|From The Guardian.|
Cranford might just win a competition of TV Series With the Most British Actors That You've Seen In Other Things Crammed In, Ever. There's Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter, Andrew Buchan, Claudie Blakley, Simon Woods. Tom Hiddleston appears in the Christmas special, along with Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Dockery, and Tim Curry.
Based on novellas and short stories by Elizabeth Gaskell (which you can buy cheaply via Kindle), Cranford is about the comings and goings and characters in a small Northern English village, some twenty miles from Manchester, in the 1840s. The Industrial Revolution hums along in the background of this series--the railroad's approach toward Cranford is a big deal throughout--but the village itself continues on as it has for centuries, most likely. Like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell was writing about familiar surroundings and about her own time.