All right Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up

14 May 2008

Crazy about Cranford!

Have you missed the days of Masterpiece Theatre when Sunday nights meant spending time with old friends at Eaton Place in Upstairs Downstairs , being transported to another world in Jewel in the Crown ,or eavesdropping on the lives and loves and treachery of the emperors in I, Claudius ?

Masterpeice has a new look but retains a commitment to its wonderful roots. This season the new Masterpiece was unveiled in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of perhaps PBS' signature series. Gone is the "Theatre" and in its place will be a rotation of "Masterpiece Classics" "Masterpiece Mystery(formerly Mystery) and "Masterpiece Contemporary" dramas. Launched in January with much fanfare with its Complete Jane Austen ,the new Masterpiece is striving to be "today" while staying true to its past. Gillian Anderson as the new host doesn't seem comfortable in the role, but she she has some big shoes to fill. Alistair "Cookie" will always be missed.

With the premiere of its current series Cranford, Masterpiece is back! Cranford is a celebration of everything there was to love about spending a Sunday night with Masterpiece Theatre. The success of Masterpiece almost always began with a wonderful book. Cranford is based on Elizabeth Gaskell's love letter to life in a 19th century English country village.

. Filled with quirky, charming, funny,sweet characters, Cranford is a place you will be happy to visit and eavesdrop on the gossip. A town steeped in its "ways" and standing proud and determined against the tide of "new" that is inevitable. Lives and loves, joy and sadness are reflected in the simplicity of the characters lives throughout one year that will change it forever.

Those lives are portrayed by some of the best of the British acting world and the casting is perfection-Eileen Atkins, Francesca Annis, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, Julia McKenzie...and at the center Dame Judi Dench as Miss Matty. Judi Dench can read the yellow pages and I would watch but I adore her in this role. We watch as her safe corner of the world is shifting away. Miss Matty faces life without her guiding sister and must now decide whether to live by her own rules or continue to cling to her sister's determined tradition. Eating an orange, burning a candle, reconnecting with a lost love are all new trails for her. You will cheer her on, applaud her new found "pluck", laugh and cry and love life in Cranford.

Welcome back Masterpiece, wonderful to look forward to Sunday nights with you again!

If you missed an episode of the 3 part series PBS is running video online-an experiment I hope they continue!! Cranford is also available on DVD!!