The series ends on a positive note.
Channel 4’s factual drama series The Mill concluded on a very inspiring note. It’s not easy to speak out against the wrongs and make a stand, but Esther shows that it can be done!
The Mill has some of the worst villains in a drama, caused by the blatant injustice that was happening on screen every week. Esther (Kerrie Hayes) and Lucy (Katherine Rose Morley) try to make Mr. Timperley (Kevin McNally) accountable for his actions concerning the disappearance of Catherine. Throughout the episode Timperley tries to worm his way out, as Esther keeps trying to be heard.
Samuel Greg (Donald Sumpter) who’s gravely ill, is the only one who’s taking Esther’s side when he hears about what has happened to Catherine, and that his son Robert (Jamie Draven) was responsible for Esther’s punishment. Outraged, he promises to have a word with his son, but sadly dies before he has a chance.
Parliament did not pass the Ten Hour Bill, which means to Robert Greg’s delight that children would still be working 12 hours a day at the mill. John Doherty (Aidan McArdle ) however is still believing in the cause, and remains as determined as ever that changes are needed. He plans a Union meeting on the day of Daniel’s (Mathew McNulty) wedding to Susannah (Holly Lucas). But Daniel is hesitant to participate, as he’s just been offered a secure future for his family, if he takes the share in the patent for the new loom.
Being cold hearted and shrewd, Hannah Greg’s (Barbara Marten) actions are just as bad as her son’s Robert, as she refuses to see the bigger picture when it comes to the welfare of the workers. Only thinking of the reputation of the mill, she asks Tommy (Connor Dempsey) to lie to Esther, when her sister Martha (Vicky Binns ) comes looking for her from Liverpool, having found one of her notes.
Martha is horrified when she hears she can’t see her sister, asking Mrs. Greg if they’re running a prison or a place of work. Hannah’s answer that it’s “a home”, is very chilling indeed. This encounter has lots of consequences, as Martha goes to Doherty and tells him what she’s found out at the mill. An open letter is published, shaming the actions of the Greg family.While Thomas is being severely punished for his disobedience, Timperley takes the hand Daniel made, and sends the lad to the workhouse.
With the injustice increasing by the minute, the workers of Quarry Bank Mill take matters into their own hands thanks to the leadership of Daniel and Esther. Robert Greg warns that everyone who ends up going to Doherty’s meeting will be dismissed. Forced to choose between the security of his family and his principles, Daniel joins Doherty. Which shows what a brilliant character he is, compared to the horrid Greg family.
Kerrie Hayes gives an exceptionally inspiring performance as Esther makes a stand against the masters. Together with the rest of the workforce, they’ve come to the conclusion that enough is enough, and break out of their locked up rooms to confront Timperley head on. A veritable lynch mob goes searching for Timperley, after Hannah discovers the truth about what happened to Catherine. At this stage, I felt a bit disappointed they didn’t go after her too, as she has much to be accounted for as well.
Furthermore they go to Doherty’s meeting, not longer caring about Robert’s warning of dismissal. Fearless Esther is ready to tell everyone that she is the girl mentioned in the article, as she finally meets her sister Martha. Faced with the prospect of losing his reputation, Robert compromises with Esther. She’s willing to gloss over some facts, in return for the burning of the documents, and the return of Daniel and Susannah.
The series ends with Esther finally knowing who she really is and where she comes from, with the knowledge that she has a loving family standing by her. It would be nice to see a sequel, hoping the situation for the workers would continue to improve, and that Timperley would be brought to justice.
The Mill showed a great insight in the 1830’s Industrial Revolution in rural England, combining great storytelling with memorable characters. It was very much a story of good versus evil, and it was lovely to see that good people did triumph in the end.