About Cold Comfort Farm

On the death of her parents, Flora Poste decides to visit her relatives at Cold Comfort Farm in the fictional village of Howling in Sussex. Here she sets about trying to sort out their problems with the application of common sense and by bringing the farm firmly into the 20th Century. Find out more about the novel and this adaptation…

Rufus Sewell and Kate Beckinsale

Rufus Sewell and Kate Beckinsale

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.

Location, location

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.”