Hayley Mills was originally cast as Glencora Palliser, but backed out when her doctor thought it would be too strenuous as she had just had a baby. Meanwhile, Susan Hampshire had also just had a baby, but her daughter had died. Susan's doctor thought work would be the best thing for her, so she took the part.

When the series was shown on American PBS television channels, each episode was introduced by Sir John Gielgud. This introduction was not present when the series was shown on U.K. television.