Directed by: Simon Curtis
Countries & Regions: United Kingdom
Studio: 2 Entertain
Length: 300 mins
Region: Region 2, 4
Released: 11 February 2008
Cat No: BBCDVD2543
Hard of Hearing Subtitles: English
Screen ratio 1:1.78
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Also available on Blu-ray
Lavish BBC costume drama based on three novels by Elizabeth Gaskell. The series tells the story of the small absurdities and major... Read More
This 5 part BBC dramatisation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels captures the small absurdities and tragedies in the lives of the people of Cranford, a small rural Cheshire town. Every period drama fan will adore it as it has all the classic trademarks required to make it a must-see: a star-filled cast, including Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Philip Glenister, Francesca Annis and Imelda Staunton, an enthralling story line, music by Carl Davis and – of course – beautiful
costumes and scenery.
Cranford is a community that runs on co-operation and gossip, at the very heart of which are the daughters of the former rector, Miss Deborah Jenkyns and her sister Miss Matty. But domestic peace is constantly threatened in the form of financial disaster, imagined burglaries, tragic accidents, and the reappearance of long-lost relatives and former lovers.
The arrival of handsome new doctor Frank Harrison 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.
Judi Dench plays Miss Matty Jenkyns, whose hopes and rebellious spirit were
crushed when she was forced as a young woman to give up 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. Eileens Atkins’ performance in this role is outstanding.
Cranford in the 1840s is a market town on the cusp of great change. The railway is pushing its way relentlessly towards the town from Manchester, and brings fears of migrant workers and the breakdown of law and order.
The underlying serious storylines are embellished with humour and silliness.
The residents may have hard lives and suffer much misfortune, yet the overall tone is more of an intelligent soap opera. The characters keep themselves going through all the tribulations that come their way, marking the underlying importance of pure human spirit. Elizabeth Gaskell would have
approved of this adaptation.