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A Woman of Substance 

This mini-series charts the life of Emma Harte, from kitchen maid at the beginning of the twentieth century, to respected business woman and grandmother in the 1980s. From humble beginnings... See full summary »
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1  
1985  
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Jenny Seagrove ...  Young Emma Harte 3 episodes, 1985
Barry Bostwick ...  Major Paul McGill 3 episodes, 1985
Deborah Kerr ...  Emma Harte 3 episodes, 1985
Diane Baker ...  Laura O'Neill 3 episodes, 1985
Peter Chelsom ...  Edwin Fairley 3 episodes, 1985
John Duttine ...  Joe Lowther 3 episodes, 1985
Peter Egan ...  Adam Fairley 3 episodes, 1985
Mick Ford ...  Frank Harte 3 episodes, 1985
Christopher Gable Christopher Gable ...  Arthur Ainsley 3 episodes, 1985
Christopher Guard Christopher Guard ...  Gerald Fairley 3 episodes, 1985
Dominic Guard ...  Winston Harte 3 episodes, 1985
Del Henney Del Henney ...  Jack Harte 3 episodes, 1985
Gayle Hunnicutt ...  Olivia Wainwright 3 episodes, 1985
Barry Morse ...  Murgatroyd 3 episodes, 1985
Liam Neeson ...  Blackie O'Neill 3 episodes, 1985
Nicola Pagett ...  Adele Fairley 3 episodes, 1985
Miranda Richardson ...  Paula McGill Amory 3 episodes, 1985
Joris Stuyck Joris Stuyck ...  David Kallinski 3 episodes, 1985
Meg Wynn Owen ...  Elizabeth Harte 3 episodes, 1985
George Baker ...  Bruce McGill 3 episodes, 1985
Megs Jenkins ...  Mrs. Turner 3 episodes, 1985
Harry Landis ...  Abraham Kallinski 3 episodes, 1985
John Mills ...  Henry Rossiter 3 episodes, 1985
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Storyline

This mini-series charts the life of Emma Harte, from kitchen maid at the beginning of the twentieth century, to respected business woman and grandmother in the 1980s. From humble beginnings, Emma Harte (Jenny Seagrove) starts her business with a small shop, but over the next twenty years, she expands her stores and invests in the growing textile industry in Leeds. By the time of World War II, Emma is the head of a major retail and manufacturing empire, but she has struggled all her life to find love. After an illegitimate daughter and two marriages, she finally meets the love of her life, Major Paul McGill (Barry Bostwick), but their affair is cut short by a tragic accident, leaving Emma with his daughter. In the 1980s, Emma (Deborah Kerr) faces one of her biggest tests, her children's attempt to remove her as head of her company, but she is far from the senile old woman they think she is, she is determined to stop them at all costs. Written by Stacey Mitchell

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 November 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Woman of Substance See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(5 episodes) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The store in London which is supposed to be "Harte's", is actually the real Harrods London. Harrods allowed the producers to film the store with a "Harte's" sign in place of the Harrods sign, in green with gold lettering, and even in the same style of lettering. Interestingly, Harrods does not include an apostrophe on its famous sign, but the sign for "Harte's" has one. Harrods also gave permission for scenes to be filmed in the interior of the famous London store. See more »

Goofs

The transatlantic liner Queen Elizabeth on which Paul McGill says he is booked to go to the USA in 1939 was not completed until 1940 and did not enter commercial service until after WW2, about 1946. He may have meant the Queen Mary. See more »

Quotes

Young Emma Harte: [to Gerald, after he has attempted to rape her early in the film] I mean to ruin you... all of you. The entire Fairley family.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Hold the Dream (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the best miniseries of all time
18 December 2004 | by grand_duke_bjgSee all my reviews

"Woman of Substance" began as a hugely successful novel by Barbara Taylor Bradford and"successful" does not simply refer to its popularity. Bradford writes knowingly and convincingly about England's most difficult historical period: the 20th Century. Beginning in the then present of 1974,Bradford tells the story of Emma Harte, who begins life as a maid in the household of a local Yorkshire Squire in Edwardian times and end her life the mistress of a commercial empire worthy of Rockefeller. Not only do we see her triumphs, we see her errors and her failures etched in fine detail. Emma Harte is both noble and vengeful, bitter and loving; she is, in fact, one of the most complex characters of modern popular literature. One can dismiss Bradford's novel as "romance fiction" but it is not: Bradford presents a woman as complex as the Yorkshire she comes from.

The miniseries based on the novel captures it perfectly. Not only is Jenny Seagrove an outstanding Young Emma Harte, we see Deborah Kerr as the older Emma and a young Liam Neeson in a brilliant comic and dramatic performance as Emma's friend, Blackie. The movie shows us glimpses of such disparate history as the lives of British Jews and the development of the ready to wear industry, with outstanding performances by the supporting cast, including Diane Baker and John Mills. For any fan of sagas such as The Thornbirds or Rich Man, Poor Man, A Woman of Substance is a must see.


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