1 9 6 8 (UK)
3 x 50 minute episodes
Following the death of her parents, 20-year-old Flora Poste (Sarah Badel) finds herself alone with insubstantial means in 1930s London.
Fascinated by the little she knows of her distant relatives the Starkadders of Cold Comfort Farm in Sussex, she goes to stay with her aunt Judith Starkadder (Rosalie Crutchley) and a colourful array of cousins.
There she finds a variety of earthy, passionate relations, dominated by Great Aunt Ada Doom (Fay Compton) who long ago saw “something nasty in the woodshed” and now holds the rest of the household in thrall.
Other members of the tribe include Judith’s husband, farmer-preacher Amos Starkadder (Alastair Sim), their three children – the ambitious Ruben (Brian Blessed), fey Elphine (Sharon Gurney) and the incredibly sexy Seth (Peter Egan) – as well as Urk (Freddie Jones), Elphine’s “intended”, bawdy cowman Adam Lambsbreath (Billy Russell), and Meriam (Charlotte Howard), the Starkadders’ young daily who has a baby a year – usually by Seth.
Flora decides to put to rights the lives of all of them and that’s exactly what she does. She succeeds in removing the curse on the farm, frees the cousins from the clutches of the aptly named matriarch, Ada Doom, finds love and even helps old Ada overcome her self-imposed solitude.
Joan Bakewell provided the narration.
This short BBC series was broadcast over three weeks in June and July 1968.
Great Aunt Ada Doom (Starkadder)
Mrs Agony Beetle