Picks and Pans Review: A Woman of Substance
This British-made mini based on Barbara Taylor Bradford's romantic saga is better than a soap opera. It's a bubble bath in a marble tub: pure luxury. Jenny (Local Hero) Sea-grove is Emma, a hardworking maid who gets pregnant and then dumped by her squire's son; she vows to get revenge by building a business empire and ruining her rich employers. Hers is, for once, a good woman's role: Emma is strong, smart and aggressive but she remains loyal and loving to family and friends. The only problem: She's never allowed to fall in love and sleep with a man without being punished—either he dies or she gets pregnant out of wedlock. Strikingly beautiful, Seagrove carries the part—and the entire series—with grace and good acting. She does have some bad taste in men, notably boorish Barry (George Washington) Bostwick as her last love. But the rest of the cast, including Deborah Kerr as the older Emma and series producer Diane Baker as her best friend, Laura Spencer, is top-notch. And the production is gorgeous.