Lark Rise to Candleford (TV Series 2008–2011) Poster

(2008–2011)

User Reviews

Add a Review
35 Reviews
Sort by:
10/10
My One Weakness
phosie2 March 2008
After Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and this winter's Cranford, I thought that the BBC couldn't do any better: that it had reached its peak. Boy, was I wrong. I was apprehensive about watching Lark Rise because of this, but those doubt were removed immediately as I fell in love with all the characters, especially Julia Sawalha, who surpasses herself, obviously moving away from her most famous role as Lydia Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, and she does so delightfully!

The hamlet of Lark Rise is so sleepy, and yet just as enthralling as the 'modern' town of Candleford. All the little stories within each episode, as well as those expanding throughout the entire series, make it a joy to watch, and an awesome way to pass the evening and forget all of one's woes. In producing two enchanting series so close to one another, the BBC has certainly surpassed itself.
69 out of 74 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
performances excellent ~ beautiful sets shot carefully
leonardgriffin12 April 2008
I have to disagree with the reviewer who says this was 'dreadful'. Film and television adaptations of ANY novel inevitably have to be stylised. I found the performances excellent, and have to pick our Julia Sawhala, unrecognisable from here Saffy days, and her presentation of the dialogue was a wonderful balance of sincerity, wit, warmth and pathos.

I might agree that Dawn French was 'larger than life' but along with Liz Smith the presence of these 2 actors in the cast gave it instant familiarity.

Now, 'dire dialogue'? I don't think so, we were ROARING at the sisters Pearl and Ruby, teary-eyed at the scenes of 'Twister', and watched EVERY moment of the 10 episodes.

Visually, INCREDIBLE, beautiful sets shot carefully and I felt it WAS 1850! I REALLY hope the BBC are planning a second third, fourth and FIFTH series ! THAT is how GOOD it is.

As the BBC replied to the critic 'What Lark Rise to Candleford does do very well is to draw in an audience who normally wouldn't watch this sort of programme.' It certainly drew me in ~ I will now read the books, so YES it's helping bring literature to a TV audience! My vote? 9 out of 10.
50 out of 53 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
I think this is wonderful!
SusannahGreenman10 March 2008
I have not read the books and so do not know how true it is to them but as a drama in itself i think that it is brilliant! There are many story lines yet they all link into one, the acting is superb and hilarious, an extremely worthwhile period drama and I am very pleased to say that my cousins who are 15 and 17 year old males, are absolutely obsessed and I am very pleased that it is appealing to such a wide range of people and educating them. Who knows, we could have them watching Jane Austen next!!!!!!!! We record it on a Sunday night and as we do not have any spare evenings until Friday night to watch it, I am practically tearing my hair to see what happens! I love this and don't want it to end!
37 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
A glorious & charming production, may it ever continue
midnightsilvered-rose18 February 2008
The previous posters I feel are nit picking at what is one of the most glorious productions I have enjoyed in many years. Not having read the books from which the series is taken, I came to it not knowing what to expect. It is beautiful, glowing with a golden warmth, a lyrical love poem to the people and village life of England just over a century ago, making it hard to return to daily life without regret. It reminds me almost of Laurie lee's Cider with Rosie, the love with which this time and people are conveyed, the richness, glowing like late afternoon sunshine seeps into our drawing rooms as we watch and makes one long for a time and place long vanished. The heart which has been put into this production, into the performances by every member of the cast and production crew, the love portrayed, I can't find a better word for it, warms one, melting away the chill of 21st century living. The poor not dirty enough some say?! Perhaps it will surprise some to know that the poor of that time, as now, had their pride and kept as clean as circumstances would allow, which meant at least clean looking. The other users comments are churlish, this is the most lyrically beautiful, heart warming & charming series I have ever seen. The humanity and touching wisdom in the way characters are portrayed, slowing revealing the reasons for their behaviour are truly moving. Everyone involved in this production should be cheered to the rafters and begged for an encore. I hope, as do all I know also, that the screenwriters will be asked to take the series on from where the books end, and never stop giving us new tales of this golden idyll, where the community sheltered those living within it's boundaries, as an extended family does, as opposed to our dislocated times. If you watch this series, you will be fully rewarded, your only regret will be that you can't enter the screen and stay forever in Candleford. The performances by everyone are rich with humanity, pathos, comedy and utterly stunning. I have grown to love everyone that lives there and everything about Candleford, so will you. It is a joy & does one good.
95 out of 109 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Julia Sawalha is fantastic
sgw5555 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A couple of other reviewers have complained about this series not being faithful to Flora Thompson's books - thank god for that, is all I can say. The books were among the most dreary, plodding tales I have ever read, and they left me depressed for days. I couldn't see the bucolic charm for all the squalid poverty and starving.

However, the series has been a pleasant surprise. I watched a few minutes of the first episode because I'm a big Julia Sawalha fan, and couldn't believe how she managed to inject a huge dose of humor and likability into the whole thing. Plus I think the 'vignette' approach which made the books so boring actually makes the series quite good - each episode can focus on one or two of the little anecdotes of the story.

There's no question they've sanitized the visuals - I'm quite certain that the 'real' Lark Rise people didn't have actual staircases in their houses, or much in the way of pictures on the walls (in fact I seem to recall the books making it clear that the houses had ladders to lofts, a paucity of candles, and no gas lamps, as they do in the TV show). And people have more teeth than they probably did in real life.

But who wants to see toothless people living in dark, dank sheds, anyway? I do agree that the Dawn French character is misplaced and/or overdone - I know she's supposed to be a quite literal representation of the big-heartedness of the cheerful poor person, but she ends up seeming an awful lot like the nut-job she plays in Jam and Jerusalem, and ultimately just an example of the stereotype of how stupidity, irresponsibility and poverty are inextricable.

If you don't like costume drama, this isn't going to change your mind. But it's an engaging adaptation of a singularly unengaging book, and if you've ever liked Julia Sawalha in anything, you should give this a try.
22 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Characters You Can Actually Like
dane-9223 February 2010
I get so tired of modern drama based around dark, cynical, unpleasant characters. Lark Rise to Candleford is so different. The characters in this little community manage to rise above their conflicts, see past each others' foibles, and support and love each other.

The program's good-heartedness is reinforced by a gorgeous soundtrack, beautiful camera work, amazing sets, scenery, and costumes, fine directing, and a rich cast of interesting characters.

Granted, it's a fairy tale, but it's a mighty pleasant one. And after all, what's so bad about with having one show on television that actually leaves you feeling better about people?
26 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Delightful
Larkrise11 March 2008
I am really enjoying this series and do not want it to end, I believe the BBC are commissioning another series thank god. At last something to enjoy and look forward to on a Sunday night. Julia Sawahla is excellent and i really feel for her character and i hope she will be in the next series as it won't be the same. I have preordered the series from amazon and and i cannot not wait to receive it, The acting from all involved is brilliant right down to Dawn French. The set is Magnificent it almost makes you want to go back in time, the costumes especially that of the Pratt sisters are magnificent i love the way they wear the same clothes nearly all the time. Excellent and Delightful show.
26 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
The epitome of charm and heart- really entertaining and very relaxing to watch
TheLittleSongbird5 February 2010
I love period drama series, I love "Cranford" as it is just divine, and I have loved BBC dramas such as "Pride and Prejudice"(1995), "Bleak House"(2005) and "Little Dorritt"(2008). I even love "The Darling Buds of May" for its sheer sense of escapism and entertainment value. You have probably already guessed I love "Lark Rise to Candleford", I just feel it is really entertaining, charming, beautifully made and just relaxing to watch. Like "Cranford", "Lark Rise To Candleford" whenever it is on really makes my night. The production values are exquisite; the costumes are ravishing and colourful, the sets are lavish and the scenery is gorgeous. The music is also gorgeous, I always like good music when it comes to film and television. The scripts are of exceptional quality, funny, poignant and endearing, and the direction and story lines are fine. The acting is also truly excellent, Julia Sawalha is a sheer delight especially. And she is well supported by Dawn French, Linda Bassett, Sarah Lancashire and Mark Heap. Overall, I love it, it really is the epitome of charm and heart. 10/10 Bethany Cox
14 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
I absolutely loved it...
nrichon30 March 2009
This is my first comment in this forum. I think the casting was very well done. I am torn as to whether it tops Cranford. I have to admit I have a soft spot for Cranford.

I believe the casting of Twister and Queenie reminds me so much of my grandparents. They were well casted together. Twister had me in stitches in many scenes. While Dawn French was a little over the top I believe it to be her character anyway so it did not take much away from the series.

Julia was perfect for the part she did very well with all her scenes. Do not think it was disappointing at all.

The landscape was "extraordinary"...without a doubt a rival to many of the great landscapes in North and South, Cranford and wives daughters.
16 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
A rustic spectacle that grows-up fast
johnwarthen27 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Am a U.S.viewer, watching Series 1 on an all-region DVD player. I ordered this series as something my elderly mother might enjoy and have become engrossed myself. Sounding initially like a British variant on LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, CANDLEFORD turns out to be a rich spectacle which discovers complexities in itself after pleasant but lightweight opening installments and by episode 4 becomes something altogether finer (I've seen only 1-7 so far). I think it not entirely accidental that this same fourth episode engineers a lengthy hiatus for LARK SPUR's most egregious blemish, the already oft-slammed Dawn French as the hamlet's debtor-reprobate. French isn't distractingly familiar in the U.S. but her lazy anachronistic performance, straight out of the classic "Coarse Acting" handbook, is an irritant just the same. Might as well note the other flaws that persist, noted in the more critical IMDb critiques: the usual over-explicit music; some wobbly continuity from one episode to the next (particularly notable in the lack of carryover after the milliner-sisters' traumatic reunion with their father); the disregard for the 18 mile separation of communities so forcefully laid-out in episode 1 and subsequently ignored; and, yes, the absence of squalor. Can't comment on the adaptation's disregard for the source-book since I haven't read it.

But lordy, how much else excels! The writing, encompassing parlor-protocol and pub-chatter, has Dickensian swagger. If LARK SPUR's creators disembarked from the original text, they found their independent stride within a few traversals of their 20-or-so characters. Note how the Welsh postman, an evangelical stereotype and already tiresome within the first hour, in Episode 5 has a spiritual crisis, conveyed in a layman-sermon whose earnestness emits a skittering undertone of near-madness (wonderfully performed by Mark Heap). The porcelain lady-of-the-manor of Eps. 1-2 by 6-7 emerges as a tragic heroine. Twister, Lark Spur's aged comic layabout and scrounger, in Episode 6 has recall of a long-dead sister he imagines come back to haunt him in scenes as rapturously sad and true to senescent remorse as any great tragic work (Karl Johnson, an actor I've never noted before, is extraordinary). More than simply showcasing the series' mostly wonderful cast, the collective of directors grows increasingly muscular in their framing of scenes as LARK SPUR progresses: a complex moment in Ep. 7, in which the squire's wife watches her husband across the street and submits to the goading of shopwomen she dislikes, imagining the worst, is shot with an economic forcefulness that moots distinctions between TV and cinematic filming. Nothing "twee" about craft of that order-- nor about the series itself, once past its establishing episodes.

Yet subtleties noted here are secondary to something LARK SPUR has in fixed place from the start: Julia Sawalha's post-mistress, and her rapport with lifetime friend and village squire Ben Miles, an attenuated near-romance that in abstract sounds an embarrassment-- two terrific actors who appear to realize they have found gorgeous grown-up roles in the unlikeliest of projects, and like the rest of the production's cast/crew, perform as if BBC's calculations about "Sunday night programing" wholly underestimated their work. I cannot push these Reg. 2 programs at friends, who haven't the equipment to play them, and so I can only enthuse here. This is beautiful serial television.
15 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Flawless!!
plutus194710 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I know that this is a very lengthy review but I hope you will read and enjoy it.

The BBC has long been known as the undisputed world leaders when producing period drama for the TV.

When you consider the absolutely wonderful period dramas Auntie Beeb has produced over many, many years, it is an accolade indeed to be able to say that Lark Rise To Candleford is by far the very best they have ever produced.

Although so far I have only watched series one and have reviewed that, I cannot wait for the second series to come out on DVD.

I am shocked and dismayed that this drama appears to have been only nominated for a single award, which it duly won.

Every part of this production was immaculate from the script, the actors, the production, the direction and finally but definitely not least, the set and costumes.

SPOILER BEGINS:

Lark Rise To Candleford is the story of life in Lark Rise, a small village about 8 miles from Candleford, a small town.

It tells of the hardship of Lark Rise and about life in the somewhat more affluent Candleford.

The two story-lines are wonderfully intertwined.

SPOILER ENDS

When you consider the choice of actors selected for the various parts it is amazing that each and every one of them were given the most perfect part.

Although it is virtually impossible to single any individual out as the best I would like to mention a few of them.

SPOILER BEGINS:

Dawn French was cast as Caroline Arless, a mother of several children, with one on the way, whose husband was away at sea. She was more than a little partial to a good flagon of ale and this was eventually her downfall when she was carted off to debtors prison. Don't fret though, she came back. I cannot see anyone else being able to fill this part.

Liz Smith was her usual and impeccable self playing the part of Zillah, the housekeeper to the Postmistress in Candleford. Liz was 86 when she appeared in this series and has lost none of her extraordinary acting abilities. I can only describe her as perfection personified.

Julia Sawalha played Dorcas Lane, the Candleford Postmistress. She was oh so prim and proper and cared for everyone and helped anyone who was in trouble. She grew up with Timothy Midwinter, now Sir Timothy and the Squire of Candleford. She loved him and he her. Sir Timothy asked her to marry him but she refused as she felt it wrong that she should marry someone who she considered her 'better', but they still loved each other even though he has now married someone else.

Linda Bassett and Karl Johnson who played wife and husband Queenie and Twister Turrill were perfectly cast in their respective roles. It was a joy to see how well they interacted with each other.

Matilda Ziegler and Victoria Hamilton played the sisters Pearl and Ruby Pratt. It was as though these two sisters were literally joined at the hip and they did everything together, they even dressed in the same clothes for the most part, even though they were the proprietors of the Candleford milliners shop.. They played their parts as the Candleford busy bodies wonderfully and were convinced that they were better than anyone in Candleford and thought the residents of Lark Rise were the lowest of the low, even though they started from extremely humble beginnings themselves.

Last but not least there is Laura Timmins played by Olivia Hallinan. Laura was sent from Lark Rise to Candleford in order to work in the the post office and to better herself. The story is narrated from the writings in her journal. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of Olivia.

SPOILER ENDS

I could have something to say about each actor who appeared in this drama as they all played their parts superlatively.

Finally the direction by Alan Grint, John Greening, Charles Palmer and Marc Jobst was again absolutely marvellous and you would never realise that there had been so many directors.

It is plain to me that everyone of the cast and crew got on extremely well together, which can be seen by the way this series was so wonderfully produced and acted.

The final thing I would like to say is that it is a great pity that 10 is the highest mark I can give Lark Rise To Candleford.
12 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Just one look!
Chris Bee7 March 2010
The only historical drama series I watch these days and the highlight of my week. Every character is blessed with a real actor or actress. All perfectly cast, except one. One glance tells more stories than some of the shallower pedants are even capable of noticing. Dawn French alone was dire beyond words. As out of place as a full grown hippo in a pet shop. I would cheerfully have had her hung or transported! Or harpooned! The rest are truly delightful, albeit too freshly laundered. Where is the constant rain and inevitable mud of rural living, both then and now? Nevertheless, I hope this series runs forever. It goes down like a rich, warm sherry with very similar effects. Bravo to all concerned!
19 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Not Intended To Be The Book!
maryborrege21 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Oh, the humanity!! JUST imagine!!! A thoroughly entertaining & popular series based loosely on a book. Boo Hoo!

SO WHAT! --you prissy twits. Get over it.

Spoiler. If Lark Rise has a fault it is that many of it's most intriguing and enduring characters were tossed after only 10 episodes taking their lovely story lines with them--Lord Timothy & Lady Adaliade, Liz Smith, & Dawn French's hilarious Caroline, etc.

WHY?

By the way, nay sayers. EVEN in "real life" 19th century rural England there were reasonably happy marriages, close friendships, eccentrics, picturesque villages, and amusing stories to tell. ALL of existence wasn't unremitting tragedy, disease, and inequality. Get real. Some people were actually contented & happy some or most of the time. Just like "real life" people today in rural England.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Not just for old ladies!
Keithola110 April 2011
I'm a 40 year old straight single guy. I would have never even considered watching something like this if someone described it to me or I saw a commercial for it. BUT, the only channel we got clearly at my family's lake house was PBS until the digital transition. After fishing and doing yard work one day, I was drinking a beer and was too tired to get up to change the channel when this came on. I was a little angry at first, but after about 15 minutes I realized that I really wanted to know what happened next to this lady. I ended up watching the whole thing and realized at the end that I had laughed a few times and even welled up with tears once. And I don't think it was from the beer! I watched two more full episodes when I went back to the lake (kind of looked forward to it). I think I need to let me ego heal for a little while before I watch any more, but just had to say that this show has incredible acting, writing, scenery, authenticity to the place and period, and much more. If you grew up watching Little House on the Prairie, you'd really like this (as another reviewer mentioned). Same overall feel, but much more complex stories and more mature themes. I usually don't quite have that willing suspension of disbelief required for something like this, but it is so well done I feel like I'm sitting in the room with them in 19th century England... as if any moment someone will turn toward me and ask if I'd like a spot of tea! Give it 15 minutes and you'll probably be hooked too. Okay, I better go hammer a few nails or work on my car for a while!
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Why the hell aren't people like this today ?
Michael Thompson10 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This series is absolutely the finest set of programmes I have ever seen on British TV in all my years of watching.

I got hooked on Downton Abbey, but Larkrise to Candleford knocks spots of it.

I do not want to say too much, it's just such a pleasure to watch, and listen to, every word spoken has meaning, the use of the English language is superb, every character is strong, every character has his or her own place in the series.

In its own way this series represents a little Bible. The goodness in everyday life if only people today were'nt so detached from each other.

And also sadly is a huge reflection of how far the Western World has sunk in so many ways over the decades.

I've ticked spoilers, but I don't think there are any.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Like a family Soap Opera...but with period costumes.
MrHogs20019 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I've just finished watching season 1 of this series and, to cut to the chase, I'm not impressed. The acting was usually tolerable - Julia Sawalha and Olivia Grant were clear stand-outs and a pleasure to watch. The other actors have my pity: almost all the characters have been denied the basic right and necessity to develop and create depth. The writers and producers of this series (the first season, at least) should to go back to film school or pick up a history book to learn that 19th century life had far more meaningful worries than a lost parcel or teenage love triangles.

Many of the episodes start promisingly and tease the viewer with the prospect that they will soon be witnessing something more than inconsequential frivolities; and then in the last five or so minutes of the episode every inch of seriousness is cut short and the loose ends tied with a pretty yellow ribbon (no doubt purchased from the ridiculous Pratt sisters). To the credit of the show, it does occasionally present serious issues such as domestic abuse, financial mismanagement, and alcoholism. These issues are, however, trivialised in the show by the inability of any of the characters to develop and change after being inflicted by these issues: the beaten wife returns happily to her husband after she magically returns from the workhouse, the Pratt sisters are distraught and form a bond with Dorcas after being conned by their father only to be, five minutes later, back to their snarky old selves, a love interest to Dorcas (who was born in the workhouse and is therefore resilient) leaves town a few days after arriving in Candleford to avoid being fired from his job and to avoid one day, perhaps, growing unhappy with her, etc.

It's probably better for this show to steer clear from the serious stuff entirely unless it's going to address the harsh reality, and unhappy endings, which they may cause accurately. This series, set in two small country towns had the potential of being great if it didn't try to sugar coat every issue and with fluff. As such, I can only say that it is good - even then I'm being generous.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Harmless fun
jkerry5825 January 2008
Harmless fun sums it up really, and nice to look at; ideal Sunday night untaxing stuff really. It bears little or no relationship to the books although if it gets people reading them that can only be a good thing. Dawn French lives down to all expectations; the Mrs Arless of the books was a slightly aloof and mysterious figure as I recall, from a different background to the other hamlet women, not a knockabout drunken clown. The accents are interesting too; the only one who has anything approximating to the correct accent for the area is Queenie's husband. I swear that in the first scene in which he appeared, Laura's father had a Scots accent. Pedant Alert: One thing, Lark Rise is based on Juniper Hill in North Oxfordshire near the Northamptonshire border. It is NOT in the Cotswolds. Candleford seems to have been based on a hybrid of nearby towns like Bicester and Banbury.
15 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Not a Righteous Man in Lark Rise?
Bob Bobbly18 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I started watching this series a couple of months ago. Good acting, sets, cinematography, etc... but there was something about the basic ongoing plot that didn't seem real or believable.

A recent episode (Season 4, Ep. 5) brought this into plain light when Dorkus began talking to the other women about more or less "allowing" the men of Lark Rise to believe that they possess feminine qualities and pretending not to be the superior species that they truly are.

Now I was able to put my finger on the lack believability. In spite of the good acting, interesting stories and superior production quality, there was one important ingredient missing in the town of Lark Rise, unless it appeared fleetingly in some earlier episode that I missed; there is not a single competent, righteous, stable male, capable of existing without the direction and supervision of the town's women... that is, unless they're "assumed" to be there, just not appearing in the series.

Sure, some of the women have there flaws, but not so much so that they are unable to rain supreme over the town's mix of chronically flawed men who, without female guidance, would flounder haplessly and probably starve to death. I guess it's a good thing that those poor men have all those women to correct and redirect them repeatedly throughout each episode!

Seriously though... Couldn't you guys at the BBC create even one male character that the people of Lark Rise could actually admire and look up to... without having him come apart at the seams before then end of the episode?
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Light and enjoyable
nitro203814 August 2009
If you like your drama extremely light and with almost consistent happy endings, you will love this. This show is very, very easy to watch and is about as deep as a puddle of water. Rather like 'Darling Buds of May' or 'House of Elliot'. Very strawberries-and-cream. It is fine evening television entertainment with a plot that even children could follow. I have never heard of the title before and did not realise it is based on a set of novels. From what other poster's have commented, it would appear this television version bares no resemblance to the novels, but that is of little consequence, as it clearly does not aim to be. I prefer my drama (period pieces or otherwise) to be more real and gritty than this, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it, for what it is.
9 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Nitpicking
William Capell12 July 2012
Although I thoroughly enjoyed watching this series, there are a few, shall we say technical details that bothered me throughout all 4 seasons. In the first episode we find that Lark Rise and Candleford are separated by something over 8 miles of road. A bit less if you cut through the fields however the walking time in either case would be about 3 hours each way. Through all of the episodes we see people moving between the communities as if they were only minutes apart. How did they move about so quickly? My other observation is that although Lark Rise is obviously a farming community, we never see any farm animals. Once there was a chicken on Twister's roof, Sydney's goose and of course there was Queenie's Berkshire pig in season-4, but no real farm animals. They always had lots of stews and sausages to eat though. These technical oversights always bother me, it is my one weakness...
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Highly enjoyable, light-hearted series
Phidippides28 April 2014
"Lark Rise to Candleford" was an unexpected pleasure to watch for my wife and I over the past several months, and we are sad that we have no more episodes to enjoy. We came across the series after getting interested in "Downton Abbey", and I was pleased to find in "Larkrise" a period-piece show which was relatively free of intense drama (my wife likes "calm" shows).

The series chronicles life in two neighboring English towns around the late-nineteenth century: the smaller, agrarian Larkrise, and the slightly larger and more commercial town of Candleford. While the series' initial focus is on the activities of Larkriser Laura, who moves to Candleford to work at the post office, it eventually becomes an ensemble cast show which brings us a touching view of many aspects of life during this time. We watch as romantic relationships grow and falter, as happiness is gained and destroyed, and as human nature reveals its better and worse sides. Issues such as poverty, neglect of family, and temptation with money are dealt with courageously, and modernist issues - such as sexual ones - are thankfully virtually absent from this show.

In the end, the pleasure of watching this show is in seeing life in a simpler time and a simpler place. I almost hope they come out with a U.S. adaptation of this show, just so I could watch more episodes; however, this could very well be a let down since the British version is so good on its own.

I gave 9/10 stars as the show is a joy to watch in its story development, characters, and the scenery is beautiful. I do admit, though, that Season 1 is rather slow moving for the first few episodes, and it may be a struggle to stay interested early on. Yet if you stay with the show, you will be rewarded with four seasons of touching drama.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
What an absolute delight!
haddesah14 May 2014
I have so enjoyed this period drama that its ending bought with it a touch of sadness that we don't live like this today.... what a shame! I do hope more of these kind of period drama's will be made for TV. I loved the characters and village life with its warmth, gentleness, and moments of laughter with its amusing anecdotes. The only thing I did not enjoy was Olivia Hallinan acting as the young Laura Timmins, I felt her acting was overdone as if she was trying too hard to portray an innocent gentle young girl of that era, but instead she seemed to come across as quite conceited, as if she had an excessive estimate of her own importance. There were many times while walking with a friend or young man in some scenes that she had this odd trait of slightly shaking her head from side to side which looked ridiculous and she spoke to some people as if they were children not adults, she spoke down to them like teacher to pupil when she is just such a young girl herself in the role she played. I really think someone else should have played her part. But besides that this series was beautiful, it charmed and enthralled me, wishing I could enter into its world forever… away from all the harshness and ugliness of today. I loved the sleepy village scenes and countryside. Its so wonderful and refreshing to feel better and uplifted in myself and my day after each episode compared to the many depressing movies and other series that leave you down and sad for days. Its like sitting down in your favourite armchair, wearing your most comfortable slippers by an open fire, and drinking a very welcome cup of tea…. Absolutely delightful!! PLEASE BBC…. Give us more…. And more….. :o)
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Modern People in Period Garb
Bertie Wooster4 August 2013
Period pieces are really hard.

Done right, they are incredibly powerful because they demonstrate how random our prejudices are by showing plausible people with entirely different prejudices who still manage to be entirely human. Think, for example, of how Master and Commander made it seem not only fully real that a 12-year-old could lead men into battle but also completely natural within the film's world.

But tricks like that are very hard to pull off, and nearly every period piece falls into one of two opposing traps. Either they show people who act in ways that modern people cannot fathom — without conveying why they act like that — and thus make their characters seem wooden and fake. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, the characters speak and act in entirely modern ways that seem ridiculous to anyone with even the haziest memories of history class.

Lark Rise to Candleford falls into the latter category. Only one of the show's two dozen characters expresses any Christian faith whatever and all the other characters clearly think him a fool for it. (And he clearly is both a fool and a condescending hypocrite who doesn't understand anything about Christianity.) Men and women interact with absolute equality, at least among all the remotely sympathetic characters. Entire communities are just fine with obvious infidelity and basically everything else that would seem fine to a modern BBC exec but would, in actual history, horrify a Victorian yokel.

That's not to say it's the worst show on earth. To the contrary, it's likable enough, but it's no more an actual period piece that Monty Python's Life of Brian. If that's going to bother you, don't watch.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
Slow, really really slow
pensman3 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is a slow moving series which I take for a comedy in the style of Ballykissangel but a period piece. And to be fair I'm not in a position to judge. I am about eight episodes into this series but have never seen more than ten minutes of an episode. I was able to recognize Dawn French from The Vicar of Dibley and Brendan Coyle from Downton Abbey but the remainder of the cast is unknown to me. Basically I find the show a cure for insomnia. Really, the nights I can't sleep and even an Ambien won't help, this show makes me comatose; hence the not seeing more than ten minutes of any episode. It does seem to have excellent production values and I am somewhat disappointed at my reaction but if you need an anodyne to induce Morpheus to visit then this is it.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews