Thursday, June 16, 2011


While browsing the DVDs at the library the other day, I took a chance on a BBC drama I had not heard of before.  On more than one occasion I've brought home movies that didn't make it past the first few minutes of viewing, so I was prepared to turn this off and play the piano or clean the bathroom if the movie proved to be a bust.

In fact, it was quite the opposite.  The five-part series was an absolute delight!

From the opening song and the beautiful diorama-like drawings of the village of Cranford to the last fading scene of episode five, we were transported to the 1840s of northwest England where we had an intimate look into the lives of wonderfully developed characters and their intricately woven stories.

Change is afoot in Cranford.  The railway is pushing closer to this idyllic community, threatening to disturb Cranford's way of life.  And a young doctor, whose modern ways are not completely welcomed, catches the fancy of some of Cranford's single ladies.

Cranford is about community, and etiquette, and relationships, and social issues, and people.  Mostly it's about people.  Typically in a drama there are two or three main story lines; in Cranford each character has his or her own unfolding story.  Each one is told with sensitivity, humor and feeling.  No actor is in a supporting role; they are all an integral part of Cranford.

Based on three books by Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford drew us in by its attention to detail, its warm and tender treatment of relationships throughout the community, its care for the poor, its insights into the human condition, and its many laugh-out-loud moments.

It's a story a century-and-a-half old that shines with meaning for today.  Bravo for Cranford!

1 comment:

Joan Husby said...

This sounds very much like Mitford. Do you suppose Jan Karon read the Cranford books?