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Lark Rise to Candleford

Lark Rise to Candleford: Season 1

What She said:

She

Lark Rise to Candleford is a British costume drama with some familiar faces to those who frequent British period shows.  It tells the story of the people of a small trading town, Candleford, and the even smaller, and extremely poor nearby hamlet, Lark Rise.  Season 1 first aired in January 2008 on the BBC.  You can now find all four seasons of the show via streaming media. 

Season 1 introduces us to a number of characters.  The most important and reoccurring are the Timmins family, with father, Robert, mother, Emma, and daughter, and the postmaster of Candleford, Dorcas Lane.  Dorcas is actually a cousin to the Timmins family, but she’s way more well-off.  When Laura reaches maturity, the family arranges for her to go to Candleford to work for Dorcas in the post office.  She begins doing the delivery rounds and manning the front desk.  As the season progresses, you see Laura’s transition into an independent young woman and an asset to Dorcas.  In the meantime, from week to week, there are a variety of subplots involving Dorcas and the other characters.  In Candleford, we have the honor of meeting Ruby and Pearl Pratt (the Pratt Sisters), who are terribly nosey and wildly entertaining in all their spinster-ness, Thomas, the uber religious mail carrier, and Lady Adelaide and Sir Timothy Midwinter, the super-rich landholders and governing force of the area.  Reoccurring characters from Lark Rise include Twister and Queenie, the Arliss family, with Caroline and Alfie, and the minister’s daughter, Margaret Ellison.

Lark Rise to Candleford

There are some major overarching plots from the first season.  One is the constant quarrelling between Candleford and Lark Rise, which, suffer a huge culture clash despite being less than 8 miles apart in distance.  Additionally, there’s a reoccurring theme of lost romance between Sir Timothy and Dorcas, who struggle to keep their emotions in check.  In the meantime, the Arliss family are in financial ruin.  They were poor already, but Caroline is a fretless spender who blows through any money that hardworking son, Alfie, manages to bring in.  There are a number of other characters in Lark Rise to Candleford, each of which is crucial to the success of the show.  Each personality is endearing, and each story compelling and relatable.  Even though the show is set in late 1890s England, there are components to it that apply even today.  Everyone is very real.

The show is well done, with good cinematography, beautiful landscapes, and fun, quirky humor.  There’s historical and cultural significance at play, and the dynamic between the two towns is compelling to watch play out.  It’s also great to watch young Laura grow under Dorcas’ tutelage.  It will remind the viewer of their own impressionable years.  After watching Season 1, I’m drawn to watch more.  Fortunately there are four full seasons to get through.  It’s worth noting that the series is based on a set of semi-autobiographical novels written by Flora Thompson and published in the 1930s and 40s.  She is represented as Laura Timmins in the books/show.

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