The Village (2013 TV series)

The Village is a BBC television series written by Peter Moffat. The drama is set in a Derbyshire village in the 20th century. The first series of what Moffat hoped would become a 42-hour televised drama, was broadcast in spring 2013 and covered the years 1914 to 1920. A second series was broadcast in autumn 2014, and continued the story into the 1920s.[1] Future series were to be set during the Second World War, post-war Austerity Britain, and so on.

The Village
Series title over a view of the village
Created byPeter Moffat
Written byPeter Moffat
Directed by
ComposerAdrian Corker
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes12 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
ProducerEmma Burge
Production locationDerbyshire
CinematographyDavid Odd
  • St. John O'Rorke
  • Anne Sopel
Running time60 minutes
Production companyCompany Pictures
Original networkBBC One
Picture format16:9 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release31 March 2013 (2013-03-31) –
14 September 2014 (2014-09-14)
External links
BBC One series webpage


The Village tells the story of life in a Derbyshire village through the eyes of a central character, Bert Middleton. Bert has been portrayed as a boy by Bill Jones, as a teen by Alfie Stewart, as a young man by Tom Varey, and as an old man by David Ryall. John Simm plays Bert's father John Middleton, an abusive, alcoholic Peak District farmer, and Maxine Peake plays Bert's mother, Grace.

Writer Peter Moffat has spoken of wanting to create 'a British Heimat', alluding to Edgar Reitz's epic German saga Heimat, which followed one extended family in a region of Rhineland from 1919 to 2000. Unlike Downton Abbey, this version of history is a working-class history—"domestics are expected to face the walls when the master walks by".[2]


The first series was filmed in and around Hayfield, Edale, Glossop, Chapel-en-le-Frith and Charlesworth in the Peak District, and in the grounds of Tatton Park in Cheshire, during October to December 2012.[3][4] The four first episodes were directed by Antonia Bird, her last work before her death the same year.

John Simm used local historian Margaret Wombwell's book Milk, Muck and Memories in his research for how the farmers from the period lived, and Moffat researched locally and at the Imperial War Museum.[2]

On 28 April 2013 the BBC Media Centre reported that "BBC One's critically acclaimed epic Sunday night drama series starring Maxine Peake and John Simm will return with six more episodes next year."[1] The second and final series began filming at the end of March 2014 in Derbyshire.[5] The stately home and grounds at Lyme Park were used as a new filming location.[6] It was confirmed by cast members on Twitter that filming for the second series had wrapped on 4 July 2014.[7][8]

A street from the series

Main castEdit


Series 1 (2013)Edit

# Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewing figures (millions)
1"Episode 1"Antonia BirdPeter Moffat31 March 2013 (2013-03-31)8.17[9]
Summer 1914. Twelve-year-old Bert Middleton is torn between his bullying father John, who wants him to help out on the family farm, and his teacher Gerard Eyre, who wants him to stay in school. His older brother Joe earns extra money as a gardener at the Allingham estate. The first bus arrives in the village bringing the minister's daughter, Martha Lane, whose progressive views conflict with the traditional ways of the villagers. When World War I begins, Joe joins up with the encouragement of his mother Grace, who wants him to escape the confines of the village. Joe sleeps with the Allinghams' troubled daughter Caro before he ships out.
2"Episode 2"Antonia BirdPeter Moffat7 April 2013 (2013-04-07)6.85[10]
January 1915. When his crop fails, John Middleton gets drunk and wanders onto the Allingham estate, where he is seen chasing a disturbed Caro Allingham in her night dress. Caro is discovered to be five months pregnant, and although she confides in her brother George that Joe Middleton is the father, her older brother Edmund calls in Detective Bairstow to investigate. John Middleton is under suspicion because in the past he impregnated his wife's sister, who committed suicide. An angry mob descends on the Middleton farm, led by another farmer, Rutter, who wants the land for himself. John tries to hang himself but is rescued by Bert and Grace.
3"Episode 3"Antonia BirdPeter Moffat14 April 2013 (2013-04-14)6.37[11]
March 1916. Grace Middleton and other local women go to work at a new boot factory opened by Arnold Hankin. Joe Middleton comes home on leave, bringing news of the death of his friend, Paul Boden. Joe learns that Caro had his baby, but the Allinghams have given the child up for adoption without her consent. Gerard Eyre is brought before a tribunal as a conscientious objector. Bert tries to help his teacher, but Eyre is taken away, leaving Bert his camera.
4"Episode 4"Antonia BirdPeter Moffat21 April 2013 (2013-04-21)6.19[12]
July 1916. Martha Lane tries to organise the women workers at the boot factory, with Grace's help. Caro Allingham's mental health declines, and a sadistic doctor subjects her to a regime that includes force feeding. When her brother George tries to intervene, Dr Wylie suggests he be sent off to war. The Middletons' baby daughter Mary becomes seriously ill with scarlet fever. John steals a small amount of animal medicine from the Allingham estate farm, but that same night one of the Allinghams' cows is mutilated. John is arrested, but the truth is revealed when Lord Allingham – who was disfigured in the Zulu War – kills the rest of the cows and then kills himself.
5"Episode 5"Gillies MacKinnonPeter Moffat28 April 2013 (2013-04-28)5.88[13]
Winter 1916. Grace meets with a union representative about working conditions at the factory, not realising that his aim is to send the women back to their homes when the men return from war. Joe Middleton comes home on leave after the Battle of the Somme and tries to conceal his shell shock from his family, but Grace knows something is wrong. Joe sets out to return to the front but is overcome by fear and is found crawling through a field by Bairstow. Bairstow had been wounded in the war and agrees not to turn Joe in but warns the family that he is now a deserter. Joe confides in his parents that he was punished for sending a coded postcard to Bert by being tied up and left exposed to enemy fire overnight. Blaming himself, Bert runs away but falls and injures his leg. Joe finds Bert and brings him home, but the military police are waiting at the farm. Joe is executed for desertion.
6"Episode 6"Gillies MacKinnonPeter Moffat5 May 2013 (2013-05-05)5.48[14]
1920. Eyre is released from prison but is unwelcome in the village. Bert invites Eyre to stay at the farm despite his father's disapproval. Eyre and many others fall ill with Spanish flu and the village is quarantined. Grace learns that Joe's name will not be on the new war memorial and speaks out at a meeting held by Edmund Allingham, the local MP. On the day of the unveiling, Edmund's mother Lady Allingham comes to see Grace and reveals the truth about Caro's baby. The Middletons discover that Joe's name has been included on the memorial after all.

Series 2 (2014)Edit

# Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewing figures (millions)
1"Episode 1"Luke WatsonPeter Moffat10 August 2014 (2014-08-10)5.26
1923. The Allinghams host a house party for Lord Kilmartin, a political sponsor who could appoint Edmund as Home Secretary. One of the entertainments is a manhunt, with Bert Middleton as the quarry. Bert hopes to win £5 so he can leave the village for a job in Sheffield, but his father also needs the money to rent a barn for their cattle. Bert wins, but Lord Kilmartin claims he cheated and refuses to pay. The Allinghams host a boxing tournament featuring a black boxer who is barred from boxing professionally despite his service in the Great War. Edmund uses the match as a political platform, but he is surprised when Labour candidate Bill Gibby also makes a speech, quoting from Shelley's poem The Masque of Anarchy. Grace Middleton interrupts the Allinghams' dinner party to demand her son's winnings, and Edmund relents, losing Kilmartin's support. Edmund's advisor Bairstow blackmails Kilmartin into promising Edmund the cabinet position. Bert decides to give the money to his father.
2"Episode 2"Luke WatsonPeter Moffat17 August 2014 (2014-08-17)4.39
While John Middleton struggles to keep his dairy business going without a barn, Grace is drawn to Labour candidate Bill Gibby and goes on a bicycle ride through the Peak District with him. Joy Dangerfield comes to the village to teach the family planning methods of Marie Stopes. Martha Allingham is unhappy in her marriage to her shell-shocked husband George and takes a job at the school with Gerard Eyre. Clem Allingham is encouraged by Bairstow to find a wife for her son Edmund, who is in love with another man, Robert. Arnold Hankin decides to open a dance hall, leaving his son Gilbert in charge of the factory, where an accident causes a pregnant Agnes to lose her job. Gilbert invites Agnes to the dance hall opening, and Phoebe invites Bert Middleton but is dismayed to discover his feelings for Martha.
3"Episode 3"Jamie StoneAmy Roberts and Loren McLaughlan24 August 2014 (2014-08-24)4.13
John Middleton makes a deal to sell milk at the Hankins' shop after Rutter's herd is stricken with tuberculosis. Grace tries to help Agnes get her job at the factory back, but Agnes goes to work as the Hankins' maid until her pregnancy is discovered by Norma. On polling day, Bill Gibby wins Edmund's seat, and after a delay, a Labour government is formed.
4"Episode 4"Jamie StoneAmy Roberts and Loren McLaughlan31 August 2014 (2014-08-31)4.3
1924 Agnes marries Gilbert Hankin. The Conservatives return to power and Edmund regains his seat. Edmund prepares to marry Harriet Kilmartin, and Lady Allingham is incensed as she realises that he won't give up Robert. Bert receives a postcard from the boxer Ghana Jones and decides to go with him to America, leaving Phoebe and his family behind. The villagers become angry when they are denied their traditional routes across Allingham land. Minister Robin Lane organises a peaceful protest, but Bill Gibby gets involved and calls for a mass trespass that turns violent. John Middleton sees his wife in Gibby's arms just before a blow to the head knocks him unconscious.
5"Episode 5"Dominic LeclercPeter Moffat7 September 2014 (2014-09-07)4.66
As John lies in a coma, gossip spreads through the village about the nature of Grace's relationship with Bill Gibby. Bairstow initiates a police investigation into the mass trespass, and Bert and Eyre are arrested for rioting. Pressured by his family, George Allingham testifies against them but has second thoughts and arranges to be found in bed with a maid in order to discredit himself as a witness and free his wife Martha to divorce him and marry Eyre.
6"Episode 6"Dominic LeclercPeter Moffat14 September 2014 (2014-09-14)4.27
John wakes from his coma but is having difficulty speaking. Grace worries that he remembers seeing her with Bill Gibby, and Bert becomes angry at his mother. Gibby plots to flood the village with a reservoir to provide drinking water for Sheffield, despite Edmund's objections. Martha and Eyre leave the village together and go to Africa. Caro decides she wants to find her and Joe Middleton's son, who was given up for adoption without her consent. Her family thwart her efforts and tell her the boy died, and she tries to drown herself but is rescued by George and Bairstow. Bairstow learns where the boy is and informs George, who brings Caro's son back to her, an angry Edmund tries to fire him but is thwarted when Bairstow threatens to reveal his true sexuality to the Daily Mail. Grace finds out about the reservoir and vows to stop it. She reconciles with John, while Bert decides to ask Phoebe to marry him.


First series
The Village received mainly positive reviews after the first episode; the Independent said "the story was ostensibly small and specific", but "then it opened up, cinematically, to the world beyond with panoramic shots of the English countryside – vast acres of fields, hills and sky. These suddenly striking images gave it an epic quality".[15] The Telegraph remarked on the authenticity of scenes, commending how "The Village refused to foist contemporary relevance on its audience" and describing it as "the most accomplished new drama of the year so far".[16]

The first series of The Village received three BAFTA nominations in the categories of Best Drama Series, Leading Actress for Maxine Peake and Supporting Actor for Nico Mirallegro.[17]

Second series
Before the second series aired, the Daily Telegraph reported that the new series would be more light-hearted.[18] The Guardian was more positive, saying that although the new series was still "bleak as bleak...Peter Moffat's bold idea of creating an epic 42-part saga documenting 20th-century rural England through one Peak District community begins to make sense and take on a new importance."[19] The Telegraph review was less positive than for the first series, saying it "has its moments but the end result is muddled" and giving it a two out of five rating.[20]


A Region 2 DVD of series one was released by Entertainment One on 8 July 2013.[21] A Region 2 DVD of series two was released 9 March 2015.



  1. ^ a b "BBC One announces second series as The Village moves into the roaring Twenties". BBC Media Centre. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b Gilbert, Gerard (14 March 2013). "A very British Heimat: Will BBC drama The Village be as epic as the German saga?". Independent. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  3. ^ "New BBC TV series being filmed in Dark Peak". 20 November 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  4. ^ Smith, Roly (April 2013). "The Village". Derbyshire Life. 78 (4): 118–121.
  5. ^ "Filming starts on second series of BBC One's The Village". BBC Media Centre. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Step Back in Time in Hayfield". Derbyshire Times. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  7. ^ Varey, Tom (4 July 2014). "Village2 wrapped".
  8. ^ Dynevor, Phoebe (4 July 2014). "That's a wrap on The Village!".
  9. ^ "Top 30 Programmes / BBC1 / Mar 25 – Mar 31". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB). Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Top 30 Programmes / BBC1 / Apr 01 – Apr 07". BARB. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Top 30 Programmes / BBC1 / Apr 08 – Apr 14". BARB. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  12. ^ "Top 30 Programmes / BBC1 / Apr 15 – Apr 21". BARB. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  13. ^ "Top 30 Programmes / BBC1 / Apr 22 – Apr 28". BARB. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  14. ^ "Top 30 Programmes / BBC1 / Apr 29 – May 05". BARB. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  15. ^ Akbar, Arifa (1 April 2013). "TV review: The Village gives viewers – finally – a proper, grown-up period drama". The Independent. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  16. ^ Lawrence, Ben (31 March 2013). "The Village: the most accomplished new drama of the year so far". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  17. ^ "Television Awards: Nominations Announced". BAFTA. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  18. ^ Stanford, Peter (5 August 2014). "The Village: I want TV misery, not bunting and laughter". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  19. ^ Wollaston, Sam (11 August 2014). "The Village review – still bleak but now with jazz". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  20. ^ Lawrence, Ben (10 August 2014). "The Village, series two, episode one, BBC One, review: 'shackled by history'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  21. ^ "The Village – Series One (DVD)". Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  22. ^ "BBC – The Village". TV Ad Music. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013.

External linksEdit