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Episode #1.2 

Polly is cut off from the family and Linda realises she's not happy with Christian.


Tom Hooper


Deborah Moggach (screenplay), Nancy Mitford (novels)


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Episode credited cast:
Elisabeth Dermot Walsh ... Linda
Javier Alcina ... Juan
Rosamund Pike ... Fanny
Megan Dodds ... Polly
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frances Barber ... The Bolter
Cédéric Deruytère Cédéric Deruytère ... Young immigrant
Sara Weymouth Sara Weymouth ... Polly's Nurse


Polly is cut off from the family and Linda realises she's not happy with Christian.

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Release Date:

18 February 2002 (USA) See more »

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Although the action clearly takes place over several years the children and adolescents at Alconleigh do not look or behave any older over the course of the drama. See more »

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User Reviews

8 June 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

The cast was an interesting one and would have really worked well with good material. And Nancy Mitford's 'Love in a Cold Climate' and 'Pursuit of Love' have quickly become favourites as mentioned in my review for the brilliant 1980 version.

Sadly, while it is not awful or unwatchable this 2001 version hugely disappointed. There are some big pluses but more even bigger minuses, mixing it very mixed as a standalone. Always for judging adaptations on their own terms rather than book-to-book and other adaptations comparisons, but there is always an occasion or two when the source material or other adaptations are so good that it is hard to not make comparisons. Felt the same way with the two versions of 'Women in Love', of which the book is a masterpiece, the 1969 film every bit as much and the 2011 version underwhelmed.

Despite the negative tone, there are things here that are done well. Although slightly lacking the cosiness of the production values of the 1980 adaptation, the production values are really top-notch. The interiors, locations and scenery are sumptuous and atmospheric, the costumes are elegant and the whole adaptation is beautifully shot. The music is similarly evocative and is not overused or over-scored.

And there are some very good performances here. Alan Bates comes out on top with a delightfully contemptuous performance as Uncle Matt, with Sheila Gish not far behind as eerily iron-willed Lady Montdore.

Celia Imrie, Anthony Andrews and Frances Barber are strong though not with an awful lot to do. Of the central female trio of Linda, Polly and Fanny, whose performances generally were swamped by those in the supporting cast who came off well, while perhaps too beautiful Rosamund Pike is the only one of the three to stay true to her character (managing to make the least interesting character of the three in the books the most colourful and likable) and does so with real charm.

Not all the cast work however. Daniel Evans in the very truncated role of Cedric really overdoes the flamboyant nature of the character, and it came across as more embarrassing than funny. Megan Dodds comes over as hollow and fails to do very much with Polly, while Elizabeth Dermott Walsh is more (rather too much so) frivolous than rueful. The rest of the cast fail to register in very underwritten and colourless roles, even John Wood who still does his best.

The two main problems with this version of 'Love in a Cold Climate' are that it is too short, at only two and a half hours whereas seven or eight would have been better, and too rushed as a result of trying to cram in so much story in a short space of time. Adaptation-wise, it fails to capture both the details, what there is is too truncated and underdeveloped so it comes over as confusing for a first-time watcher, and spirit of both books. The bare bones is there, the meat isn't.

It also could have balanced the humour and pathos of the stories much better. Generally, there isn't enough humour and the adaptation feels too overly-serious and one-note. 'Love in a Cold Climate' gets light-hearted and more frothy as it proceeds and 'Pursuit of Love' darker, the 1980 version achieved this wonderfully, but this adaptation missed the point.

What there is of the humour fails to sparkle and is too heavy in timing, the froth is mawkish and the darkness and pathos lack atmosphere and genuine emotion. It was a mistake also to run the stories of both books concurrently than in sequence, because it did make things confusing and it caused some very abrupt and jarring tonal shifts.

All in all, a huge disappointment though with some merits. 5/10 Bethany Cox

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