Cranford returns to BBC One
Dame Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis, Julia McKenzie and Jim Carter return in the popular award-winning BBC One drama about the lives of the people of Cranford, in a two-part special for Christmas 2009, it was announced today.
Fresh from four BAFTA Television nominations, seven BAFTA Craft nominations and six Broadcasting Press Guild nominations, as well as the TRIC Award 2007 for Best Drama Programme earlier this month and the RTS Award for Best Writer, the two-part special will be produced by co-creator Sue Birtwistle (Pride And Prejudice), directed by Simon Curtis (Five Days, Freezing) and written by Heidi Thomas (Ballet Shoes, Lilies).
BBC One viewers became addicted and entranced by Cranford, a small Cheshire market town in the early 1840s on the cusp of great change.
The railway was pushing its way relentlessly towards the town from Manchester, bringing fears of migrant workers and the breakdown of law and order.
The Christmas special picks up the story in September 1844, a year after the town celebrates the wedding of Sophy (Kimberley Nixon) and Dr Harrison (Simon Woods).
Kate Harwood, BBC Head of Series and Serials and executive producer of Cranford, comments: "Cranford captured the hearts of the nation last year as every week, nearly eight million viewers tuned in to catch up with Miss Matty and her fellow villagers.
"I am delighted that we are able to bring these much-loved characters back to life for a Christmas special in 2009 and once again uniting an unprecedented pool of talent to thrill and entertain our audiences."
The Cranford 2009 Christmas special will film in and around Wiltshire and London.
The Cranford 2009 Christmas special was recommissioned by Jane Tranter, Controller, BBC Fiction.
Notes to Editors
Cranford first broadcast on BBC One in November 2007 over five consecutive weeks.
- Royal Television Society Awards 2008
Best Writer – Heidi Thomas for Cranford
- Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC) Award 2008
Best Drama Programme
- Television BAFTA Awards 2008 (ceremony to be held on Sunday 20 April 2008)
Programme of the Year
Best Actress - Dame Judi Dench
Best Actress - Dame Eileen Atkins
- Broadcasting Press Guild Awards 2008 (ceremony to be held on Friday 4 April 2008)
Best Actress – Judi Dench for Cranford
Best Actress – Eileen Atkins for Cranford, Ballet Shoes
Best Actor – Philip Glenister for Cranford, Life On Mars
Best Actor – Michael Gambon for Cranford, Joe's Palace and Celebration (BBC Four)
Writer's Award – Heidi Thomas for Cranford, Ballet Shoes, Lilies
Best Drama Series
Average audience figures:
- 7.8m/27.1% share
- 2.6m/12.7% share (narrative repeat)
- The Independent (Tom Sutcliffe): "Beautifully played, very funny and deftly directed, it's a world I can't wait to get back to."
- The Sunday Times – Culture (AA Gill): "I was hooked, gaffed, netted and filleted."
- The Observer – Review (Kathryn Flett): "Its luscious painterly tableaux vivants make its art direction and photography possibly the most beautiful in any costume drama ever."
- The Mail On Sunday (Jaci Stephen): "It would be impossible to list all that is great about Cranford without writing out the script verbatim."
- Sunday Express (David Stephenson): "Cranford is the period drama of the year, and probably the series of the year."
- Daily Telegraph (James Walton): "Perfect isn't an adjective that we nit-picking old critics like to use very often – but, in the case of Cranford, I really can't think of a better one."
- The Hollywood Reporter: "An instant classic."