Cranford – small absurdities and major tragedies in a town on the cusp of change – starts Sunday 18 November 2007 at 9pm on BBC One
Francesca Annis, Dame Eileen Atkins, Sir Michael Gambon, Philip Glenister, Lesley Manville, Julia McKenzie, Imelda Staunton and Greg Wise are set to star alongside Dame Judi Dench in Cranford, a new five-part period drama created by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin for BBC One and written by Heidi Thomas (I Capture The Castle, Madame Bovary, Lilies).
Based on three Elizabeth Gaskell novels, Cranford, My Lady Ludlow and Mr Harrison's Confessions, this witty and poignant story follows the small absurdities and major tragedies in the lives of the people of Cranford during one extraordinary year.
Cranford in the 1840s is a small Cheshire market town on the cusp of change. The railway is pushing its way relentlessly towards the town from Manchester, bringing fears of migrant workers and the breakdown of law and order.
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 are crushed when she was forced as a young woman to give up Mr Holbrook (Michael Gambon), the man she loved.
The cast includes (in alphabetical order):
- Francesca Annis as Lady Ludlow;
- Eileen Atkins as Miss Deborah, Miss Matty's elder sister, who is the arbiter of correctness in Cranford;
- Claudie Blakley as Martha;
- John Bowe as Dr Morgan;
- Andrew Buchan as Jem Hearne;
- Jim Carter as Captain Brown;
- Lisa Dillon as Mary Smith;
- Emma Fielding as Miss Galindo;
- Deborah Findlay as Miss Tomkinson;
- Barbara Flynn as Mrs Jamieson;
- Philip Glenister as Mr Carter;
- Selina Griffiths as Caroline Tomkinson;
- Alex Jennings as Rev Hutton;
- Dean Lennox Kelly as Job Gregson;
- Lesley Manville as Mrs Rose;
- Joe McFadden as Dr Jack Mashland;
- Julia McKenzie as Mrs Forrester;
- Alistair Petrie as Major Gordon;
- Julia Sawalha as Jessie Brown;
- Imelda Staunton as Miss Pole;
- Finty Williams as Clara Smith;
- Greg Wise as Lord Charles Maulver;
- newcomer Kimberley Nixon as Sophy Hutton;
- Alex Etel as young Harry Gregson.
Kate Harwood, BBC Head of Drama Series & Serials, says: "We are privileged to have assembled a great cast to give life to these wonderful characters, now we can look forward to seeing these richly moving stories unfold."
Produced by BBC Drama Production and WGBH in association with Chestermead Ltd.
The music is composed by Carl Davis, the director is Simon Curtis, producer is Sue Birtwistle and executive producer is Kate Harwood for BBC Drama Production.