Producer: Gerald Savoy
Director: Donald McWinnie
LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE/Episode 1 : Child Hunt/Intro by Alistair Cooke
Good evening, I'm Alistair Cooke.
Tonight we march--or skip--to a different drummer. To an author whose writings I don't believe have been dramatized before, certainly not on television. She is Nancy Mitford, who was one of the brightest of what, in the London of the 1920s and the early 30s, were known as the bright young things. Now this was a title applied by the newspapers to young, mostly society people, who in the wake of the First World War reacted to the enormous slaughter of it by defying their fathers' generation in an orgy of deliberate frivolity. After all, the young men who believed that life was real and life was earnest were rotting on the fields of France. So the thing was to live for the day, even more for the night in a whirl of dancing, drinking, and partying and ridiculous costumes.
But like all fashionable groups, such as the swinging Londoners of the 1960s and New York's beautiful people of the 1970s, most of the bright young people were sheep: wearing the same uniform, going to the same places, doing the same things, parroting the same slang. But there were originals of considerable talent. There was Evelyn Waugh and Henry Green and John Betjeman and David Cecil and Cecil Beaton and Noel Coward.
And there was Nancy Mitford--not a city type at all. She was a girl from an aristocratic family, bred in the bone to the country acres, of which her family owned an alarming number--the English county squiracy. Nancy Mitford was one of six daughters of Lord Redesdale who seemed in real life--as what Matthew Alconleigh will seem to us in this series--a caricature of a hearty, bloodsport, philistine, English chauvinist, who deeply believed, as the saying went, that all abroad's bloody.
Well, we come in on this patriarch, father to four daughters, uncle to a niece whose mother is so busy bolting from husband to husband that she can't house her offspring. We come in on him indulging a favorite eccentricity, which is to hunt his daughter, Linda, and her cousin, Fanny, with bloodhounds. Fanny is the narrator of this mad episode, which has its own private language. The girls talk about the arms or harms being the honorables, or daughters or sons of a peer. And it's full of the giggles and gabbles of young girls anywhere, who live in a world of their own.
Episode one, Love in a Cold Climate.
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