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Masterpiece Classic; South Riding


WGBH PACKAGED MASTER (HD BASE) South Riding, Episode 1 of 3

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Masterpiece Classic
South Riding
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Series Description

Each winter and spring, Masterpiece classic features signature period dramas. For 2009, Masterpiece classic premieres January 4th with host Laura Linney.

Emmy Award-winning actress Laura Linney will be the new host of Masterpiece classic, making her first appearance when the series premieres with a new adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles on January 4, 2009 on PBS.

In 2009, the series returns with works by three beloved British authors, including Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles (January 4 and 11), starring new Bond girl Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace); Emily Brontë's haunting Wuthering Heights (January 18 and 25) with Tom Hardy (The Virgin Queen) as Heathcliff and newcomer Charlotte Riley as Cathy. In February, Masterpiece classic launches The Tales of Charles Dickens with a bold new adaptation of Oliver Twist, starring Timothy Spall (A Room with A View), and Sophie Okonedo (The Secret Life of Bees) in a heartbreaking performance as Nancy. In March, there will be a repeat of the acclaimed David Copperfield starring Daniel Radcliffe in the role that led him to Harry Potter. Beginning on March 29 is the highly anticipated five-part miniseries Little Dorrit from Bleak House screenwriter Andrew Davies, starring Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley, The Way We Live Now), rising star Claire Foy as Amy Dorrit, and Tom Courtenay (Billy Liar, A Rather English Marriage) as her father. On May 3, The Incomplete Charles Dickens closes with a star-studded The Old Curiosity Shop, with Derek Jacobi, Toby Jones (W., Infamous), Zoë Wanamaker (Harry Potter, Gormenghast), and Gina McKee (The Forsyte Saga). Series release date: 1/4/2009

Program Description

Broadcast Sundays in May: May 1, 9 and 15, 2011

Anna Maxwell Martin (Bleak House) and David Morrissey (Sense & Sensibility) lead the cast in Andrew Davies's (Bleak House, Little Dorrit) adaptation of Winifred Holtby's moving love story, which provides a panoramic portrait of a Yorkshire community in the 1930s. A lively heroine arrives in Depression-era Yorkshire to shake up education at a school for girls, sparking conflict with a stern landowner. Anna Maxwell Martin (MASTERPIECE CLASSIC “Bleak House”) stars in this three-part miniseries based on the beloved 1936 novel by Winifred Holtby, adapted by celebrated screenwriter Andrew Davies (MASTERPIECE CLASSIC “Little Dorrit,” “Pride and Prejudice”). Also starring are David Morrissey (MASTERPIECE CLASSIC “Sense and Sensibility”) as the enigmatic gentleman farmer who crosses swords with the new headmistress before falling in love with her and Penelope Wilton (MASTERPIECE CLASSIC “Downton Abbey”) as a progressive town councilwoman. Laura Linney hosts.

Episode one: Ambitious teacher Sarah Burton (Anna Maxwell Martin) returns to her Yorkshire origins to apply for the job of headmistress at the local girl’s school. Landowner Robert Carne (David Morrissey) mistrusts all she stands for.

Episode two: At risk of losing his estate to pay family medical bills, Robert (David Morrissey) travels to Manchester seeking work. There, he chances to meet Sarah (Anna Maxwell Martin), and they have a drink together.

Episode three: As social improvements move forward in South Riding, Robert (David Morrissey) faces ruin after a principled stand against political corruption, and Sarah (Anna Maxwell Martin) confronts a crisis - both personal and professional.

A co-production of BBC Wales and WGBH Boston

© BBC MMXI 2011



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Broadcast program

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Eaton, Rebecca (Series Producer)
Chicago: “Masterpiece Classic; South Riding,” 05/01/2011, GBH Archives, accessed December 8, 2023,
MLA: “Masterpiece Classic; South Riding.” 05/01/2011. GBH Archives. Web. December 8, 2023. <>.
APA: Masterpiece Classic; South Riding. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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