Based on archives at the Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, Channel 4’s fact-based, if somewhat despondent drama, returned for a second series. The six episode run encountered the mill workers in 1838, their lives in upheaval due to the displaced immigrant workers (from the faraway country of er, Bedfordshire) threatening their very livelihoods
Oddly prescient – immigration, American banking crises and political upheaval weave their way throughout the lives of our characters.
So far, so horribly reminiscent of GCSE history. You’ll experience a horrible flashback the first time someone mentions the Poor Law Amendment Act.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Kerrie Hayes is excellent as the spirited Esther, standing up for herself to the factory boss and indulging in a bit of 19th century style flirting with new cobbler’s apprentice Will (Mark Strepan).
New characters were also brought into the mix including a family displaced from the South seeking to make their way through hard work and clean living.
The Mill has taken a lot of flak for being a bit too miserable, too gloomy. The truth is, TV viewers love gloomy, The Mill just isn’t the right type of gloom for them, it’s not a Broadchurch or The Village. Instead it is based on the real suffering and lives that people lived in England in the 19th Century. There are some good performances and themes if you are willing to look beneath the surface.
The Mill Series 2 is available to buy on DVD from 8th September.