Based on a trio of novels by Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford is the latest in a long line of sumptuous costume dramas from the BBC. And its a fine addition to the BBCs heritage too, pulling together a stellar cast for an involving, highly enjoyable series thats well worth picking up on DVD.
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.