Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lark Rise to Candleford

I am a sucker for BBC costume drama so I was excited to discover Lark Rise to Candleford, a television series that takes place in the late 19th century in Oxfordshire. The show centers around the relationships between the residents of a poor hamlet stuck in the past, Lark Rise, and the sometimes snobbish residents of Candleford, a small town nearby. The first episode begins with Laura Timmins, a young girl and lifelong resident of Lark Rise, leaving to serve as an apprentice to the postmistress of Candleford. Throughout the series, Laura is often caught between enjoying the modern luxuries of Candleford and missing her friends and family in Lark Rise.

The scandals, love affairs, and class differences that viewers have come to expect from period dramas are all present, but in Lark Rise to Candleford, these plot points are presented with a light and comedic touch. Dawn French, better known as the hilarious Vicar of Dibley, offers comic relief in the first season as the perpetually debt-ridden Caroline Arless. Viewers also get to see Brendan Coyle in a much less brooding role than the beloved Mr. Bates in Downton Abbey.

While the series offers plenty of opportunities for laughs, it also exhibits the stark differences between people living in poverty in the country and the residents of town who enjoy the luxuries of advances in technology.

Fans of the more well-known BBC series, Cranford, will enjoy Lark Rise to Candleford. VBPL owns all four seasons on DVD. For a modern slapstick take on a small English village, check out The Vicar of Dibley.

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