TV: Cranford (miniseries)

I finally finished watching “Cranford,” a Masterpiece Theatre presentation that aired in May. I Tivo’d it despite not becoming interested during the first episode (admittedly, I was working on the computer the first night it aired so I was a bit distracted). But knowing how much I love period dramas, I knew I’d watch it eventually.

And, oh, how wonderful is “Cranford!” Featuring a cast of a couple dozen of my favorite period drama/BBC America actors (Judi Dench! Imelda Staunton! Philip Glenister! Julie Sawalha! Michael Gambon! Claudie Blakley!) this miniseries was absolutely spellbinding once I actually sat down and paid attention.

From BBC’s website:

Cranford in the 1840s is a small Cheshire market town on the cusp of great change. The railway is pushing its way relentlessly towards the town from Manchester, bringing fears of migrant workers and the breakdown of law and order. The arrival of a handsome new doctor from London causes a stir; not only because of his revolutionary medical methods, but also because of the effect he has on many of the ladies’ hearts in the town. Meanwhile, Miss Matty Jenkyns, whose hopes and rebellious spirit are crushed when she was forced as a young woman to give up Mr Holbrook , the man she loved. She is the younger sister of Cranford’s moral guardian, Miss Deborah, and is much-loved for her kindness, while her elder sibling and fellow spinster enforces a rigid social code and dominates the town’s women.

Doesn’t sound like much, does it? But it is all that and more. I am being absolutely honest when I tell you that the entire last hour of the miniseries I was a ball of tears. This miniseries was SO well done that it’s quite possible that I’ll buy it in the future and that it’ll become as much beloved as any Jane Austen miniseries I adore.

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  1. So glad you loved it as much as I did! It was so worth the wait for the ending. As for the actresses/actors, don’t forget Francesca Annis, one of my favorites. When I got to the end I said to myself that I must buy it and even give it as a gift. There aren’t many movies or miniseries that I am willing to spend money on anymore, now that I have Netflix, but this is an exception. Such a superb production.

  2. Years ago I had lunch with John Toland, the Pulitzer-prize winning 20th century historian. (Yes, I know, I just dropped a name.) He told me that the two writers who had the mnost influence on him were Charles Dickens and Mrs. Gaskell

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