was so successful that they are planning
another two-part special for Christmas 2009
Scripted by Heidi Thomas
In 1842, Cranford is a small rural Cheshire town on the cusp of great changes. Some people find romance and opportunities, while others fear the breakdown of social order.
Who will embrace the changes on offer by becoming modern?
Three Elizabeth Gaskell novels have been woven together to create this uniquely rich and comic drama about ordinary human lives during the course of one extraordinary year in this small town.
Jane Tranter, Controller, BBC Fiction, says: "To have Judi Dench, Sue Birtwistle and Heidi Thomas on one drama serial is an honour for BBC Drama.
"Cranford is a beautifully big and ambitious period drama - just the way we like them!
"The logistics of mounting such a production have inevitably taken a while to pull together, but the best things are well worth waiting for, and we are all very excited at the prospect of such a piece, and of welcoming Judi Dench back to the BBC."
Dame Judi will play Miss Matty Jenkyns, whose hopes and lively spirit were crushed when she was forced as a young woman to give up the man she loved and to live afterwards in the shadow of her elder sister, Deborah, the arbiter of correctness in Cranford.
Judi Dench says: "I am so excited to be doing Cranford. A summer of fun to look forward to!"
Producer Sue Birtwistle was the force behind the highly-acclaimed television productions of Pride And Prejudice and Wives And Daughters.
She says: "Five years ago, I made a wish: to be allowed to conjure an entirely new drama out of three Elizabeth Gaskell novels, and to persuade Judi Dench to play Miss Matty. Dream come true. Is one allowed to be this lucky?" (source BBC)
Joe McFadden as Dr Jack Marshland
and Simon Woods as Dr Frank Harrison.
The town of Lacock stands in for Cranford
Synopsis from DVD: Welcome to Cranford, circa 1840...a rural English town where etiquette rules, undergirded by a healthy amount of gossip. Modernity is making a move in town as construction of a railway comes harrowingly close. Cranford's eclectic residents, among them Matty Jenkyns (Dame Judi Dench) her sister Deborah (Dame Eileen Atkins), and Miss Pole (Imelda Staunton), stay immersed in the sweet pleasures and sometimes heartbreaking realities of simple village life. But when a handsome, young doctor arrives with cutting-edge new techniques, it rapidly becomes clear that as the world changes, so Cranford will change with it. Boasting an all-star cast, and based on the works of Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford breathes life into one town during one extraordinary year.
with preview video
Behind the scenes videos
info and interviews
_______This stellar cast includes many actors from other great period dramas_______
Judi Dench -almost anything!
Eileen Atkins - Gosford Park, Mansfield Park, other parks in other movies...
Imelda Staunton - Sense & Sensibility
Greg Wise - Sense and Sensibility
Michael Gambon - Wives & Daughters, Gosford Park, ...
Francesca Annis - Wives & Daughters
Deborah Findley - Wives & Daughters
Barbara Flynn - Forsyte Saga, Wives & Daughters, Miss Potter...
Simon Woods - Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Julia Sawalha - Pride & Prejudice (1995)
Claudie Blakley - Pride & Prejudice (2005), He Knew He Was Right
(side joke: she tried to marry David Tennant but Kimberley would have none of it!)
Lesley Manville - North & South
Miss Matty: I see.
Thomas: I believe you do. Haste has never been our hallmark, Miss Matilda. We would be unshaped if we began to move at speed.
Miss Deborah Jenkyns: I would prefer it if I did not enjoy oranges. Consuming them is a most incommodious business.
Miss Matty Jenkyns: There is not such a lot of juice, Deborah dear - only when they are sliced with a knife.
Mary Smith: At home we make a little hole in our oranges and we suck them.
[Deborah looks horrified]
Miss Matty Jenkyns: That is the way I like to take them best, but Deborah says it is vulgar and altogether too redolent of a ritual undertaken by little babies. My sister does not care for the expression [whispers]"suck".
Miss Deborah Jenkyns: [primly] We will repair to our rooms... and consume our fruit in solitude.
Miss Pole: Men! They know everything except what is about to happen and how it can be stopped. My father was a man. I think I know the sex!
Dr. Morgan to Rev. Hutton: Lavish your daughter with eggs and affection! A girl's heart is a stouter organ than is realized.
Miss Matty: I have never liked the notion that the world is round. It makes me feel so giddy.
Miss Matty: I shall arrange myself by the window.
Miss Matty, discussing how she was glad that tea is not a "sticky" commodity as she could not bear anything that would "leave a residue".
Mrs. Forrester: Oh, Mrs. Rose, do you know nothing of love? To give gloves at such a time is tantamount to a proposal!