Friday, August 16, 2013

Mourning Downton Book & Movie Club: Lark Rise to Candleford, MY ONE WEAKNESS

"My one weakness" is English Period Drama.
So, alas, my one weakness is not Downton is now Larkrise to Candleford.
Or maybe Cranford, or Upstairs Downstairs...

Dorcas Lane and Laura Timmins
At the suggestion of one of my beloved readers, I went searching for this series.

Well, if Dorcas Lane, Post Mistress of the Candleford Post Office, can claim several ONE WEAKNESS' than so can I.  I highly recommend Lark Rise to Candleford. It is a series that I can watch with my 11 year old daughter. Downton is too racy for her...Mr. Pamuk, for one, well,  I'm not ready to go there with her yet. It may be a bit too mature material for her..maybe in a year or two she'll be Downtonized, but for now, Lark Rise to Candleford is an innocent, lovely late 19th Century British Drama that has all the charm I'm looking for.

My one difficulty with this beautiful BBC production: whenever someone says "OH, Dorcas"...I can't get past the heroine being named DORCAS...somehow "OH CORDELIA" sounds so much more lovely.
But alas, Dorcas Lane is a heroine to match the likes of Mary Crawley and dare I say Elizabeth Bennett???

And Laura Timmins, the Larkriser who becomes postal delivery girl...journaling about her life both figuratively and literally between the small working, struggling, scraping-by hamlet  {Lark Rise} and the clean, comfortable, mannerly town {Candleford} matches our pioneering, rural American Heroine, Laura Ingalls.  Or better yet, the Prince Edward Island Anne (with an e) Shirley of Green Gables.

The series is beautfully shot, written and executed. It's only drawback, besides the aforementioned "Dorcas" moniker is that it ends too soon...the BBC cut it off in Season 4, despite an overwhelmingly favorable audience and critical response. Apparently, they needed cash for Downton and Call the Midwife. Therefore, it seems that the writers were under a rush to tie up the story lines and it is obvious that some actors were either not availabe for the story line wrap up or they didn't have BBC funding to bring them back. The 4th Season is a bit weak and preachy, but hey, so was Little House on the Prairie, right? But all in all I loved this as a whole.
This leads me to discuss the actors themselves. You all know that I'm a Downton Abbey devote'. And so I was ecstatic, yes, seriously thrilled to see that Brendan Coyle is one of the main figures. Our own Mr. Bates is the Patriarch in a way,  of the farm hand hamlet of Lark Rise. Coyle's Robert Timmins, father of Laura,  is a champion of a man, with a flaw or two...disguised as a mason.
 He is married to Emma Timmins, played by none other than Claudie don't recognize the name? Maybe you'll recognize her very distinct face!
Claudie was Charlotte Lucas in  Pride and Predjudice

There is also one of my favorites actors  from The Forsyte Saga
Ben Miles as Sir Timothy Midwinter

and I didn't know her name, but I recognized her from Cranford,
Julia Sawalha as Dorcas Lane
The acting is superb. There is an amazing supportive cast, many of whom you will recognize as supporting cast from Downton, Selfridges, Cranford and other BBC and Masterpiece productions.

So, there you have it. If you haven't watched the series on your local PBS stations already {it aired originally in 2008 and some stations replay regularly} it is available on AMAZON PRIME INSTANT PLAY and on some Local PBS Affiliate websites and available for purchase. I'd check your local library to see if they have copies of the discs as well ;)

Now, I'm off to read the books!
Lark Rise to Candleford (2008) Poster



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