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Masterpiece Classic; Cranford


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Masterpiece Classic
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Series Description

Each winter and spring, Masterpiece classic features signature period dramas. For 2009, Masterpiece classic premieres January 4th with host Laura Linney.

Emmy Award-winning actress Laura Linney will be the new host of Masterpiece classic, making her first appearance when the series premieres with a new adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles on January 4, 2009 on PBS.

In 2009, the series returns with works by three beloved British authors, including Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles (January 4 and 11), starring new Bond girl Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace); Emily Brontë's haunting Wuthering Heights (January 18 and 25) with Tom Hardy (The Virgin Queen) as Heathcliff and newcomer Charlotte Riley as Cathy. In February, Masterpiece classic launches The Tales of Charles Dickens with a bold new adaptation of Oliver Twist, starring Timothy Spall (A Room with A View), and Sophie Okonedo (The Secret Life of Bees) in a heartbreaking performance as Nancy. In March, there will be a repeat of the acclaimed David Copperfield starring Daniel Radcliffe in the role that led him to Harry Potter. Beginning on March 29 is the highly anticipated five-part miniseries Little Dorrit from Bleak House screenwriter Andrew Davies, starring Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley, The Way We Live Now), rising star Claire Foy as Amy Dorrit, and Tom Courtenay (Billy Liar, A Rather English Marriage) as her father. On May 3, The Incomplete Charles Dickens closes with a star-studded The Old Curiosity Shop, with Derek Jacobi, Toby Jones (W., Infamous), Zoë Wanamaker (Harry Potter, Gormenghast), and Gina McKee (The Forsyte Saga). Series release date: 1/4/2009

Program Description

Airing Sundays, May 4, 11, and 18, 2008

Welcome to Cranford, circa 1840...a rural English town where etiquette rules, undergirded by a healthy amount of gossip. Modernity is making a move in town as construction of a railway comes harrowingly close. Cranford's eclectic residents, among them Matty Jenkyns (Dame Judi Dench) her sister Deborah (Dame Eileen Atkins), and Miss Pole (Imelda Staunton), stay immersed in the sweet pleasures and sometimes heartbreaking realities of simple village life. But when a handsome, young doctor arrives with cutting-edge new techniques, it rapidly becomes clear that as the world changes, so Cranford will change with it. Boasting an all-star cast, and based on the works of Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford breathes life into one town during one extraordinary year.

3813: 5/4/2008: Mary Smith flees a crisis at home in Manchester to stay with two spinster sisters, Deborah and Matty Jenkyns, in the small, rural town of Cranford. Deborah is the dominating force in Cranford society. A new young doctor, Frank Harrison, is brought to Cranford to join Dr. Morgan in his medical practice. The mere fact that Dr. Harrison is a young bachelor and trained in London is enough to make him the talk of the town. Meanwhile, Cranford's reigning aristocrat, Lady Ludlow, turns her attention to the planning of her annual garden party with her trusted estate manager, Mr. Carter. The Jenkyns are intrigued when the house across the street becomes occupied by a retired soldier, Captain Brown, his daughter Jessie, and Jessie's ailing older sister. Caroline Tomkinson, who has fallen for Dr. Harrison and is eager to impress him but Dr. Harrison has set his sights on Sophy Hutton, the eldest daughter of Cranford's rector, Reverend Hutton. Forced to assume responsibility for feeding his family, 10-year-old Harry Gregson sets off to poach, but becomes transfixed by Lady Ludlow's glasshouse. Cold and exhausted, he falls asleep on the heated floor and is caught the following morning by Mr. Carter. Harry proves to be reliable, good-natured and intelligent, and Mr. Carter offers to teach him to read and write. Matty, meanwhile, is clearly shaken when she meets a mysterious acquaintance from her past, Thomas Holbrook. Captain Brown shocks the Cranford ladies by telling them that not only is the news that a railway line will be built to come right into Cranford true, but that he will be the Head of Works. All the woman are scandalized by this news, but the most stricken is Deborah, who sees Captain Brown's secrecy as the ultimate betrayal of a friendship, and the railway as the absolute end of Cranford.

3814: 5/11/2008: As winter approaches, Cranford is beset by sorrows and struggles to regain confidence. Mr. Johnson, the owner of the town's most important store, is mugged. Mr. Johnson becomes convinced that Job Gregson, the local ne'er-do-well, must be his attacker and Job is arrested. Job's son, Harry, decides to make a confession to Mr. Carter of his own part in the poaching to save his father from transportation and has to bear the acute disappointment that Mr. Carter feels. Christmas arrives and Cranford huddles together to celebrate, though the town has been so buffeted by events that it feels strangely unsure of itself. An invitation for Matty arrives from Mr. Holbrook, asking her to visit him on his farm. Miss Pole and Mary urge her to accept, and they accompany her on what turns out to be a delightful day. Meanwhile, Dr. Harrison confides in his medical school friend, Jack Marshland, about his love for Sophy. But Jack has set up some mischief by sending a Valentine card to Caroline Tomkinson as if from Dr. Harrison, hinting at marriage. Caroline is ecstatic and eagerly awaits Dr. Harrison's proposal. Matty in a nostalgic mood one evening, decides to confide in Mary about Mr. Holbrook, and how things were put asunder by a trick played by her younger brother, Peter, who then ran away in disgrace to India and has not been seen since.

3815: 5/18/2008: The mention of India prompts Mary to write to Major Gordon to tell him that Jessie regrets her decision not to marry him, since her father is now so busy at the railway works he really has no need for her. Dr. Harrison visits the Rectory and formally asks the Rev. Hutton for permission to court Sophy. At an auction, Dr. Harrison bids for a small table. When he gets it home, he discovers it is a sewing table so suggests his housekeeper, Mrs Rose, might like to use it. To Miss Pole and Mrs. Forrester, this is tantamount to a proposal. Miss Tomkinson, meanwhile, becomes concerned by Caroline's fretful waiting on Dr. Harrison to proclaim his love, and decides to draw him out on the matter. Jem and Martha marry and live as lodgers in Matty's house — a source of joy for Matty. Miss Pole invites the ladies of the town to a secret meeting to discuss Matty's crisis. United in their love for Matty, they decide to secretly share part of their own incomes with her. Dr. Harrison, on the other hand, is shunned by the town — no patients will come to him now that he has been exposed as a philanderer. Mr. Carter is horrified to discover that Lady Ludlow has secretly mortgaged her estate to raise money for her son's villa in Italy. Sophy returns to Cranford ill, but is diagnosed by Dr. Morgan as simply being heartbroken. He assures Rev. Hutton that, with time and love from her family, she will recover. By the time Jack Marshland arrives in town to help clear Dr. Harrison's name, Sophy's condition has worsened and she is diagnosed with typhoid fever. Mr. Carter visits Captain Brown at the railway works in a desperate attempt to see if he can raise capital for Lady Ludlow's mortgage by selling timber or tools. While he is there, disaster strikes and the injured are taken to Dr. Harrison's for emergency treatment. As Sophy's condition deteriorates, her young sisters defy their father and ask Dr. Harrison for help. But has the call come too late?



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Broadcast program

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Eaton, Rebecca (Series Producer)
Chicago: “Masterpiece Classic; Cranford,” 05/04/2008, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed April 25, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_97129AD93A064397AD95EF8B19D1077A.
MLA: “Masterpiece Classic; Cranford.” 05/04/2008. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. April 25, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_97129AD93A064397AD95EF8B19D1077A>.
APA: Masterpiece Classic; Cranford. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_97129AD93A064397AD95EF8B19D1077A
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