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Wives & Daughters:
North & South:
All five episodes, plus the two-part 2009 Christmas special, of the BBC's lavish costume drama based on three novels by Elizabeth Gaskell. The series tells the story of the small absurdities and major tragedies in the lives of the people of Cranford, as they are besieged by forces that they can't withstand. Cranford in the 1840s is a small northern English town on the cusp of change. Things are on the move. The railway is pushing its way relentlessly towards the town from Manchester, bringing fears of migrant workers and the breakdown of law and order, and the arrival of handsome new doctor, Frank Harrison (Simon Woods), from London causes a stir; not only because of his revolutionary medical methods, but also because of the effect he has on many of the ladies' hearts in the town. Judi Dench plays Miss Matty Jenkyns, whose hopes and rebellious spirit were crushed when, as a young woman, she was forced to give up Mr Holbrook (Michael Gambon), the man she loved.
1842. Cranford, a market town in the North West of England, is a place governed by etiquette, custom and above all, an intricate network of ladies. It seems that life has always been conducted according to their social rules, but Cranford is on the cusp of change...
For spinsters Deborah Jenkyns, the arbiter of correctness in Cranford, and Matty, her demurring sister, the town is a hub of intrigue - a handsome new doctor Frank Harrison from London has arrived; a retired Army Captain and his daughters have moved in to a house opposite and the preparations for Lady Ludlow's garden party are underway. Everyone - from charming rogue Dr Marshland to mean Mrs Jamieson and her lap dog - talks, and is talked about, behind closed doors.
The town also has its secrets which it slowly reveals; Matty's encounter with an old flame at the garden party; Lady Ludlow's land agent Mr Carter teaching a gypsy lad to read and write; the wild expectations of the May Day celebrations and - news that shakes the town when it is revealed - a railway line from Manchester is coming to Cranford.
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