1 9 5 8 (UK)
8 x 30 minute episodes
Debuting on 12 September 1958, this eight-part BBC series was adapted by Constance Cox from the best-selling North Country novel by Frank Tilsley. It had a Victorian background, Lancashire accents, and a saga concertinaing forty years of family life into eight half-hour episodes.
The series spanned the years 1906 to 1946 and told the story of Jonathan Briggs, a newsboy who becomes a rich jerry-builder and Nellie Greenhalgh, who becomes his loyal and long-suffering wife. The story covers their childhood, courtship and marriage.
Roy Hines was good as Jonathan as a boy, as was Irene French as the child version of Nellie (a most detestable character). Anna Turner as Nellie grown-up was also an utterly unsympathetic character. William Lucas played the grown-up Jonathan – arch-twister, inveterate liar and master womaniser.
Other standout performances came from Jack Howarth as Mr Briggs and Fred Fairclough as Grandfather Briggs.
The action is set in the Lancashire village of Tollerton Clough, which is gradually swallowed up by the neighbouring industrial town of Newton. The search for Champion Road itself took a production crew over 500 miles while scouting locations before settling on a row of houses in Manor Road, Levenshulme, Manchester.
George A. Cooper
Jonathan Briggs as a boy
Nellie Greenhalgh as a girl