1 9 7 9 – 1 9 8 0 (UK)
The Mallens should have been drowned at birth, not made into two long series by Granada.
Based on Catherine Cookson’s bodice-ripper, this poor man’s Wuthering Heights portrayed life in High Banks Hall where an oversexed Victorian tyrant (John Hallam) had illegitimate children sprinkled all over the moors, a ruthless streak in his heart – and a white streak in his hair.
Hallam played the wicked Squire Thomas Mallen who raped and pillaged his way across the 19th-century Northumbrian moors, leaving a string of babies with the same white-streaked quiff (The ruthless squire’s distinguishing white streak through his black hair made him resemble a human badger)..
When Mallen eventually went bankrupt he moved in with his nieces and promptly raped one of them, who got pregnant and died. In the end, realising his wickedness, he committed suicide.
A second series followed focusing on Mallen’s deaf illegitimate daughter Barbara (Juliet Stevenson), who had a doomed romance with Michael Radlet (Gerry Sundquist) – the illegitimate son of her ruthless half-brother Dick (John Duttine).
Tragically Gerry Sundquist committed suicide in 1993, aged only 37.