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For those of you wondering why the BBC would adapt a Civil War novel, this is not the John Jakes doorstopper or the 80s miniseries starring Patrick Swayze.This is a classic Victorian novel of the same name, which focuses on a middle class young woman who moves with her family from the south to a grim, industrial town in the north of England.Not long ago we had a splendid discussion about book to film adaptations, our favorites, and those to be avoided at all cost.When I made my list of favorites, I had only just barely watched the excellent BBC adaptation of North and South.

Everyone is rendered sympathetically, to some degree, even those who stand in opposition to each other.

We enter very few polished drawing rooms, witness not a single ball or country dance, and everyone speaks with accurately indecipherable Northern English accents.

Over the course of four installments, quite a few main characters die of various lingering illnesses.

It is a dark story and death lurks around almost every corner, though thankfully there are no mad wives in the attic. I mean, at one point, he actually removes his cravat...

But two hours go by before anyone smiles and you do begin to wonder if you're in for anything other than suffering and longing glances. I'm not going to go into any more detail for fear of spoiling it for the two of you who haven't seen it yet.

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