Setting the Standard
Cold Comfort farm is based on the novel by Stella Gibbons in 1932. In 1928 Gibbons was working at the Evening Standard, which was serialising Mary Webb’s first book The Golden Arrow at the time. The novel painted a doom-laden view of life in the countryside (in common with works by other authors such as Thomas Hardy and D.H. Laurence). Gibbons hit upon the idea of parodying them and set to work…
Mind your language
To add flavour to the novel, Gibbons had the residents of Howling speak with a mixture of accents, most notably Sussex, where it was set and West Country. She also created her own authentic-sounding words. The definition of ‘mollicking’ is best left to the imagination – it apparently can lead to pregnancy!
Return to the Farm
Cold Comfort Farm had already been adapted for television by the BBC in 1968 Sarah Badel as Flora Poste, Brian Blessed as Reuben, Peter Egan as Seth, and Alastair Sim as Amos. Freddie Jones appears in both versions.
From Cowboy to Cowhands
This 1995 production was helmed by John Schlesinger famous for Midnight Cowboy, Yanks, Sunday Bloody Sunday and an adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (who’s work Cold Comfort Farm parodies).
Box Office Farm
So pleased with the end result, Schlesinger used his money to blow up a print of the film, in order that it could be given a cinema release. It went on to make $5million at the US box office.
If you want to see the locations use in the series, visit Brightling in East Sussex, which doubles for Howling.
According to Flora Poste, “Highly sexed young men living on farms are always called Seth or Reuben.”