Masterpiece Theatre

Season 37 Episode 18

Cranford (1)

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 04, 2008 on PBS
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Episode Summary

Cranford (1)
"Cranford" is a 2007 British television drama serial, adapted by the BBC from Elizabeth Gaskell's novel 'Cranford', and from her novellas 'My Lady Ludlow' and 'Mr. Harrison's Confessions', and also from an article of hers titled 'The Last Generation in England'. The BBC series originally aired as five episodes, but these have been edited into three parts for airing on "Masterpiece Theatre". Starring Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, and Imelda Staunton, "Cranford" is set in 1842-1843 in a small rural town dominated by group of single and widowed middle class women who place great store on propriety, and on maintaining an appearance of gentility, even those whose means are barely adequate for the task. However, the railway is about to arrive and offers to introduce modern ways and ideas to the town, to the alarm of some of its inhabitants. Also arriving to town is a young man, Doctor Harrison (Simon Woods, who brings his own modern ideas to Cranford in the form of new treatments he has learned about at medical school in London. Three women vie for his affections: Mrs. Rose (Lesley Manville), Sophy Hutton (Kimberley Dixon), and Caroline Tomkinson (Selina Griffiths). Other characters in the town include the aristocratic and reactionary Lady Ludlow (Francesca Annis), her progressive-minded steward Mr. Carter (Philip Glenister), and the young poacher's son Harry Gregson (Alex Etel) whom Mr Carter teaches to read. This is the first part of three parts.moreless

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  • THIS is Cranford!

    Cranford is a fictional, British town that remains steadfast to the old ways. Strangers, though welcome, are tolerated, as they will, surely and inevitably, mesh with the town, if the matrons - - self-appointed defenders of the town - - have anything to say about it. Yet, it is the matrons who change, however slowly, to the new ways, even if it means reading new books by Dickens, enduring a new doctor's attempt to save a man from amputation, a newly arrived family with an ill daughter, or, even, new loves. When disaster strikes, the viewer is willingly swept into the characters' dismay and pain, yet, somehow, we know that life in this stalwart town will endure.

    Through sublime acting by, quite literally, a noble cast, and a mixture of light drama and subtle humor, the viewer becomes a willing observer, if not resident, of this delightful town.

    I, for one, would be eminently disposed to arrange a permanent ensconcement in this charming town, and heartily recommend 'Cranford' to those of good and mild manners, who wish to leave the uncivilized world behind.moreless

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