(Don’t scroll down if you have yet to see the conclusion)
THE third and final episode of South Riding has just finished on BBC1.
I first saw it a few weeks ago and have watched it again several times since.
A beautiful, haunting last hour of television drama, adapted by screenwriter Andrew Davies from Winifred Holtby’s novel.
Both heartbreaking and uplifting.
With a spellbinding – and hopefully award-winning – performance from Anna Maxwell Martin as Sarah Burton.
Superbly supported by David Morrissey (Robert Carne), Douglas Henshall (Joe Astell), Penelope Wilton (Mrs Beddows), John Henshaw (Alfred Huggins), Peter Firth (Anthony Snaith) and Katherine McGolpin (Midge Carne).
With a special mention for Shaun Dooley (Mr Holly) and Charlie May-Clark (Lydia Holly), as father and daughter.
Gazing out across the waves and into the future from the roof of their clifftop railway carriage home.
It’s sad to think we won’t see these characters again.
Although the ending was near perfect, three hours of South Riding left me wanting more.
Which is probably how it should be.
Another triumph for British television drama, its writers, producers, directors, casts and crews.
Making some of the very best programmes in the world, despite financial challenges and the rise of reality TV.
Dramas with something important to say about the human condition.
While making us laugh, and cry, along the way.
As Sarah told her pupils, about to set off to face the ebbs and flows of life:
“Open your eyes, your ears and your hearts too.
“You can learn things from the most unexpected people.”