An adaptation of Flora Thompson's autobiographical novel "Lark Rise To Candleford", set in 19 century Oxfordshire, in which a young girl moves to the local market town to begin an apprenticeship as a postmistress.
In the 1840s, Cranford is ruled by the ladies. They adore good gossip; and romance and change is in the air, as the unwelcome grasp of the Industrial Revolution rapidly approaches their beloved rural market-town.
Peter Wight (Edmund Lovitt) portrayed Mr. Wilfur; the father Bella Wilfur in the BBC miniseries "Our Mutual Friend." In the series, the first time Bella is seen at home with her husband, she's wearing the same yellow dress that Denise wears upon returning to her uncle's shop after quitting the Paradise. See more »
I normally avoid what I call "modern" costume-dramas like the plague, no "Downtons" or "Candlefords" in our house, but having read the source novel by Emile Zola (one of the rare novels my wife and I both enjoyed reading) and believing then that it had continued relevance in today's shopping mall, hypermarket, bigger-is-better consumer society, I was persuaded to tune in.
I'm rather glad I did, as, while I can easily see the soap suds gathering around the fringes, still Zola's story-telling skills shine through. I can't remember enough about the novel to place the appropriate episodes depicted here, although some of course were of modern invention, still I felt as a whole, the series maintained consistency, continuity and credibility throughout.
It's well acted with, in the lead roles, Emun Elliot as the charismatic retail supremo Moray (Mouret, in the original French) and Joanna Vanderham as the initially demure but fast developing shop-girl-in-a-hurry Denise, while the rest of cast support well, with the possible exception of Sarah Lancashire, who overplays the starchy department manageress, Miss Audrey.
I would carp at the sets which seem to be have been done on the cheap, you hardly get the impression that the store is large at all and as for the exteriors, it appears the BBC could only be bothered to dress up one section of the street outside the shop, giving an air of budget-cuts to proceedings.
Nevertheless, this was easy-to-watch family entertainment, which I'm pleased to see has been commissioned for a second series. We'll be watching.
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