A while ago, my mother was on Amazon, and soon after said that she bought some DVDs. The DVD's were to a BBC television show called Lark Rise to Candleford. When they arrived, it became something to look forward to watch on the weekends. In the evening, my mother, my sister, and I would sit down and watch this series. Now, on with the review.
Synopsis: Lark Rise to Candleford follows the story of Laura Timmins, a girl from the poor hamlet of Lark Rise in the 1890s. When Laura's sister Annie is born, her mother Emma sends Laura to work with Dorcas Lane, a relative who runs the post office and forge in Candleford, a prosperous town.
Between Lark Rise and Candleford, you get a wide variety of entertaining characters. Julia Sawalha, instantly recognized by any fan of Pride and Prejudice (1995 miniseries), plays the michevious Dorcas Lane who has the propensity of meddleing in everyone's affairs. There are many comical characters. Zillah (Liz Smith) is the gossipy maid of the post office and has a lot of character. Twister Turrill (Karl Johnson) plays the part of a carefree, work-dodging old man well!
Among the comical characters, there are more serious ones. Lady Adelaide (Olivia Grant) is the wife of Sir Timothy Midwinter (Ben Miles) who is having a hard time fitting into her life in Candleford; and in addition to this, Sir Timothy spends quite a lot of time with his childhood friend, Dorcas Lance, and because of this Lady Adelaide feels neglected by him.
Sir Timothy and Lady Adelaide outside the manor house. Picture found at BBC
Relaxing, yet entertaining. You can be assured of sitting down to Lark Rise to Candleford and not have to worry about getting into something too heavy. Plotline range from something as simple as disputes between Lark Rise and Candleford to crime. From hidden secrets to past romances from long ago (and current). Of course, there are subplots that go along with one or a group of episodes (for example, Caroline Arless (Dawn French) being in debt and hiding from the collectors while her son takes care of her other children). Each episode is about an hour long and you may have to stop yourself from viewing the entire season in one sitting.
Breathtaking... Absolutely breathtaking. BBC period dramas are well known for their beautiful settings, and Lark Rise to Candleford is no different. The road between Lark Rise and Candleford features a lush countryside. The manor house grounds are green and bright and the forest path is quite lovely. The manor itself is grand. Lark Rise is appropriately poor, however some of the houses did not seem to be too terrible; you could tell that they were poor, but their houses did not seem like they were falling apart, but rather that it needs to be cleaned more and maybe get some new furniture. But overall, the scenery is very beautiful. In fact, in an interview, Julia Sawalha said that many people think Lark Rise to Candleford is on a big budget with the beautiful cinematography, but that it's the crew that does a good job, and it shows!
The costuming reflects on the characters' personalities well and is very beautiful. Dorcas, a business woman with exquisite tastes, is dressed very nicely in dresses of fine fabric. The Pratt sisters (Matilda Ziegler and Victoria Hamilton), the snobbish owners of The Stores, are appropirately dress in outlandish dresses (and trim) and accessories to match. Lady Adelaide is richly dressed as the wife of Sir Timothy from London. The people of Lark Rise are dressed like hard working people.
Overall Score: 5/5
This is the best new TV show that I've seen in years. It holds your attention with an interesting plot while being something nice to watch. The acting is well done and the characters are likable and hilarious. After watching a few episodes, you really get to know the characters, and after one episode, you will definately be hooked!
Lark Rise to Candleford: Series 1 is available on DVD and has ten episodes on four disks. You can purchase it from Amazon or from BBC America's website. Some selected PBS stations have started to air Lark Rise to Candleford; check your local PBS station to see if they are one of them!