The initial airing of Cranford
was so successful that they are planning
two-part special for Christmas 2009

Multi award-winning actress Judi Dench is to star in Cranford, a new five-part drama serial created by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin from three novels by Elizabeth Gaskell for BBC One.

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.

click for characters

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)

BBC Link

(Love this picture...)

Francesca Annis as Lady Ludlow

Joe McFadden as Dr Jack Marshland
and Simon Woods as Dr Frank Harrison.

Eileen Atkins as Deborah Jenkyns

Judi Dench as Matty Jenkyns

Michael Gambon as Mr.Holbrook with Matty Jenkyns

Kimberly Nixon as Sophy Hutton

Julia Mckenzie as Mrs. Forrester

Imelda Staunton as Miss Pole

Greg Wise as Sir Charles Maulver

Simon Woods as Dr. Harrison

Philip Glenister as Mr.Carter

Lisa Dillon as Mary Smith

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.

PBS Link
with preview video
Behind the scenes videos

BBC Link
info and interviews


Cranford Bloopers


_______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

Favourite Quotes:

Thomas Holbrook: Miss Matilda, it cannot, I think, be denied that our... association has been drawn out over more years than we might have wished. We cannot reverse the clock. Only move forward in the way of time itself. And I do not arrange an absence for no reason. I do so hoping that whilst I'm away, you will take pause to consider how our future path might run.
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!

Historical Reality Shows

The 1900 HOUSE aired in the UK and the USA in 1999. The show was about a modern family that tries to the live in the way of the late Victorians in 1900 for three months in a house modified to that time. It was such a success, that it inspired other series exploring different eras.

An English family volunteers to spend three months in a restored Victorian house, which recreates life for the middle class of 1900. The family must wear period clothes, and not use any conveniences or products that was not available to a family of their class in 1900. The camera follows the members about as they struggle with trying to get enough hot water for a bath, create their own shampoo, raise chickens in the backyard, and (the women, at least) deal with constricting garments.

(known as Manor House in US)
family of five and staff of 14 live in a 1900 English manor house

a family “living” through the Second World War

10 modern-day men and women at a country estate

three families live as 1883 frontier settlers in Montana

(Pioneer House in UK)
set in the American frontier of 1628

set in the American frontier of 1867

OUTBACK HOUSE in Australia
a family running a sheep station in 1861 Outback

Recreating a pharmacy of the 1850s and 60s

Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning

[I did look forward to this new drama by Kevin Sullivan but turned if off after watching it for 20 minutes. It just seems out of place for Sullivan to try to reinvent Lucy Maude Montgomery's books and tinker with the story that's so well known. I would heartily recommend Anne of Green Gables (1985) and the sequel of 1987 but I wouldn't recommend the third film The Continuing Story or this one. Just not worth it. If you're looking for quality drama, check out Sullivan's Road to Avonlea, also based on L.M. Montgomery's works.]

The perennially freckled and red-haired Anne Shirley will return to television in 2008, with a new three-hour movie set to debut on CTV.

The movie is a prequel to the "Anne of Green Gables" series, entitled "Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning."

Picked from over 1,000 hopefuls, Toronto native Hannah Endicott-Douglas will play the new Anne.

The search for the star included an open casting call on YouTube and a cross-Canada audition tour that lasted for three months. Sullivan, an award winning filmmaker, personally selected the winner.

Endicott-Douglas has also appeared in "The Good Witch" and "Samantha: An American Girl" as Bridget O'Malley.

Sullivan has written a completely new screenplay for the three hour movie, which follows Anne's life before arriving at Green Gables. Sullivan is also directing and executive producing the feature.

Hannah Endicott-Douglas as Anne Shirley

Shirley MacLaine stars as Amelia Thomas

Rachel Blanchard stars as Louisa Thomas.

Barbara Hershey will also appear in the film
as Anne later in life, in her 50s.

Vivien Endicott-Douglas as Violetta

You might want to read the new book
by award-winning author Budge Wilson

Before Green Gables

"A must-read for generations of book lovers. This remarkable, and heart-warming prequel
to the classic Anne of Green Gables was specially authorized by L.M. Montgomery's heirs
to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of the original novel. "(Amazon)

(This book is unrelated to the movie but both cover the years before Anne comes to Avonlea)

Chronicles of Narnia

Based on the books by C. S. Lewis,
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
is the first published book of the series.

During the German air raids of WWII, the four Pevensie children - Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy - are sent out of London to take shelter at the country home of eccentric Prof. Digory Kirke, who happens to be the owner of a curious wardrobe. Peering into this wardrobe one day, Lucy finds herself in the snowy land of Narnia, which is mired in never-ending winter thanks to the magic of the evil White Witch, who has proclaimed that it will be always winter but never Christmas in the mystical land. Eventually the other Pevensies find themselves in Narnia, and the four children learn that they alone are the key to breaking the Witch's eternal winter. But while three of them trudge through the snow with some helpful Beavers to join forces with Aslan, the mighty Lion, the fourth takes a more treacherous path and falls in league with the Witch...
( Written by mnemosyne23 @Imdb)
William Moseley as Peter
Anna Popplewell as Susan

Skandar Keynes as Edmund
Georgie Henley as Lucy

Tilda Swinton as the White Witch
James McAvoy as Mr. Tumnus
Liam Neeson as the voice of Aslan
Ray Winstone voices Mr. Beaver
Dawn French voices Mrs. Beaver
Jim Broadbent as Professor Digory Kirk

Prince Caspian

One year has passed in our world since the first adventure ended, but in Narnia, almost 1,300 years have passed, and now it is time for the Pevensie children to return and make history. The villainous KingOne year has passed in our world since the first adventure ended, but in Narnia, almost 1,300 years Miraz prevents the rightful king, his young nephew Prince Caspian, from ruling the land of Narnia. Caspian uses Susan's magic horn that was left in Narnia to summon the four Pevensies to help him and a small army of Old Narnians reclaim his rightful throne.

Ben Barnes as Caspian

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