Archive for February 16th, 2010

Lark Rise to Candleford

February 16, 2010 @ 8:55 pm | Filed under:

Are any of you watching Lark Rise to Candleford? It’s a BBC period drama that airs here on our PBS station. We’re about halfway through Season 2; I believe the third season started last month in the UK. It’s set in a somewhat vague 1880s-ish time frame, the story of a small farming hamlet (Lark Rise) and the neighboring market town (Candleford). Season One begins with 16-year-old Laura leaving Lark Rise—somewhat reluctantly—to take a job in the Candleford post office, which is owned and run by Laura’s mother’s cousin, the amiable and efficient Dorcas Lane.

I think it was the glimpse of Dorcas on PBS one night that made us add Season 1 to our Netflix queue; she is played—wonderfully, I have to say, with great nuance—by Julia Sawalha, whom you may remember as the maddeningly flighty Lydia Bennet in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice.  We watched the first season on DVD and then tuned into Season 2 already in progress; I think we came in around episode 5. Annoying, our DVR fizzled out during the recording of episode 7, so we didn’t get to see how things played out with Fisher Bloom—not to mention Laura’s father’s stolen tools, a plot development which made me feel sick to my stomach. Robert Timmins is a stonemason. His tools are his livelihood. I think he’s my favorite character—except maybe for Minnie, Dorcas’s young, semi-competent, chatterbox maid—so I really hate to see him suffer a blow like that. He’s an artist, Robert is.

I never see anyone talking about this show online, and every week I’m all sputtery over various developments and yearning to gab. Are none of you watching?

Queenie! I forgot. Queenie is my favorite character. Absolutely. And not just because she’s a beekeeper, though that of course is part of it. But also for her warmth and twinkle, her generosity of spirit, her calm good sense. The way she talks to her bees reminds me so much of Linnets and Valerians.

It was awful to see her so distraught last night over the disappearance of her bees, and (now we enter spoiler territory, so be warned) the memory of her saintly grandmother’s dark secret. I thought the bit about the Lark Rise children destroying the Fordlow gardens was a bit of a stretch—even with Twister riling them up, I can’t imagine those kids laying waste to food like that. Not when we’ve seen how lean the pickings can be in Lark Rise at times.

I have no patience for Mr. Dowland’s self-indulgent moping. Enough already. I did love his reaction when Minnie dropped in with the flimsy, ad-libbed story that Dorcas wanted to borrow, um, a cigar case. For her cigars! That glimmer of amusement in his face was the first really likable thing about him.

I miss Caroline Arliss. What happened to her and the rest of Alf’s family? That must be part of what we missed in the beginning of this season.

Honestly, I could watch this show for the scenery alone. Those lush grain fields, the green hills. Oh my heart.