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South Riding by Winifred Holtby gets second life with BBC series


South Riding by Winifred Holtby was first published, posthumously, in 1936. The story is about a young headmistress living in a fictional Yorkshire neighbourhood; and the book itself has lived a fairly innocuous life in the midlist for over half a century until last week when Andrew Davies three part mini-series began to air on BBC One.

Sales of the book have spiked in a serious way, the novel was the bestselling book on AbeBooks.co.uk last week (on the heels of the first BBC episode) and it looks as if it will be one of our bestsellers on AbeBooks.co.uk in February.

This was not the first adaptation in the books history. The novel was first adapted for the big screen in 1938 starring Edna Best as Sarah Burton (the headmistress), Ralph Richardson as Robert Carne (a man tormented by his marriage) and Edmund Gwenn as Alfred Huggins (the sanctimonious hypocrite). Then in 1974 it was adapted for television by Yorkshire Television. BBC Radio 4 has done a radio version starring Sarah Lancashire and Philip Glenister in 1999.

With the success of South Riding The Guardian chose 10 more neglected literary classics for the Beeb to revive

Neglected English Reads:
south-riding-by-winifred-holtby1. The Real Charlotte by Somerville and Ross
2. The Vet’s Daughter by Barbara Comyns
3. The Rector’s Daughter by F.M. Mayor
4. School for Love by Olivia Manning
5. The Wife by Meg Wolitzer
6. A Way of Life, Like Any Other by Darcy O’Brien
7. The Odd Woman by George Gissing
8. The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
9. Ann Veronica by H.G. Wells
10. The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski

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