Just before Christmas, I was scanning my Facebook feed when this post caught my eye:

We’ve just watched the BBC mini-series Pride and Prejudice. It was so good!  What next? Anyone know of another great series?

There was an answering comment: You must see Cranford.

Cranford? I’d never heard of Cranford so I did some research and discovered it’s another British mini-series based on three novels written by Elizabeth Gaskell. Soon I’d ordered the DVD series which I gave to Imogen as a Christmas present.

Every evening for a week or so, Imogen, Charlotte, Andy and I met in the family room after the younger girls had gone to bed. I lit a few candles, Charlotte searched the fridge for some chocolate, Andy filled a couple of glasses with wine … and then we settled back in our seats. Imogen waved the DVD remote control at the TV and the theme music began. We were transported back in time to the days of the Industrial Revolution, a time when Charles Dickens was becoming well-known and the railways were spreading across Britain, bringing many changes to a class-divided society.

There was so much we loved about Cranford: the delightful characters played by well-known and highly talented actors; the scenery and costumes that brought life in the village of Cranford alive; the unforgettable and clever script that we are now all quoting at one other; the involving story line which frequently changed direction and pace, one moment making us laugh, the next bringing us close to tears.

Every evening when an episode came to an end, we lingered to discuss what we’d learnt about life in the 1840s, to quote our favourite bits, to laugh again over the funny moments, to predict what would happen next…

When we arrived at the end of the last episode of Cranford, we sighed with satisfaction. It was a great series.  

We did some further research about Cranford on the Enchanted Serenity of Period Films blog. We read about the characters, viewed photographs of the actors, read an interview by the producer and found out exactly which Elizabeth Gaskell novels inspired the script of the mini-series. Cranford was based on the novels Cranford, Mr Harrison’s Confession and My Lady Ludlow.

A quick trip to the Kindle store and we soon located these novels in one volume, The Cranford Novellas, for $0.99. I bought and downloaded the book and now Imogen, Charlotte and I all have a copy on our Kindles waiting be enjoyed.

“No more Cranford! What are we going to watch next?” asks Charlotte.

“Return to Cranford!” cries Imogen.

Yes, there’s more: a second series which we are looking forward to watching. Of course, we can’t wait to see what happens next in the lives of the characters of Cranford. We know we will learn more about life in the 1840s. But best of all, we will be spending more evenings together nibbling chocolate, sipping wine, watching, sharing, discussing, laughing…

And after Return to Cranford? What next? Anyone know of another great series?

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  1. Thanks for the tip to the novella. I stumbled upon Return to Cranford accidentally while recording season 1 of Downton Abbey in December. It was delightful. Now I need to go back and watch Cranford. I have also been enjoying Upstairs, Downstairs.

  2. Pam,

    Imogen has read the first of the novellas and says there are differences between it and the mini-series, but she still enjoyed it. I think I read somewhere that the writers of "Cranford" and "Return to Cranford" wrote their scripts in the spirit of Elizabeth Gaskell rather than sticking strictly to her stories. I'm looking forward to reading the novellas!

    I keep hearing references to "Downton Abbey" and how much everyone is enjoying this series. I must do some research as I know nothing about it. And "Upstairs, Downstairs". That must be quite old but I've never watched it either. Thank you for your recommendations. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment!

  3. "Upstairs, Downstairs" is difficult to watch. Especially when you're upstairs and the TV is downstairs.

    God bless.

  4. Sue, would you like to become a author on the "Gods Girls" blog? it would be really nice if you could, and I would love to have someone to do posts with me!!!

    However, I do need your email address, the one you are using for your blog account, so I can send you a invite. comment on the "Gods Girls" blog to let me know. also it would be a good idea to write your email in another comment, as I won't published it. Thank you!!

    Love Sararose (Brid) xox

  5. Victor,


    Do you watch TV? Are you are mini-series person? Have you actually seen "Upstairs, Downstairs"?

    I hardly ever watch TV because there's too much else to do with my time but... sometimes I can be persuaded to sit down and watch a movie or mini-series on DVD with my family. It's always much more fun to share a program rather than watch it on my own.

    God bless!

  6. Brid,

    I would be honoured to be an author on your blog! Thank you for asking me. You will have to let me know what kind of stories you'd like me to write. I will email you so we can work out the details.

    God bless!

  7. Upstairs Downstairs was a great series of life in England just before the first World War, (although the latter episodes include the War as seen from the UK).

    Upstairs lived the rich and well to do, with a Member of Parliament and his family. Downstairs (sub-ground) lived and worked the servants. So you could see life from both perspectives.

    Brilliantly written and brilliantly acted throughout.

    The house in Downton Abbey is open to the public. It is superb.

    Never seen Cranford.

    These "old style" TV series are great both for historical purposes and for nostalgia. These days nostalgia isn't what it used to be. Fond memories of life gone-by!

    If I want to be depressed, however, I always watch the news.

    God bless.

  8. Victor,

    Thank you for returning and telling me about "Upstairs, Downstairs". Now I want to watch it! I guess it will be on DVD. Everything is these days. I'll shall track a copy down.

    Downton Abbey? It must be a series set in a big English home? I really must find out more.

    When I was a teenager we spend some time in England and every weekend my parents arranged a trip to somewhere historic. We trooped through a number of old English houses. Fascinating!

    The news? I never watch it. As you say, it's too depressing. Each morning, Andy reads the news online and I ask him what's going on in the world. That's enough news for me. I keep up with the really important stuff via all the blogs!

    God bless.

  9. Have you seen BBC's Bleak House and Little Dorrit? We love them so much.

  10. Anne,

    We watched "Little Dorrit" over Christmas. Yes! It was wonderful. I love Charles Dickens. We shall watch "Bleak House"! Thank you so much for your recommendation.


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