Dame Judi Dench to star in BBC One drama Cranford
This press release was updated on 12.09.2007 to reflect the drama's new title, Cranford.
Multi award-winning actress Judi Dench is to star in Cranford, a
new five-part drama serial created by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin from
three novels by Elizabeth Gaskell for BBC One.
Scripted by Heidi Thomas (I Capture The Castle, Madam Bovary, Lilies), this
witty and poignant landmark drama captures the small absurdities and major
tragedies in the lives of the people of Cranford, as they are besieged by
forces they cannot hope to withstand.
In 1842, Cranford is a small rural Cheshire town on the cusp of great changes.
Some people find romance and opportunities, while others fear the breakdown of
Who will embrace the changes on offer by becoming modern?
Elizabeth Gaskell novels have been woven together to create this uniquely rich
and comic drama about ordinary human lives during the course of one
extraordinary year in this small town.
Jane Tranter, Controller, BBC Fiction, says: "To have Judi Dench, Sue Birtwistle
and Heidi Thomas on one drama serial is an honour for BBC Drama.
"Cranford is a beautifully big and ambitious period drama - just the way we
"The logistics of mounting such a production have inevitably taken a
while to pull together, but the best things are well worth waiting for, and we
are all very excited at the prospect of such a piece, and of welcoming Judi
Dench back to the BBC."
Dame Judi will play Miss Matty Jenkyns, whose hopes and lively spirit were
crushed when she was forced as a young woman to give up the man she loved and
to live afterwards in the shadow of her elder sister, Deborah, the arbiter of
correctness in Cranford.
Judi Dench says: "I am so excited to be doing Cranford. A summer of
fun to look forward to!"
Producer Sue Birtwistle was the force behind the highly-acclaimed
television productions of Pride And Prejudice and Wives And Daughters.
She says: "Five years ago, I made a wish: to be allowed to conjure an entirely new drama
out of three Elizabeth Gaskell novels, and to persuade Judi Dench to play Miss
Matty. Dream come true. Is one allowed to be this lucky?"
Further casting is to be announced.
The drama serial is produced by BBC Drama Production and WGBH in association with Chestermead Ltd.
Cranford begins filming in April 2007 in the Cotswolds and London.
The producer is Sue Birtwistle; executive producer is Kate Harwood for BBC
Notes to Editors
BBC Drama Productions are world leaders in classic, period adaptation.
Cranford will follow critically-acclaimed classics such as Bleak
House, To The Ends Of The Earth, Jane Eyre, The Way We Live Now, Our Mutual
Friend and Andrew Davies' adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives And