The Yorkshire Television producers who decided to send a film crew to the county's most remote outpost in 1973 saw their faith rewarded.
Three years after hearing about the existence of charmingly anachronistic Dales farmer Hannah Hauxwell, who lived in an isolated smallholding in the North Pennines, the channel had revealed her spartan living conditions and captured them on camera for a documentary series that would entrance the nation.
Hannah, who this week died aged 91, was, even then, a throwback to another, more self-sufficient age. In an increasingly materialistic society, she lived without basic comforts such as running water and electricity, and survived on a yearly income that was around a tenth of the average salary of the day.
She tended a small herd of cattle, and her affection for the animals shone through in episodes of Too Long a Winter, which included footage of Hannah caring for the beasts in sub-zero temperatures while wearing ragged clothing.
Hannah never married, and worked the farm alone after inheriting it when her parents died when she was in her 30s. By her 60s, failing health saw her agree to sell the building, which became a modern farmhouse conversion. She moved into a nearby cottage.
She proved to be an endearingly innocent figure on camera, calmly recounting winter nights spent sleeping alongside the cows in the byre for warmth, drinking from streams and schlepping across three fields to collect her bread delivery. A requisitioned pail served as her bath.
Hannah's Victorian world, still lit by oil lamps, seems barely credible to a modern audience, and it's difficult to believe she lived in such poverty only 40 years ago.
A follow-up documentary, A Winter Too Many, revisited Hannah two decades on from the original series, when she was retiring and preparing to sell the farm. In later life, she became an unlikely star in America when subsequent documentaries followed her as she travelled abroad for the first time.