Thursday, April 02, 2015

Historical TV dramas.

I have to admit I do have a passion for historical dramas and the BBC do it better than anyone!
I'm currently watching two dramas, Poldark, set in Cornwall, and the Australian set drama, Banished.

Poldark


It’s 1783, and Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) returns home from the American Revolutionary War to a country in the grip of recession. His beloved Cornwall is on its knees. In his absence, his father has died, his land and mines have gone to ruin and his childhood sweetheart has become engaged to his cousin. Feeling betrayed by everything he loves, Ross has to rebuild his life, with a new business venture, making new enemies and finding a new love where he least expects it. The dramatic and captivating landscape of the Cornish coastline is the perfect backdrop for this outstanding historical family saga. 


Banished 


An epic drama about human courage and endeavour, love, loss and impossible choices. 
In 1787 Britain banished its unwanted citizens - orphans, petty thieves, prostitutes and highwaymen to Sydney in Australia. Among the first convicts are close friends Elizabeth Quinn (MyAnna Buring),Tommy Barrett (Julian Rihind-Tutt) and James Freeman (Russell Tovey). When Elizabeth and Tommy's illicit relationship is revealed to those in charge, it sets in motion a series of events that forces the pragmatic, idealistic Governor Phillip (David Wenham) into further opposition with his nemesis Major Ross. Their relationship also threatens the close bond between Elizabeth, Tommy and James at a time, and in a place, where survival depends on having the support of those you love.

Blurb
Flora Thompson's charming love letter to a vanished corner of rural England is brought to life in this warm-hearted adaptation. Set in the Oxfordshire countryside in the 1880s, this rich, funny and emotive BBC series follows the relationship of two contrasting communities: Lark Rise, the small hamlet gently holding on to the past, and Candleford, the small market town bustling into the future.
Seen through the eyes of young Laura (Olivia Hallinan) the inhabitants endure many upheavals and struggles as the change inexorably comes; their stories by turns poignant, spirited and uplifting. And Laura herself must face great change. Taking a job in the Post Office in Candleford, run by the mercurial Dorcas Lane (Julia Sawalha - Cranford), Laura turns her back on her childhood hamlet to make her way in the world. With her loyalties divided, she must choose her own path to womanhood...
Dawn French, Julia Sawalha and Liz Smith star alongside Olivia Hallinan in this ten-part adaptation of Flora Thompson's magical memoir of her Oxfordshire childhood.


 Cranford.


This is the DVD of the lavish BBC costume drama, Cranford, based on three of Elizabeth Gaskell's novels including Cranford itself.
The cast boasts some of Britain's best-loved and most experienced actresses, including Dame Judi Dench, Dame Eileen Atkins, Imelda Staunton and Francesca Annis.
The five-part drama series tells the witty and poignant story of the small absurdities and major tragedies in the lives of the people of Cranford, as they are besieged by forces that they can't withstand.
Cranford in the 1840s is a small northern English town on the cusp of change. Things are on the move. The railway is pushing its way relentlessly towards the town from Manchester, bringing fears of migrant workers and the breakdown of law and order.
The arrival of handsome new doctor, Frank Harrison (Simon Woods) from London causes a stir; not only because of his revolutionary medical methods, but also because of the effect he has on many of the ladies' hearts in the town.
Judi Dench plays Miss Matty Jenkyns, whose hopes and rebellious spirit are crushed when she was forced as a young woman to give up Mr Holbrook (Michael Gambon), the man she loved.
Philip Glenister, Lesley Manville, Julia McKenzie, Julia Sawalha and Greg Wise also star alongside Judi Dench and the above-mentioned actors. Created by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin for BBC One and written by Heidi Thomas (I Capture The Castle, Madam Bovary, Lilies).


 Lilies.


Set in the aftermath of the first World War, Lillies is a quality period drama that centres on the activities of the Moss family. It’s also, seemingly, a show that’s been brought to an end after just one compelling series.
Living in 1920s Liverpool, the Moss family consists of three girls--Iris, May and Ruby--and one boy, Billy. Trying to keep them in order is their father, following the death of their mother. The three girls, at the behest of their mother, are Catholics, and it’s they that Lillies concentrates the best of its time upon.

Other historical dramas I've bought and enjoyed:

North and South




North and South is a powerful adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's feisty and passionate novel, set across the social divides in the changing world of Victorian industrial society. Margaret Hale is one of literature's most original heroines: a southerner from a country vicarage newly settled in the industrial northern town of Milton. In the shock of her move, she misjudges charismatic cotton mill-owner John Thornton, whose strength of purpose and passion are a match for her own pride and wilfulness. When the workers of Milton call a strike, Margaret takes their side, and the two are brought into deeper conflict. As events spiral out of control, Margaret - to her surprise - begins to fall in love with Thornton...


These dvds now join the exulted ranks of my favourites period dramas such as Pride and Prejudice, Becoming Jane, Sense & Sensibilty, Bleak House, North & South (USA civil war), Miss Potter, Rob Roy, Braveheart, The Patriot, Little Women and many more.

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