From the DVD commentary, North & South director Brian Percival on filming the dinner scene with the mill owners:
Poor Richard. When we shot this we tend to go around and shoot everybody after we’d done a wide shot, a master shot, and Richard sat there most of the day. It took practically a whole day to shoot this scene and we got to him last. I think he played it wonderfully. There’s a dark side to him, a threatened side. And that mystery and intrigue we tried to enhance by moving the camera constantly around them apart from this point where there’s a “But…” and it requires us to stop.
But towards the end of the day I looked down at Richard’s plate in front of him and he’d been making little faces out of Stilton [cheese]! He was a little bit bored at one point.