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Love in a Cold Climate

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Love in a Cold Climate      TV PG
Airing Mondays, February 11 + 18, 2002, on PBS
(Check local listings.)

Spanning the critical historical time from 1929 to 1940, three young women search for love in this high-spirited adaptation of Nancy Mitford's novels, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate.

For the earnest narrator, Fanny, a diffident teenager living with her crackpot Uncle Matthew Radlett (Alan Bates, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Hard Times) and distracted Aunt Sadie (Celia Imrie, Gormenghast), it's a simple matter of marrying a decent man.

From her safe domestic haven, she watches as her cousin Linda and dear friend Polly look for love in all the wrong places.

An impulsive romantic, the Radletts' daughter Linda (Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh) chases love throughout Europe until, penniless and in tears at a Parisian train station, she finds Mr. Right.

Meanwhile, the frosty beauty Polly (Megan Dodds), the only child of the Radletts' stuffy neighbors Lord and Lady Montdore (John Standing and Sheila Gish), contracts a marriage that shocks society and breaks her parents' hearts, driving them to seek out an alternate heir to the family fortune -- their obscure nephew Cedric Hampton (Daniel Evans), who turns out to be anything but the Canadian lumberjack the Montdores expect.

Rounding out this tale of privilege and passion are the debonair French duke, Fabrice (Samuel Labarthe); the outlandish aristocrat, Lord Merlin (John Wood); the cheerless capitalist, Tony Kroesig (Geoffrey Streatfield); the sexy communist, Christian Talbot (John Light); Fanny's flamboyant absentee mother, The Bolter (Frances Barber, Rhodes); and Linda's precociously independent little sister Jassy (Jemima Rooper, The Railway Children), who is patiently accumulating the wealth to run away and start a licentious life of her own.

With the advice of one of the surviving Mitford sisters, Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, the tale is told with scrupulous attention to period detail and features as its backdrop several English castles and country houses, including Batsford Park, where the Mitford family lived from 1916 until 1919.

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