Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Return to Cranford for Christmas

The Ladies of Cranford return for Christmas!
Return to Cranford, or The Cranford Christmas Special is worth a view this December to get you in the Period Drama Christmas spirit!  If you adored the ladies of Cranford, you will especially love this continuation of the story which was done for the Christmas season of 2009 in Britain, but aired in North America the following January.

Joining the lovely ladies above are a few new characters and new storylines.

Return to Cranfod with Mr. Buxton (Jonathan Pryce)
Recently widowed, Mr Buxton has returned to his native Cranford with his son William and niece Erminia after a two-year absence. He can be blunt and volatile, often speaking and acting before thinking, but he is loyal, generous and down to earth. Though personally happy to live a quiet, unassuming life in the country, he has great ambitions for William, whom he is determined to see "marry up" and enter into politics.

Return to Cranford with William Buxton (Tom Hiddleston)
Mr Buxton's only child, William is bright and capable but, having dropped out of Cambridge when his mother fell terminally ill, he now struggles to find direction for himself without her gentle guidance. What is certain is that he has no interest in his father's political ambitions for him. He's far more excited by the technological and scientific advances of the modern age and engineering, in particular. But standing up to his formidable father and forging his own way will prove to be the greatest test to his character.

Return to Cranford with Peggy Bell (Jodie Whittaker)
The younger child of Mrs Bell and the deceased Curate of Cranford, she lives in an isolated cottage outside of town with her family. Though she's bullied by older brother, Edward, and ignored by her mother, she seems to have accepted her lot in life with good grace because she has a gentle and loving nature. But her solitary life has made her live too much in her own head, making her appear dreamy in public. Miss Matty feels for Peggy and actively encourages a friendship between Peggy and Erminia and William. Though different in many ways, Peggy enjoys this friendship and her true, surprisingly strong, character blossoms as a result.

Return to Cranford with Lady Glenmire (Celia Imrie)

A character from the original novel, Cranford, Lady Glenmire is the sister-in-law and social superior of Mrs Jamieson, though by far the more down-to-earth of the two. A genteel Scotswoman on the surface, she is intelligent, lively and very sociable – the exact opposite, therefore, of Mrs Jamieson. The Amazons are disappointed at first to find Lady Glenmire is far from grand but, once they get to know her, they secretly prefer her company to that of their old friend, Mrs Jamieson. And they are not the only ones who enjoy her company – Captain Brown finds her charming, sensible and energetic.

Return to Cranford with Erminia Whyte (Michelle Dockery)
The orphaned daughter of Mr Buxton's younger sister and now his ward (and William’s cousin), Erminia has lived abroad and has recently finished an expensive education in Brussels. She is pretty, musical and full of life. At first Erminia befriends Peggy Bell out of a sense of kindness and duty, but she quickly sees the true value of Peggy's character and they become firm friends.

Return to Cranford with Lord Septimus Ludlow (Rory Kinnear)
Lady Ludlow's seventh and last-remaining child, Septimus is much talked about in the novel My Lady Ludlow but never actually appears, so he is a newly-created character. He arrives in Cranford from Italy after many years absence, bringing his bored and louche companion, Giacomo, with him. Lord Septimus is beautifully dressed, prone to enthusiasms and schemes, but is easily distracted, particularly when these schemes involve hard work. He is also sentimental and nostalgic.

Return to Cranford with Signor Brunoni (Tim Curry)
A character from the original novel, Cranford, Signor Brunoni is an "Italian magician" advertised as Grand Magician of Arabia and Wizard to the King of Delhi. When tragic events in Cranford lead to his show being cancelled, Peter Jenkyns determines to invite him to return for a special Christmas performance. Colourful and quick-witted, Brunoni immediately sees through Miss Pole's attempts to discover the secrets of his show and finds ways to disconcert even the ever-certain Miss Pole.


Thanks to the BBC for the wonderful character descriptions. There are some great plot lines in this one, from the train wreck to the magician Signor Brunoni coming to town.  I particularly enjoyed Francesca Annis as Lady Ludlow in this series, as well as Tim Curry as Signor Brunoni and Imelda Staunton as the hilarious Miss Pole.  This series is not meant to light the world on fire but it will entertain you delightfully and it brings Elizabeth Gaskell's wonderful characters to life right before your eyes. This is the BBC at it's best.

Feel free to play the game of "I have seen that actor in..." below in the comment section. All of these actors have been in other period dramas and British productions so see if you can name a few without going to IMDb. Oooooh, now that's a challenge!


  1. I am very disappointed, because I cannot find this episode on DVD. It is not even mentioned in the Wikipedia listing. How in the world will I ever see it?!

    My grandmother taught me to play "I remember that actor from", and now my 14 year old daughter likes to beat me to it with new films. Even Hubby gets in on the action. Recently I found an actress from one of our favorite new action movies in a "Miss Marple".

    I am so enjoying your blog. Have a Very Merry Christmas!

  2. @Mom Walds Place- I can help you! It is on Amazon. It is listed as Cranford:Return to Cranford under DVDs and if you want both the series it is under Cranford:The Collection.

    PBS is also showing this on Sunday nights in December, starting tomorrow so enjoy!

  3. I don't know why everyone is raving about this story, I mean, sure, it has a great cast of actors but I fail to see the point of the vast majority of characters and twisting plot turns smashed together in only 5 episodes when the ending point seems to be no more than to reveal to the audience that life is short and you better take advantage of love when you have the chance and if this review is making the reader exasperated with its pointless length, be forewarned that that will be the same feeling when you are watching the movie.

  4. i agree, "a great cast of characters" and the revelation you mentioned. but from what i can remember, the story had so much more to tell - the results/reactions to changes in family, friends, trends, social relationships, the loyalty between friends despite differences in opinions, lifestlyes, and the involvement i experienced in the way the story was told.
    (i guess not even all vegetarians share the same taste for all vegetables)




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