Cranford 2007


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Lavish BBC costume drama based on three novels by Elizabeth Gaskell. The series tells the 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, and 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 were crushed when, as a young woman, she was forced to give up Mr Holbrook (Michael Gambon), the man she loved.

Simon Woods, Michael Gambon
Rental Formats:

Product Details

  • Cranford - Disc 1 - Blu-ray ages_12_and_over
  • Cranford - Disc 2 - Blu-ray ages_12_and_over
Runtime 4 hours 55 minutes
Starring Simon Woods, Michael Gambon, Julia Sawalha, Francesca Annis, Philip Glenister, Julia McKenzie, Judi Dench, Estelle Harris, Eileen Atkins
Director Simon Curtis
Genres Drama
Rental release 23 February 2009
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

167 of 169 people found the following review helpful By M Edwards on 3 Dec. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The thing I love about Cranford is that it gives you a valuable insight into the lives of a whole cross section of society from the struggling working class to the aristocracy and everything inbetween. This is very rare as most period dramas would tend to focus on just one main family or storyline, but here you have various characters, families and friends from all walks of life and each of them fascinating in their own way. The scenes and costumes are raw and realistic, the acting outstanding, transporting you into their lives and situations. It is period drama in the best sense of the word as there is a fair dose of tragedy and sadness. This however, is well balanced by some very humorous portrayals and scenarios, as well as some wonderful romances and the joy of life in the Cranford community! All in all, a very worthwhile purchase with a magnificent cast and brilliant depiction of how life used to be in England!
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166 of 169 people found the following review helpful By C. Quin on 23 Dec. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
we avoided watching Cranford at first - thought it would just be another of those irritating adaptations which are either one long cliche and/or look like a Laura Ashley catalogue come to life. The last thing we expected was to watch all five episodes back-to-back - and then to wish there were more!

We would agree with everything M Edwards said in his review: wonderful acting (Julia McKenzie nearly had me sobbing in the last episode), interesting insights into life in the early 1840's, a real cross-section of society into whose lives you gazed (servants were not just 'seen but not heard' as in so many period dramas but allowed lives of their own), real comic moments, an excellent balance of the sad/tragic v happy/comic - all of which helped you to see the characters as real people you could meet today as opposed to fictitious individuals frozen in time.

We loved the way 'retail therapy' was as alive and well in 1843 as it is today, how the worries about the coming of the railway echoes our concerns about how use of the Internet and/or immigration will change our society ... you could really identify with the characters' reaction to the events of their day (which, thankfully, were to the foreground in this production and not just a background rumble as they so often are). And boy did this production make you give thanks for pain killers of all descriptions! And for electric light, running water, contact lenses, antiseptics ...

Cranford reminds us that people are much the same down the ages - we just worry about different things. We may not celebrate May Day as the Cranfordites did - and may therefore not come together as communities as they did - but most of us still feel for neighbours when they suffer grief or misfortune ...
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Brida TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Jan. 2008
Format: DVD
I began watching this series not really knowing what to expect. CRANFORD seemed to be an unusual period drama, as the focus was definitely on women. The nature of the small town, which is predominately populated by women, demands that there be enough to hold the attention of the audience whilst not descending into something that is totally unbelieveable or twee. What you get is a rather unique period drama in which there is plenty of the usual dosage of propriety and romance, but also a lot of fun too.
The cast are brilliant - Dame Judi Dench is, as always, marvellous. But the supporting cast are also bery good at bringing this rather strange little town to life. As you watch their lives unfolding, you cannot help but empathise when their lives are threatened by the proposal of a new railway. Whilst some see it as progress, others are dubious as to how it shall affect their life and tranquility. As any good period dramas must, this works in showing that, although our modern day concerns may be very different, when you come down to it all it shows that no matter what age you live in, there shall inevitably be something to threaten life as you know it.
CRANFORD is a charming drama. I would recommend it to anyone.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Kendra on 16 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I ordered this from Amazon UK to be able to view this prior to its U.S. release date. I was not disappointed! Sadly, I had to watch it by myself because my husband didn't think he'd like it. He would have been wrong, by the way. It was exquisite in every way.

I watched it over 2 nights. It's a 5 hour miniseries and it is broken up into five 1 hour-long episodes.

The first 3 hours were very very good. Excellent, even. But the last 2 hours were absolutely perfect.

In Cranford, we meet many of its residents with most of the focus on 2 spinster sisters and their surrounding friends and relatives. Everyone is kind here and look out for their neighbors and generally want to live correctly and do the right thing. Their village has been like this for ages and the citizens have all known eachother since birth. It is an idyllic place and a happy place. They welcome new residents, too, with every bit of friendliness.

Cranford has existed in the same way for years, even though times are changing. A railroad may come through the town and most residents are against this type of change. For with the positive changes-- such as information, goods, and knowledge, there would also be negative changes-- more transients, less safety, etc.

The intertwined story lines here involve the two sisters, class distinctions, entitlements and expectations, a very funny love triangle, and accepting change and modernity.

One of the best stories involves the young son of a poacher (one who kills animals on others' land). The manager of the aristocrat's large estate takes the young boy under his wing and wants to teach him to read and write.
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