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Lark Rise to Candleford: Series 1 [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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Flora Thompson's charming love letter to a vanished corner of rural England is brought to life in this warm-hearted adaptation. Set in the Oxfordshire countryside in the 1880s, this rich, funny and emotive BBC series follows the relationship of two contrasting communities: Lark Rise, the small hamlet gently holding on to the past, and Candleford, the small market town bustling into the future.
Seen through the eyes of young Laura (Olivia Hallinan - Sugar Rush, Torchwood) the inhabitants endure many upheavals and struggles as the change inexorably comes; their stories by turns poignant, spirited and uplifting. And Laura herself must face great change. Taking a job in the Post Office in Candleford, run by the mercurial Dorcas Lane (Julia Sawalha - Cranford, Pride and Prejudice), Laura turns her back on her childhood hamlet to make her way in the world. With her loyalties divided, she must choose her own path to womanhood...
Dawn French, Julia Sawalha and Liz Smith star alongside Olivia Hallinan in this ten-part adaptation of Flora Thompson's magical memoir of her Oxfordshire childhood.
The BBC’s costume drama juggernaut struck gold once more when it decided to tackle the work of Flora Thompson. And in adapting her books in the form of the television production Lark Rise To Candleford, it has brought another compelling piece of drama to the screen.
Lark Rise To Candleford is set at the end of the 19th century, and it follows the story of two communities in the midst of a developing Oxfordshire. One is a fast-growing market town, the other a sleepier, quieter place that’s holding more onto the past. Centred on Laura, the eldest daughter in the Timmins house, as she leaves the quieter life for work in the market town, the stage is then set for a quality drama series.
The cast, for instance, is simply terrific, with Julia Sawalha, Dawn French and Olivia Hallinan rightly taking plaudits. And the journey of their characters, along with those of the strong supporting cast, is simply wonderful television.
Mixing in humour, drama and the production values we seem to take for granted from the BBC, Lark Rise To Candleford really is quite a treat. And what’s more, it’s proof positive that when it comes to television period drama, there really isn’t anyway doing it better. Super stuff. --Jon Foster
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