1 9 8 0 (UK)
8 x 50 minute episodes
This eight-part miniseries from Thames Television covered two of Nancy Mitford’s best-selling autobiographical novels – The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate – under the latter title.
TV writer Simon Raven (who wrote the script for the popular Edward and Mrs Simpson) put the two novels together for the new production. Premiering on Wednesday 29 October at 9.00 pm, one storyline followed the lives and loves of girls in a large family. The other centred on another bizarre aristocratic family.
Outstanding acting and excellent writing perfectly captured the mood of the period between WWI and WWII with a brilliant plot.
Vivian Pickles of the musically trumpeting voice and fierce regard made Lady Montdore the perfect dragon, and Richard Hurndall’s Lord Montdore, stiff and bloodless, did indeed seem to be made out of “wonderful old cardboard”. Rosalyn Landor’s Polly was an exquisite ice maiden, her utterances sharp and brittle as icicles and so beautiful that one couldn’t help but gaze and gaze.
Michael Cochrane’s Cedric, although of the required beauty, didn’t have the necessary physical and mental suppleness and fluidity – there was no flamboyance, which was key to his whole personality. Michael Aldridge’s Uncle Matt was nowhere fierce enough in the early episodes but was excellent as the relatively mellowed older figure who emerged in the course of the story, and he radiated the authentic eccentricity of the original in the novel.
Judi Dench was never less than perfect throughout as the vague, benevolent Lady Alconleigh, and Isabelle Amyes as Fanny, the self-effacing narrator figure, was exactly right, giving a beautifully unselfish performance, often in the background, but the perfect linking figure to carry the action forward.
The series was filmed in Winchcombe, a village in the Cotswolds where the Mitfords spent their childhood.
Lady Alconleigh (Sadie)
Lord Alconleigh (Uncle Matt)
Fabrice, Duc de Sauveterre
Duke of Paddington
Joshua Le Touzel
Sir Leicester Kroesig
Child Hunt | Coming Out | Rings and Things | The Merry Widower | Heir Apparent | Foreigners are Fiends | Monsieur Le Duc | In Love and War