The key asset Cranford has in its corner is that aforementioned cast. Its lead by the marvellous Dame Judi Dench, and shes in fine company alongside Dame Eileen Atkins, Francesca Annis, Michael Gambon, Julia Sawalha and Imelda Staunton. Theyre just some of the residents of Cranford in the 1840s, a town in the north of England on the verge of potentially dramatic changes.
In the midst of the general feeling of unrest comes a new Doctor, Frank Harrison (played by Simon Woods). His presence further unsettles matters, thanks to his appeal to the towns female contingent, and also his differing methods. From here, Cranford goes on to deliver an engrossing cocktail of humour, emotion and raw drama thats quite brilliantly put together.
Cranford is, ultimately, the kind of lavish production that weve come to know and admire from the BBC. Its a very good drama, spread across five episodes, that simply leaves you thirsting for the next time the corporation unlocks the costume cupboard. That time cant come soon enough. --Jon Foster
The cast boasts some of Britain's best-loved and most experienced actresses, including Dame Judi Dench, Dame Eileen Atkins, Imelda Staunton and Francesca Annis.
The five-part drama series tells the witty and poignant story of the small absurdities and major tragedies in the lives of the people of Cranford, as they are besieged by forces that they can't withstand.
Cranford in the 1840s is a small northern English town on the cusp of change. Things are on the move. The railway is pushing its way relentlessly towards the town from Manchester, bringing fears of migrant workers and the breakdown of law and order.
The arrival of handsome new doctor, Frank Harrison (Simon Woods) from London causes a stir; not only because of his revolutionary medical methods, but also because of the effect he has on many of the ladies' hearts in the town.
Judi Dench plays Miss Matty Jenkyns, whose hopes and rebellious spirit are crushed when she was forced as a young woman to give up Mr Holbrook (Michael Gambon), the man she loved.
Philip Glenister, Lesley Manville, Julia McKenzie, Julia Sawalha and Greg Wise also star alongside Judi Dench and the above-mentioned actors. Created by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin for BBC One and written by Heidi Thomas (I Capture The Castle, Madam Bovary, Lilies).