vision of the Potteries of the Midlands area. The area around todays Stoke on Trent. The main centre is Bursley. Here the Clayhanger family is headed by the industrious Darius Clayhanger, a self made printer who wants his son, Edwin, to follow in his footsteps. Edwin has his own ideas. And sees himselt as an architect instead. Also in Edwin`s life is Hilda Lessways, who marries her boss, newspaper propriertor George Cannon, only to find the marriage bigamous. Edwin and Hilda eventually wed but nothing goes smoothly for them either. We see their lives together as the decades pass and we witness the age of industrial, social and religious change. The story also moves to Brighton where Cannon runs a boarding house and Dartmoor where he is imprisoned following his bigamy.
This series was a improvement on an earlier adaptation by the BBC back in 1959 where Judi Dench had played Hilda. But on that occasion the BBC had only looked at two of the books. (Clayhanger and Hilda Lessways) This 1976 itv version was more complete.
The series is in colour and the picture and sound are excellent. And the restoration and transfer have been good.
This drama does not have the big budget that a modern series might have, and doesnt have special effects either, but it is very good.
The series is about provincial life with two generations of a victorian family.
It stars William Relton, Harry Andrews and Peter McEnery, and Janet Suzman. Also look out for Dennis Quilley and Clive Swift and Denholm Elliot.