North and South is a British television drama serial, produced by the BBC and originally broadcast in 2004. It follows the story of Margaret Hale (Daniela Denby-Ashe), a young woman from southern England who has to move to the North after her father decides to leave the clergy. The family struggles to adjust itself to the industrial town's customs, especially after meeting the Thorntons, a proud family of cotton mill owners who seem to despise their social inferiors. The story explores the issues of class and gender, as Margaret's sympathy for the town mill workers conflicts with her growing attraction to John Thornton (Richard Armitage).
The serial is based on the 1855 Victorian novel of the same title by Elizabeth Gaskell.
As the BBC had low expectations for the series, it was not well publicised and went almost unnoticed by critics. Audiences, however, were more receptive; hours after the first episode aired in November 2004, the message board of the programme’s website crashed because of the number of visitors the site was receiving, forcing host bbc.co.uk to shut it down. This sudden interest on the serial was attributed to Richard Armitage, a relatively unknown actor, whose portrayal of the emotionally restrained John Thornton drew parallels with Colin Firth's portrayal of Fitzwilliam Darcy on the BBC's 1995 mini-series Pride and Prejudice, and the reception he later received.
North and South was voted "Best Drama" in the BBC drama website's annual poll in 2004. Richard Armitage was voted "Most Desirable Drama Star" and "Best Actor", Daniela Denby-Ashe was voted "Best Actress" (Sinead Cusack came in third) and three different scenes were voted as the year's "Favourite Moments", with the final scene winning the number one spot.
Margaret Hale (Daniela Denby-Ashe) and John Thornton (Richard Armitage)
Richard Hale (Tim Pigott-Smith)
Maria Hale (Lesley Manville)
Dixon (Pauline Quirke)
Hannah Thornton (Sinéad Cusack)
Fannie (Jo Joyner)
Bessy Higgins (Anna Maxwell Martin)
Nicholas Higgins (Brendan Coyle)
Frederick Hale (Rupert Evans)
Henry Lennox (John Light)
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North and South - Broken Road
North & South--Best I Ever Had