Classical Music CDs, DVDs

Staff Reviews

If you enjoyed Cranford and the many other superb costume dramas produced by the BBC then you will LOVE this series.

Based on the trilogy by Flora Thompson about her childhood and early adulthood in Oxfordshire at the end of the 19thcentury–which I read by chance about 10 years ago–I was delighted to discover that the BBC had produced Lark Rise as a series.

The TV version, set in the 1880s, tells the story of Laura from when she leaves home and school to take up a position at the Post Office in Candleford.  The story revolves around the people of the poor (but very picturesque) hamlet Lark Rise in which Laura grew up and the inhabitants and the Post Office of the near-by market town of Candleford.

The cast and production values are the BBC at its best, the English countryside is gorgeous, and the combination of humor and drama make this compelling viewing.  A highlight of series 1 is Dawn French as the mother of an ever increasing brood, with a husband usually at sea and always on the verge of or actually in debtors’ prison.  Julia Sawalha (Pride and Prejudice and Cranford) is also wonderful as the Postmistress with a penchant for beautiful clothes. Julia admits to enjoying wearing a corset unlike most actresses who when acting in a “corset drama” have the difficult choice during filming whether to have lunch and risk a corset blow-out or starve to stay “comfortable”.

Actually I must admit I am glad that the ABC did not show these before they came out on DVD as it would have been very frustrating to have had to wait each week for the next episode.  At 4 DVDs and over 10-12 hours for each series there is a lot of splendid viewing at only $66.