Posts Tagged ‘Cranford’

Dame Judi Dench, Lisa Dillon and Dame Eileen Atkins as Miss Matty, Mary Smith and Miss Jenkyns.

First of all, sorry to have been silent – I’ve been busy again, but have been watching costume dramas even though I haven’t been writing about them! Elizabeth Gaskell is one of my favourite 19th-century authors and I’m now planning to have a season on my blog about adaptations of her work, starting with Cranford and its sequel and then going on to North and South and Wives and Daughters.

There were also 1970s adaptations of all these books, which I would love to compare with the more recent versions, as well as a 1964 Mary Barton and a 1982 version of her novella Cousin Phillis – but sadly none of these are ever repeated or available on video/DVD, so it seems unlikely I’ll get the chance to see them unless the BBC starts delving into its archives.


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Happy Christmas

This is to wish everyone who visits my blog a happy and restful holiday period. I’m planning to review the Cranford sequel soon – I loved the first half, which was shown in the UK last weekend – so here is a still from it for now. I hope you all enjoy the Christmas break.

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I was intrigued today to see an article in the Daily Telegraph about a new follow-up series to 1970s hit Upstairs, Downstairs being made, with Jean Marsh returning as Rose, now a housekeeper, and Dame Eileen Atkins also expected to star.

The original series was made by ITV but this will now be made by the BBC – Heidi Thomas, who did the screenplay for Cranford, is writing the script. ITV has a drama on a similar theme in production, Downton Abbey. It seems as if you wait ages for a series about the family and servants in a great house, then two come along at once!;)

 I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the original series of Upstairs Downstairs, so will have to try to catch up with some of it before the new one starts! Anyway, good to see the BBC making another costume drama – this one will begin around 1930.

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Just a quick taster of a few coming costume drama attractions on British TV this autumn and winter … these are nearly all BBC series or films, with one from ITV. I don’t think Channel 4 has announced its autumn season yet, but will hope to post something about that as and when it does.

The most eagerly awaited series has to be the new Sandy Welch adaptation of Emma, and there has also been a fair bit of information about a Cranford follow-up in store at Christmas – here’s a link to a fan site on the series –  but there are also several other goodies to look forward to:

Desperate Romantics – on BBC2, a major new six-part series about the Pre-Raphaelites, apparently starting later this month – written by Peter Bowker who scripted  Blackpool (not really a costume drama but I loved it) and also the latest version of  Wuthering Heights.  Starring Aidan Turner, Rafe Spall, Tom Hollander, Samuel Barnett.
There is already a fan site for this series which has brought together a lot of info, interviews and pictures.

Garrow’s Law – on BBC1, a four-part 18th-century legal drama inspired by the life of pioneering barrister William Garrow, starring Andrew Buchan, who was in Cranford, and Alun Armstrong.

Small Island – two-part drama on BBC1,  adapted from Andrea Levy’s novel and set in 1940s Jamaica and London. Starring Ruth Wilson, who took the title role in the Andrew Davies version of Jane Eyre, with Benedict Cumberbatch, David Oyelowo, Ashley Walters and Naomie Harris.  

Land Girls – new BBC1 daytime drama about the Second World War, with an impressive cast including Nathaniel Parker and Christine Bottomley – this is apparently being shown in September:

Enid Blyton, Gracie Fields and Margot Fonteyn – three one-off dramas for BBC4 which all look to have really impressive casts, especially the first of these, which stars Helena Bonham-Carter as Blyton, with Matthew Macfadyen and Denis Lawson. The Gracie Fields film stars Jane Horrocks of Little Voice fame, and the Margot film stars Anne-Marie Duff, who played Queen Elizabeth I in The Virgin Queen – other casting hasn’t been announced for these two yet.
As well as the general press release, here’s a link to another release with more detail about the Enid Blyton drama.

Wuthering Heights –  on ITV, this adaptation has already been shown in the US but not over here – it is supposed to be coming up here this autumn or maybe at Christmas, and is adapted by Peter Bowker, starring Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley. There are rumours this could be the “last ITV costume drama” – I certainly hope not, and I find it very hard to believe that will be the case in the medium to longer term!

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Just sharing this news item about the restoration of Gaskell’s house from The Daily Telegraph. It’s said the funding is partly due to the success of the recent TV adaptation of Cranford.  I hope it will eventually become a museum – there isn’t one devoted to her as yet.

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A Happy New Year to anyone who stops by to read this blog! I’ve been trying to find out what costume dramas are coming up at the cinema and on TV in the coming year. Here are details of a few I know about, though there are doubtless many more in the pipeline .

Lark Rise to CandlefordA new season of this has already started on BBC1, following on from the Christmas special. Must admit I’m not a big fan of this show, as I find it too sweet and chocolate-boxy – but clearly I’m in the minority, as it gets great ratings. I’m not sure when this will turn up in the US and elsewhere.


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