Written in 1712, Daniel Defoe's bawdy novel Moll Flanders was given a slick movie treatment with Kim Novak in the lead in 1965, then serialized for British television in 1975. Most 21st century viewers, however, are familiar only with the four-part Granada Television adaptation, which made its first British TV appearance on December 1, 1996. This time around, Alex Kingston was cast as the resourceful Moll Flanders, who, in her determination to attain the uppermost circles of 18th century British society, was not averse to hopping in a few beds in pursuit of that goal. Along the way, Moll got mixed up with highwaymen and other scoundrels, nearly meeting her doom at the end of a hangman's noose in the process. But if nothing else, Moll was a survivor, and a happy ending was never far from view. At the time of its first broadcast, Moll Flanders stirred up controversy by virtue (if that is the word) of its 17 -- count 'em, 17 -- sex scenes. By the time that American cable viewers were treated to this lavish and lurid miniseries, star Alex Kingston had attained network TV stardom as one of the regulars on NBC's E.R., a fact that served only to stir up additional interest in Kingston's full-blooded portrayal of the fearless Ms. Flanders.
by Hal Erickson synopsis