It was 1978, I was 14, the fabulous Kate Bush had been in the charts with her wuthering heights, my older Bronte-mad sister was having us drive across the Pennines from Manchester to Haworth virtually every weekend, (I'm sure she only went to university in Bradford when she did as it was near the west riding, the real Bronte country) I became transfixed with this wonderful story, having only known it from the Laurence Olivier film, which as anyone who truly loves the book will know is a California-desert pale imitation and barely even a quarter of the story. This production which I haven't seen in 28 years, (Oh my God thats a long time!) I particularly remember for Ken Hutchison as Heathcliff, this is what Emily Bronte had in mind, everything you imagine.Passionate,intense,dangerous, someone to care about, have real empathy with as well as being horrified by. I wanted to be Heathcliff so bad that I immediately wanted to be an actor, so I could do this. 14 years later they let me into a drama school. It was all down to this! It's difficult to describe the effect the whole production had on me. Particularly remember the dismally bleak, dark interiors, (obviously studio bound, but all the better for it) Heathcliff carrying a candle in his hand without a holder, with all the wax dripping down his arms, what I mean was the sense that he'd just given up after Cathy's death and had nothing else to live for was more perfectly caught here. Kay Adshead was beguiling as Cathy and more importantly showed that she was beyond even a soul mate, but indeed was Heathcliff as the character means. This has together with great sense of time, place and scenery, 5 dimensions to other dramatisations barely 1. The most recent big screen version, although with hopelessly miscast Ralph Fiennes, had a very clever adaptation into 2 hours of virtually the whole story,with an interesting bit at the beginning with the beautiful Sinead o'Connor as Emily visiting what she imagines to be Wuthering Heights. Also the 1970 version had fabulous music, dark and brooding actual Yorkshire locations and the pretty,lovely Anna Calder-Marshal as Cathy. As Heathcliff Timothy Dalton looked right and caught a bit of the self destructive power of love and anger, (Though still nowhere near as much as Ken.) The 1978 BBC version will I suspect be never bettered, certainly in my mind anyway.
Whatever happened to Ken Hutchison? I'd like to buy this brilliant Scottish actor quite a few pints!