In 1890s Oxfordshire, two neighboring towns have a bit of a love/hate relationship. The impoverished rural agricultural hamlet of Lark Rise is small and desperately poor but proud, and its residents are devoted to each other. Nearby Candleford is a larger town and more prosperous. Tension exists between the haves of Candleford and the have-nots of Lark Rise. When teenaged Laura leaves Lark Rise to work at the Candleford post office, she finds herself caught between two worlds that may have more in common than either side thinks. And everyone in both towns find themselves caught in changing times.
I have had this show recommended to me by several people over the years but only got around to watching it recently. It’s a fun, sweet show–sort of like the British period drama version of comfort food. And if you are a frequent viewer of British television, you’ll recognize lots of familiar faces for the residents of both Candleford and Lark Rise.
Ostensibly, Laura Timmins (Olivia Hallinan) is the main character–the aforementioned Lark Rise girl who finds herself working in Candleford’s post office–but the show is also just as interested in following the ups and downs of her boss, postmistress Dorcas Lane (Julia Sawalha, Horatio Hornblower); her parents (Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey, and Claudie Blakley, Cranford); and the Lark Rise and Candleford communities as a whole. Community members include the good-hearted Queenie (Linda Bassett, Call the Midwife), her ne’er-do-well husband Twister (Karl Johnson, Rome), ditzy maid Minnie (Ruby Bentall, Poldark), high-minded postman Thomas (Mark Heap), scheming spinster sisters Pearl and Ruby (Matilda Ziegler, Mr. Bean, and Victoria Hamilton, The Crown), and the hard-luck Arless family.
Truthfully, I found the other members of the community far more interesting than the Timmins family, but I grew quite fond of almost all the characters and enjoyed watching their struggles and triumphs and their everyday lives. Lark Rise to Candleford was quite a bit more humorous than I expected it to be, though it still has its share of poignant and heartbreaking moments too. The show also does a great job of nailing the dynamics of small-town life.
Lark Rise to Candleford is a heartwarming, endearing show. It reminds me quite a bit of Cranford, which is also a really enjoyable TV show.
Have you watched Lark Rise to Candleford? Do you like British TV shows? What have you been watching lately? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on this show or to place a hold.