A Horseman Riding By TV Series Overview (1978)


Drama following the life of Paul Craddock, who fought in the Boer War and was severely injured. Upon returning home he becomes squire of a long neglected Devonshire estate.


Having been invalided out of the Boer War, Paul Craddock buys Shallowford, a manor house and estate in Devon, with money from his late father’s scrap-yard business. He soon becomes a much-respected “Squire” who is determined to treat all his tenant farmers fairly, unlike his predecessor.


  • Nigel Havers … Paul Craddock.
  • Glyn Houston … John Rudd.
  • Prunella Ransome … Claire Craddock.
  • Valerie Holloway … Cissie Potter.
  • Wendy Holloway … Violet Potter.

Book Series

A Horseman Riding By is a 1966 novel sequence by R. F. Delderfield that starts in 1902 at the tail end of the Boer War and is continued in the sequel to end in the summer of 1919. It is set in Devon in the early 20th century. It was to some extent an elegy for the traditional society which was blown apart by the First World War. Delderfield wrote at least one sequel: some accounts describe it as part of a trilogy, but this may be due to confusion because it was published in two parts in the US.

Long Summer Day

The first novel is Long Summer Day. The novels are all set in south Devon, where the main character, Paul Craddock buys an estate after serving with the Imperial Yeomanry in the Boer War. The first novel covers the years of the long “Edwardian afternoon” after the death of Queen Victoria, including the postponement of the coronation of King Edward VII, the Liberal landslide of 1906 and the coronation of King George V. The story follows the trials and tribulations of Craddock, and later his second wife and their growing family.

Post of Honour

The second novel Post of Honour covers the years from 1914 through to May 1940 with the Dunkirk evacuation. However the first chapter catches up with the main characters and events from 1911 to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The second novel finishes with the “Miracle of Dunkirk” with Craddock’s eldest son Simon (his son from his brief first marriage) returning safely from France.

The Green Gauntlet

The third and final novel The Green Gauntlet is in two sections. Part one picks up the story of the Craddock family in February 1942 and runs through the rest of the Second World War to the culmination of the D Day landings. The story then takes us on to the end of the war just before V.E. Day. Part two gets underway with the V.E. Day celebrations in May 1945, then follows the Craddock family fortunes through the 1950s and up until the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965. Paul Craddock dies shortly afterwards.


After a three-part radio adaptation broadcast on the BBC Home Service and BBC Radio 4 in 1967, starring William Lucas, Josephine Tewson and Hilda Schroder, the first novel and the World War I portion of the second were dramatised as a BBC 13-part television serial, starring Nigel Havers, Prunella Ransome and Glyn Houston, broadcast on Sunday evenings from 24 September 1978. The series was never repeated on any BBC channel, but was released on DVD in 2004. The BBC did not adapt the remainder of the series of novels, but a few years later they adapted two more of Delderfield’s novels, To Serve Them All My Days and Diana.


  • Part of the filming was undertaken at Bowringsleigh, a Grade 1 listed Elizabethan house in West Alvington, Devon, England.
  • Nigel Havers considers this series to have been his big break, despite his previous starring role in Nicholas Nickleby (1977).

A Horseman Riding By Series

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Philip Dudley … (6 episodes, 1978).
    • Paul Ciappessoni … (4 episodes, 1978).
    • Alan Grint … (3 episodes, 1978).
  • Producer(s):
    • Ken Riddington … producer (13 episodes, 1978).
  • Writer(s):
    • Alexander Baron … (dramatised by) (4 episodes, 1978).
    • R.F. Delderfield … (novel) (13 episodes, 1978).
    • John Wiles … (dramatised by) (4 episodes, 1978).
    • Arden Winch … (dramatised by) (5 episodes, 1978).
  • Music:
    • Max Harris … (6 episodes, 1978).
  • Cinematography:
    • Roger Harvey … (1 episode, 1978).
    • John Gregory … (12 episodes, 1978).
  • Editor(s):
  • Production:
    • BBC.
  • Distributor(s):
    • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (1978) (UK) (TV) (original airing).
    • Televisió Espanyola a Catalunya (1986) (Spain) (TV).
  • Release Date: 24 September 1978 to 17 December 1978.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes.
  • Rating: 12.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

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