Sunday, September 16, 2007

TV dramatisation of Cranford by Mrs Gaskell

Coming up on the BBC this autumn is Cranford by Mrs Gaskell, starring Dame Judi Dench and a whole host of stars, including Dame Eileen Atkins, Julia McKenzie, Barbara Flynn, Julia Sawalha and Imelda Staunton. Set in the fictional town of Cranford, a small Cheshire town based on Knutsford (where Mrs Gaskell grew up), the 5 part drama was filmed on location in various places including Lacock Village in Wiltshire (as the setting for Cranford), the Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire in the Chilterns (also used in the Harry Potter films)and the Buckinghamshire village of West Wycombe owned by the National Trust.

Cranford is based on three of Elizabeth Gaskell's works, Cranford, My Lady Ludlow and Mr Harrison's Confessions and I see from Amazon that The Cranford Chronicles is to be published on 4 October to tie-in with the TV series.

The National Trust Autumn Magazine has an article "The Dame Game" about the filming at the NT locations, with some great photos of the actors and the settings. At the moment the Summer Magazine is available to look at on-line, so I expect that eventually the Autumn Magazine will be too.

The Gaskell Web has lots of information on Elizabeth Gaskell plus photographs of present day Knutsford as well as prints of Knutsford Past, with connections to her life and works. These photos are of St John's Parish Church, where Elizabeth married Rev William Gaskell in 1832 and of the Old Vicarage.

I read Cranford at school and haven't looked at it since, so I'll be able to watch the series without many preconceived ideas about the characters and the story, although as I used to live near Knutsford, no doubt I'll be comparing Lacock to my memories of Knutsford. It's to be broadcast on BBC1 this autumn - I can't find a precise date on the television listings yet. One to look out for.


Dorothy W. said...

Oh I'd love to see this! Perhaps they will make it available here on DVD. And I should probably read the book first ...

BooksPlease said...

Dorothy, I expect it will be out on DVD later.

I'm in two minds whether to re-read the book before watching the series, as sometimes I find the dramatisation disappointing. In this case I don't think it will matter either way. I've always thought Judi Dench is excellent in the parts she plays and with all those other actors it should be really good - not forgetting the scenery either.

Anonymous said...

Hello there.

The C19 messageboard is reporting heavily on the Cranford Chronicles. They claim it will air on BBC1 from November :-)

Tara said...

This sounds fabulous - I love Gaskell. I am also hoping this comes to the US in some form - hopefully Masterpiece Theater.