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Cranford 1842. Cranford is a market town in the North West of England, where it seems that life has always been conducted according to the social rules of an intricate network of ladies. For spinsters Deborah Jenkyns, the arbiter of correctness, and Matty, her demurring sister, the town is a hub of intrigue where everyone talks, and is talked about. New arrivals, social events and scandalous secrets are all discussed and judged. But nothing reverberates like the news that could change the town forever: a railway line from Manchester is coming to Cranford Return to Cranford 1844. This two-part feature re-unites the Amazons of Cranford: Miss Pole, Mrs Forrester, Miss Tomkinson and Mrs Jamieson (with her sister-in-law, Lady Glenmire). Miss Matty brother, Peter is back from India and Martha baby Tilly marks a new addition to the household; Lady Ludlow awaits the return of her son, and wealthy widower, Mr Buxton, is back in town with his ward, Erminia and his handsome son, William. Despite the best efforts of Captain Brown, the railway has stopped five miles outside town, but life never stands still for long and Cranford is about to change in some unexpected ways.
All five episodes, plus the two-part 2009 Christmas special, of the BBC's lavish costume drama based on three novels by Elizabeth Gaskell. The series tells the story of the small absurdities and major tragedies in the lives of the people of Cranford, as they are besieged by forces that they can't withstand. Cranford in the 1840s is a small northern English town on the cusp of change. Things are on the move. The railway is pushing its way relentlessly towards the town from Manchester, bringing fears of migrant workers and the breakdown of law and order, and 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 were crushed when, as a young woman, she was forced to give up Mr Holbrook (Michael Gambon), the man she loved.