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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

high drama from the first lady of period fiction

Author: didi-5 from United Kingdom
9 June 2009

Catherine Cookson was for many years the most borrowed and read writers from UK public libraries, and her novels remain popular years after her death. The TV adaptations which were made over a twenty year span generally do the books proud without making their thin plots seem ridiculous, and 'The Wingless Bird' is no exception.

Agnes Conway (Claire Skinner) is an independent young lady who works in her father's sweet shop. She's shielding her sister Jessie (Michelle Charles), who is having a secret romance with someone of a lower class, while herself engaging in an intrigue with the impossibly handsome Charles Farrier (Edward Atterton), the second son of a moneyed military family.

This is typical Cookson territory, really. There's high drama, attempted murders, disgrace, scandal, and a swathe of upper class snooty horrors including Charles' mother (Elspet Gray, perhaps still best known as mother to The Black Adder).

'The Wingless Bird' is engrossing, if predictable, fare, and is beautifully photographed and flawlessly played by its cast (Skinner in particular is excellent as are Anne Reid as her mother and Julian Wadham as the eldest Farrier son, Reg). A superior soapy drama.

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7 out of 26 people found the following review useful:


Author: mfsor from San Francisco Bay Area
19 December 2005

The middle classes were just as prejudiced as the upper classes were. The usual double standard, with the father having his mistress, and his wife bringing up the mistress's child, while refusing to show any sympathy for this child when she herself becomes pregnant. The attraction by the aristocrat for the shopkeeper's daughter did not strike me as real, nor did the aristocrat's mother refusal to see him. The premise that somebody from the real aristocracy would fall so easily in love with a shopgirl, well, I wonder how necessary it was to the story, whether something else could not have been invented for the purpose. The war scenes were well done. The lowest people of the classes were also a bit too nice (being dock people and all). But it was lovely to follow and the English towns were enjoyable.

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