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Feb 11

Lark Rise to Candleford

Posted on Friday, February 11, 2011 in Historic, Reviews, TV series

Some time after I watched Cranford (see earlier review), I discovered another tv series set in nineteenth century Britain. In fact, it reminded me of Cranford, not merely because the two names Cranford/Candleford are similar. Like Cranford, this series is set in nineteenth century England (though roughly half a century later.)

The initial premise is smiliar too. A young woman, Laura Timmins, moves to live with an older woman – in this case her mother’s cousin, Dorcas Lane – to work in miss Lane’s post office, in a small town.

Again, like Cranford, this series is both funny and sad and most of all interesting. It too features a number of memorable characters, mainly female. In fact, that’s one of the few complaints I have. While there are.a few interesting male characters, the great majority are female.

Apart from Laura, the main character, and her relative and boss, Dorcas Lane, there are their two neighbours, Pearl and Ruby Pratt who own a shop selling the latest fashion, sometimes all the way from Paris. They are perhaps not exactly pleasant, but interesting and have their secrets, some of which are exposed in season 2 (which is as far as I’ve watched).

One of my favorites is Queenie (who lives in the hamlet Lark Rise, that Laura comes from). Queenie is easily the most likeable character in the whole series. She’s a wise old woman, who keeps bees, grows herbs and vegetables in her garden and knows much about healing. Over the years she’s taken in children and raised them as her own. Sadly, Queenie was never able to have children of her own. She lives with her common law husband (later they marry, properly in church), Twister. Twister is a bit excentric, perhaps going senile. He’s a good man, but he leaves the responsibilities of running their household entirely to Queenie.

Another favorite is Minnie, a girl taken in by Dorcas Lane, to train as kitchen maid. Minnie is funny, charming and filled with wide-eyed curiosity about her new world. She listens attentively and picks up new, long words like ‘extra-ordinary’ and learns to use them. Minnie, like many of the other characters, has her own dark back story, but despite all that, she remains happy and outgoing.

Mailman Thomas Brown, strict Christian, comes across as rather rigid and cold, but hides a heart of gold under his strict exterior.

Finally, I’d like to mention James Dowland – another favorite of mine. He shows up early in season 2 and he and Dorcas Lane end up arguing about just about everything, but it’s obvious that they’re attracted to each other. I won’t go into what happens between them. I will only mention that he’s one of Queenie’s foster children, who’s left Lark Rise, gone to London and returned to his native Oxfordshire, having made a fortune. James too has his secrets, but again, I won’t spoil the series for those who haven’t seen it. There are plenty of other interesting characters, but I think this will do as an example. If you like historic series, I can definitely recommend it.


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