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A Woman of Substance 

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2:05 | Trailer
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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More Like This 

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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

As of 2010, this is still the highest rated mini-series on Channel 4 in the U.K., peaking at 13.84 million viewers on the third night, January 4, 1985. This fact is still correct as of november 2019. 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

Gerald Fairley: [late in the film, after Emma has purchased everything the Fairleys once owned] How can you cold-bloodedly set out to ruin someone?
Young Emma Harte: That was my plan, but you did it yourself, really. I just helped you along the way.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Hold the Dream (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

Great Stuff !
17 August 2003 | by nicholas.rhodesSee all my reviews

This has just become available on DVD for a very modest price in the UK and I would highly recommend it to all those who love "Family Sagas". There is a sequel "Hold the Dream" but it is useless to watch this if you haven't first watched "A Woman of Substance". The whole show, almost ten hours viewing in all will keep you glued to your armchair, and as there are some sad moments along the way, it's better to have your supply of kleenex beside you before starting to view !

The main actors in the series are magnificent, I have always adored Deborah Kerr, notably in "An Affair to Remember", and "The Innocents" and here she plays out the very believable rôle of the Old Lady. Her diction and facial expressions are magnificent, and here performance here just adds more confirmation to the fact that she is a great actress.

Jenny Seagrove, strangely beautiful, acts out the young Emma Harte with great conviction and Liam Neeson, very handsome, puts in a magnificent performance as Blackie. Despite the story being very long, the fact that there are so many twists and turns, and the fact that is is filmed mostly in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, one doesn't get bored for an instant.........

Naturally, a story of this length is bound to have some inconsistencies for example, Jenny Seagrove's accent seems to vary from Yorkshire to Posh Southern England and back on several occasions ! We see heavy rain falling from a bright blue sky ! Because the film spans so many years, some people grow up too quickly and towards the end, it gets a little confusing. But there is no point in dwelling inordinately upon these defects. The general impression is one of great satisfaction.

I can only hope this film will be available in all countries with corresponding language tracks and subtitles so that all will be able to appreciate it. It is said to be a "woman's film" as it shows a woman's struggle from "rags to riches" but I, as a man, certainly enjoyed it !!!


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