I’ve been on a BBC drama/Masterpiece Theater kick lately, trying to get my fix of life on the other side of the pond between seasons of Downton Abbey. A friend recommended Doc Martin, a quirky series and lots of fun, though not a costume drama.
Definitely worth watching if you aren’t hooked on it already.
Browsing the DVD shelves at the library, I ran across Lark Rise to Candleford. It is a costume drama set in the late 1800s. Think Little House on the Prairie goes to England. A fun series the whole family can watch. The trailers at the beginning of Lark Rise featured Cranford, another costume drama set in a small town in 1840s England. It is so, so, so good. The downside? Masterpiece Theater made only one series.
Five beautiful episodes that left me wanting more, more, more.
These programs are wonderful, but the appearances of the same actors in various English drama feels too close for comfort…dare I say incestuous?
A strong word, I know, but here’s what I mean.
Eileen Atkins who does a bang up job as spinster sister Deborah Jenkyns in Cranford also plays Ruth Ellingham in Doc Martin. Jim Carter, who Dowton Abbey fans know as Mr. Carson the butler shows up in female-heavy Cranford as the retired Captain Brown.
But that’s just the beginning.
Actress Julia Sawalha is his Cranford daughter, Jessie Brown. But in Lark Rise to Candleford she’s postmistress Dorcas Lane, linchpin of the community who bodice heaves like a true damsel in distress.
Are you with me so far?
Another Cranford to Lark Rise in Candleford crossover is the actor Claudie Blakely. In Cranford she’s Martha the loyal maid, and in Larkrise she’s Emma Timmins, the wise and loving mother of the main character.
But wait. Here’s the real shocker.
The actor who plays Emma’s husband Robert Timmins on Lark Rise is Brendan Coyle. That’s right! Downton Abbey’s Mr. Bates really is married to another woman! What will Anna, his Downton wife and Lady Mary’s personal maid think when she finds out?
Now you understand why I chose such strong language.
The whole sordid situation almost makes me want to pull the plug on British dramas. But not quite. Because it’s my duty to watch Downton Abbey. And Doc Martin. And Lark Rise. To keep an eye on Mr. Bates. And Ruth Ellingham. And Dorcas Lane.
In case things get too close for comfort, and England calls on me to save the day.