Elizabeth Gaskell - bicentennial of her birth!

When it comes to period dramas,
it might have been Jane Austen that captured my attention
but it has been Elizabeth Gaskell that has captured my heart.

Elizabeth Gaskell was born on September 29, 1810
So to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth,
how about watching one of the wonderful period dramas based on her novels?

Wives and Daughters was the first Gaskell film adaptation that I saw and I was so drawn in to the story and its characters. Molly Gibson was a true heroine in my eyes. Her sweet nature and her tender relationship with her father was so touching to watch. (Played by Justine Waddell and Bill Paterson)
I loved seeing her close friendship with the Hamley family and to see:
- gruff Squire Hamley (Sir Michael Gambon) soften when it came to Molly
- Mrs. Hamley's (Penelope Wilton) affection for Molly as if she were her own daughter
- and the complex relationship with the two brothers Roger and Osborne (Anthony Howell and Tom Hollander)
Add to that priceless performances by:
- Francesca Annis (as Molly's stepmother) - memorable!
- Keeley Hawes (Molly's stepsister) - captivating as always!
- Barbara Flynn & Deborah Findlay (loved the Browning sisters!)
- Barbara Leigh Hunt and Rosamund Pike (as Lady Cumnor and her daughter Harriet)
With such a talented cast, it's no wonder that this is my favourite period drama!

Trailer for Wives and Daughters thanks to Skipmaus!

The next Gaskell adaptation that I saw was North & South
If you haven't seen this one yet, what are you waiting for?
Some people have been put off I think by the grey and sombre landscape depicted in the industrial town of Milton set in the north of England. However, if you let that dissuade you, you'll be missing out on one of the greatest love stories of period drama as evidenced by an Army of fans worldwide! I confess to being one among this band of devoted admirers and created a motivational poster retelling of this "Foolish Passion".
wallpaper by dreamvision

North & South trailer thanks to lycisca!

And then there's Cranford
An unforgettable saga with a cast that includes:
Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Imelda Staunton, Greg Wise, Michael Gambon, Francesca Annis, Deborah Findley, Barbara Flynn, Simon Woods, Julia Sawalha, Claudie Blakley , Lesley Manville, Alex Etel, Jim Carter, Kimberley Nixon, Lisa Dillon and Philip Glenister

Cranford trailer thanks to Luthi3n84!

Another adaptation to watch is the sequel Return to Cranford
where the ladies are still up to their antics!
And the wonderful thing is that all of the above are miniseries
so there's plenty of Gaskell to inspire and delight!

If you'd like to read even more about Elizabeth Gaskell and her works,
be sure to join in the Bicentenary Blog Tour hosted by Austenprose


  1. Lovely overview of some fantastic movies--N&S is still my favorite, though. First love, I guess!

  2. North and South is unique to me but all the other Gaskell adaptations are so good! Thanks for reminding us all of them! And let's go on celebrating Mrs Gaskell on this very special day and on and on ...

  3. Lovely post for the Gaskellfest!

  4. Yes! N&S is my alltime favourite....but as any BBC adaptation of Mrs Gaskell works, Wives and Daughters has caught my attention and has become my second favourite.
    Haven't watched Cranford yet but I will as soon as I get the DVD I've just ordered. Thank-you for this lovely post!

  5. So many great Gaskell films. Thanks for the great overview.

  6. I love the Gaskell films. Thanks for a trip down memory lane!

  7. I was going to pick an adaptation to watch this evening in Mrs. Gaskell's honor. Now I can't decide which one! I love them all but N&S has to be my favorite!

  8. thank you thank you thank you... Gaskell is one of my favorite authors, it's hard to believe her works were so trivial in her lifetime! North and South is my all time favorite... I've seen it at least thirty times and it never fails to take my breath away :) but Cranford is fantastic and Wives and Daughters is a heart-warming, entertaining tale. I just love her writings... I wish they would adapt Mary Barton because that's a great one!!!



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