Olivia Hallinan, Dawn French, Julia Sawalha, Liz Smith, Brendan Coyle, Claudie Blakley, Mark Heap, Ben Miles, Olivia Grant, Linda Bassett, Karl Johnson. When young Laura Timmins leaves Lark Rise for a job at the local post... more » office in Candleford, it feels as if she is departing to a different country. Her new life under the wing of the independent and effervescent post-mistress, Dorcas Lane, is eye-opening and exciting, but as Laura witnesses the scandals, feuds and struggles of the villagers and townsfolk, she realizes that she too has to face the future. Having turned her back on her childhood hamlet, she must find her own path to womanhood.« less
BRITISH PERIOD PERFECTION--SOMETHING FOR EVERY TYPE OF DRAMA
Harold Wolf | Wells, IN United States | 10/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"English country life could never have been as poetic, pictorial, and enchanting as this dramatization of the lives of those living in and around the two 1880's towns of Lark Rise and Candleford. Even the DVD's music puts a sanguine sugarcoating on the period. All of this is to the delight of the viewer of this masterfully done TV series sure to endear any North American who has a tender video heart toward Victorian Britain. Perhaps, consider it a British mutation of "Little House on the Prairie" or "The Waltons."
This set of 4 DVDs, 10 episodes totaling 582 minutes, is actually a 9 1/2+ hour saga (continuing panorama of human relationship) of the commoner village and the more sophisticated Candleford. The short 8-mile separation allows for much intermingling, bigotry, conflict, forbidden love, political and economic interaction. It is not a family saga, not a nobility bloodline dramatization, but a saga of struggles and lifestyles of different kinds of personalities, each caught in their own born-into world, and interacting with another different, and not always understood, class of folk.
Darling Laura Timmins (Olivia Hallinan), oldest child of a Lark Rise family, is sent off to Candleford to learn the trade of postmistress. She is the spark caught between the two towns (sometimes world's different.) Her mentor, Dorcas (Julia Sawalha), has a personal secret. There is the expected, token-gentry, rich, Squire family, Sir Timothy (Ben Miles)& Lady Adelaide (Oliva Grant). The rest of the regular cast (at least 20 appearing in all 10 episodes) is an assortment of either the die-hard, disheveled, working class or the Candleford higher class, but yet short of nobility range. It is the individuals that make this spectacular (or fill in your own highest superlative.)
One episode travels into the next with carryover from earlier material. If you have the time, it's best to watch it as a near 10-hour feature production. What a horrible time the original TV viewers must have had waiting for the next installment. Each episode has multiple plots so it is impossible to break down the episodes into short summaries. And with carryover from one episode to another, it's more like moving to Lark Rise or Candleford and living with the good people (and the bad). A delightful scenic experience even Disney has never matched.
Ah, but the folks you will meet. Dr. Seuss eat your heart out. Queenie (Linda Bassett), an old bee keeper, is married to ole Twister (Karl Johnson) and both will make you laugh and cry, perhaps in the same scene. Pearl (Matilda Ziegler) and Ruby (Victoria Hamilton) own Pratt's General Drapers & Haberdashers. They represent the best of fashion and fitness, just ask them, as they spurn much gossip and controversy. Thomas (Mark Heap) is a postal delivery man who helps keep Christianity alive and aloud. Portly Caroline (Dawn French) a mother with her man off to sea, divides her time between frivolity and beer and would make a fine Viking helpmate. And dear, dear old housemaid Zillah (a standing O for Liz Smith), is the life and death of every party--a quirkiness totally lovable. Assistant gamekeeper Phillip and melodean-playing Alfie vie for Laura's affection, while her ma, Emma (Claudie Blakley), and pa, Robert (Brendan Coyle) try in vain to keep sanity to the comings and goings of life from "Lark Rise to Candleford."
Oh and more, locations and sets to die for a vacation in. Costumes to dazzle, delight, and disgust, depending upon the event. Every emotion you have ever felt in your past will be repeated sometime throughout this English town saga. The adapted books by Flora Thompson have never been read by this reviewer, but I can't imagine them being as fine as this TV series (and I'm a book lover). A superb British cast has perfected this story.
Subtitles? Yes! Bonus? "The Making of Lark Rise To Candleford" Recommendation? BUY NOW! EXPEDITE SHIPPING, it's that good.
Another stellar period drama from BBC
z hayes | TX | 10/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been waiting for this series to be released here in the United States, and watched it within two days. I have to admit that I have yet to read the book (of the same name) by Flora Thompson that this series is based on (I plan to do so soon). The book is said to be semi-autobiographical but I can't really comment on how faithful the series is to the book since I've yet to read it. My review as such will be confined to the BBC drama.
The story follows the lives of the inhabitants of the poor, sleepy hamlet of Lark Rise and the more affluent and snooty inhabitants of Candleford during the last decades of the 19th century (sometime in the 1880s I believe). The central character Laura Timmins (Olivia Hallinan) is a young girl from Lark Rise who is sent by her parents to work as an assistant to the postmistress, the capable and sensible Dorcas Lane (a brilliant Julia Sawalha). Initially Laura balks at the more restrained and formal way of life in Candleford, and is humiliated by the way some of the town's more snobbish inhabitants (such as the Pratt sisters, Pearl and Ruby, credibly portrayed by Matilda Ziegler and Victoria Hamilton) look down upon her, but she gradually finds satisfaction and a measure of happiness in her job and new surroundings, and comes to develop a true understanding of the inhabitants of both Lark Rise and Candleford, in all their complexities. Julia Sawalha is amazing in her role as the kind postmistress who acts as a sort of mentor to young Laura, and whose own life seems deceptively straightforward, despite some undercurrents, brought on by her close friendship with town squire, Sir Timothy Midwinter (Ben Miles) who is married to a city girl,the cool and composed Lady Adelaide (Olivia Grant).
To delve too much into the plot would detract from the viewer's pleasure, and so all I will say is that this excellent series has everything to recommend it - a wonderful score, beautiful cinematography of the lush English countryside, and plenty of human drama, dealing with social issues, marital strife, forbidden desires, love across the different social classes,friendship, and lots of good old-fashioned humor.The ensemble cast is excellent and a delight to watch, engaging viewer's interest from the first episode till the last of the season, and I was sorry to see it come to an end. Luckily for fans, there is Lark Rise to Candleford: The Complete Season Two, and Season 3 will hopefully be available on DVD soon.
Perfection in Period Drama!
eileenpr | Boston, MA USA | 11/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was searching amazon for a new period drama, found this one, and decided to purchase it based on the reviews and the quality of actors -- including Julia Sawalha (Pride & Prejudice and Cranford), Brendan Coyle (North & South), Ben Miles (The Forsyte Saga), Dawn French and Claudie Blakely. I was not disappointed. It was absolutely fabulous and I didn't want it to end. In fact, I've watched it a second time since purchasing it a month ago. I cannot wait until they release series two in the U.S. (it's already available in Europe). If you're thinking of buying it, don't hesitate. It's well worth the $42, ranking up there with P&P, N&S, Cranford, The Forsyte Saga, Sense & Sensibility (Emma Thompson version, which I happen to like better than the recent Andew Davies version), Emma (Gwyneth Paltrow version), Persuasion (Amanda Root version), etc. (I love period drama and own just about every one released). What better way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon? Enjoy!"
Can't live without this one
Papillon Picasso | New York | 10/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an absolutely addictive series I recently discovered on PBS, and I am SO delighted that it will be released on DVD soon! If you have ever been a fan of BBC shows, then you will quickly discover that this wonderful cast of characters includes quite a number of faces you will recognize (Julia Sawalha, Olivia Hallinan, Brendan Coyle and Dawn French, among many others.) Good writing, good acting....can't live without it!"
USA format, please!
Viewer | USA | 03/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful series on BBC in England, based on Flora Thompson autobiographical trilogy "Lark Rise to Candleford". Those of us in the USA would love to see it available in a DVD format that we may watch, again and again. It can easily be compared to an English village version of Little House on the Prairie or Anne of Green Gables series; both beloved classics. Crossing our fingers!"