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The Mill

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Powerful historical drama series, based on the lives of real people, telling the story of young 19th-century apprentices taking their lives into their own hands for the first time

About the Show

Powerful historical drama series, based on the lives of real people, telling the story of young 19th-century apprentices taking their lives into their own hands for the first time

Series 2 Summary

The second series focusses on the lives of the Quarry Bank mill workers between 1838 and 1842, a period of turbulent social, political and industrial change.

It's the time of the great Chartist rallies and the birth of modern democracy, with the movement for the right for working-class men to vote sweeping the country.

But, four years after the end of the first series, the effects of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, which made a distinction between 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor, are starting to take hold and desperate economic migrants from the south of England are beginning to arrive at the mill in search of work.

  • Episode 1

    Four years on from the Poor Law Amendment Act, impoverished economic migrants from the south of England start to arrive at Quarry Bank Mill.

    The appearance of John and Rebecca Howlett with their children Jack and Timothy, and Will Whittaker and his grandfather Abe, causes unease in Styal village as the mill workers worry that these desperately poor families will drive down everyone's wages.

    The impact of the new law hits home for feisty apprentice Esther Price when she discovers that the beggar in the mill yard is, in fact, her sister Martha.

  • Episode 2

    Esther comes of age and leaves the apprentice house, but not before signing her contract of employment. Esther's new home is a small, dirty cellar in Styal village, but it gives her new freedom.

    She will be missed at the apprentice house, especially by Lucy, where bully Patience is making the younger girls' lives a misery. But Esther's head is still spinning from her initial encounter with handsome apprentice shoemaker Will.

    On the factory floor, John approaches Daniel for the first time since their fight to request that the machines run faster so that the workers will have to work harder. But Daniel refuses.

    Daniel also continues the fight for male suffrage, spending more time away from home at political meetings, while his wife Susannah struggles to adjust to life away from her friends.

    Meanwhile, Peter goes on a speaking tour with Hannah Greg to highlight the horrors of the apprentice system in the colonies. When he returns to Quarry Bank, Peter gets to know Miriam better, and she's horrified by the rumours that start circulating the next day.

  • The Mill

    Episode 3

    The Chartist rally at Kersal Moor is approaching and Daniel does his best to rally the workers despite a lacklustre response.

    Spurred to action by the injustices facing working people, Esther stage-manages a secret ballot in an attempt to convince William Greg to close the factory so that the workers can go to the rally.

    John Howlett isn't happy when Esther's romance with Will Whittaker intensifies. And Esther retaliates to Patience's escalating abuse of young girls in the apprentice house.

    Meanwhile, when Miriam offers to teach Peter to read, they grow closer, causing a stir in the pub. And Peter receives some good news from Hannah Greg.

    Susannah is becoming increasingly bored and frustrated with domestic life. She chats to John Howlett's wife Rebecca, who believes a woman's duty is at home, but Susannah's not so sure.

The Mill synopsis

Powerful historical drama series, based on the lives of real people, telling the story of young 19th-century apprentices taking their lives into their own hands for the first time

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2 Series, 6 Episodes

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The Mill

The Chartist rally at Kersal Moor is approaching and Daniel does his best to rally the workers despite a lacklustre response.

Channel 4 8pm Sun 3 Aug