The small town gossip, secrets, and romance of Mary Gaskells' popular series of novels comes to the small screen in this BBC drama series from director Simon Curtis. The year is 1842, and Cranford is a modest Cheshire market town on the verge of great change. The railway is reaching to Cranford from Manchester, and the locals fear that their town will soon be overrun with migrant workers and lawlessness. Spinster Deborah Jenkins Eileen Atkins) is the arbitrator of correctness about town, and as far as she and her demurring sister Matty (Judi Dench) are concerned there's never a dull moment in Cranford. Things begin to get especially interesting after handsome new doctor Frank Harrison (Simon Woods) arrives in town shocking the locals with his decidedly non-traditional methods of practicing medicine. Frank has a powerful effect on the ladies around town, but when Matty runs into an old flame at Lady Ludlow's garden party her thoughts drift back to the time when she was forced to give up the man she once loved with all her heart. No one is immune from the gossip that winds its way through the local circuits, and that gossip can almost always be traced back to the Jenkins sisters. When news emerges that the railroad is coming to town, everyone realizes that their tidy little universe is about to expand in ways that they could have never imagined. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
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This series was just recently shown over several weeks on PBS. It is a Victorian costume drama/comedy that unfolds LEISURELY, so if you're looking for an action-packed thriller, this isn't it. What it is is a charming adaptation of an Elizabeth Gaskell novel about life in a small English town where one's reputation can be destroyed over a simple misunderstanding or practical joke. Gaskell was a friend of both Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte, and her characters are often as well drawn as those in their novels.
What begins as a comedy of manners, becomes a number of love tales intertwined, with a bit of dramatic thrill thrown in. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and would love to see more witty humor of this caliber.