This beautiful, entertaining lark is something I hoped to find any way to get a hold of. As a continuity airing on British television, the wait was an even longer wait in making its way to the states. Eventually, Lark Rise to Candleford, series one did arrive on DVD, and I excitedly purchased all four series!
Lark Rise to Candleford (2008) Series One Review
The Timmins family is unable to provide for their children, but on this particular day, a fifth child joins the family. Robert Timmins (Brendan Coyle) struggles to find work in his small village of Lark Rise. His wife Emma (Claudie Blakely) lifts some of the burden by placing their eldest daughter in an apprenticeship which Robert strongly opposes. Laura (Olivia Hallinan) is his “little girl,” which makes him feel worse unable to provide. But you see, a cousin is the postmistress in the more cultured town of Candleford, and in Laura, Emma sees a thirst for more. Not about to leave without argument Laura doesn’t shy away from an opinion, and is none too happy to leave her childhood friend Alf (John Dagelish).
As the only child of the Candleford Postmaster, Dorcas Lane (Julia Sawalha) carries on the legacy of the post office from her late father and she feels a certain responsibility to keep up standard. Unmarried, Dorcas has a heart of gold, and helps anyone in need. Upon the arrival of Laura, Dorcas is willing to allow some concessions for inexperience, but she expects the best from her employees which also includes the devout mail carrier Thomas Brown (Mark Heap) a stickler for the rules. Soon after she leaves, Laura is conflicted when the two villages begin to take opposite sides in debate!
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There is so much more going on in this charming little series than one can scribble into a brief synopsis. There’s a love triangle and unrequited love; broken hearts and moral struggles; along with the desire to be better. As the themes work out, there isn’t any one that stands out as being more prevalent because each episode is independent from the others. Some do build on the other but its talent keeps viewers interested week after week with a different story-line that follows the daily lives of residents.
In addition to the leading characters and top-billed stars, this series also has a host of supporting British talent. There’s the Pratt sisters (played by Matilda Ziegler and Victoria Hamilton); and Ben Miles plays the wealthy land owner who (continues to) breaks Dorcas’ heart. Everyone works so well together, seeing to form a rapport (which may very well be true give filming took place for about seven or eight months out of the year). The simple changes these characters went through yet another thing to love about the show. It’s adorable to see Laura’s progression into, not only adulthood, but also a civilized, charming young woman. Opposite this, it’s a delight to experience the wisdom of Dorcas. Something that seems to carry into the scripts, which are wonderful.
Another beautiful thing about this is the costumes, for want of a better term, they’re gorgeous. If you are a fan of costume dramas, seeing this should be high on your priority of television series. If you like Wives & Daughters or When Calls the Heart, then this little gem of a series is one not to miss.
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You can find Lark Rise to Candleford on Amazon Video (digitally) or DVD.
‘Lark Rise to Candleford,’ Series One: This is a British Drama of Charm. A review of the BBC drama with Julia Sawalha. #PeriodDrama #WhattoWatch #Review #BBC Click To Tweet
Content: I cannot remember anything to bother families’ concerned with content. Nevertheless, the show would likely have a ‘PG’ rating; if anything there may be a rare innuendo.
Note: this review was published in the archives five or more years earlier. Since moving to WordPress, 90% of the reviews, lists and articles need re-formats and/or other updates. Updated edits and changes to fit current formats have been made; it has also been updated with new photos, and republished.
This review originally published November 6th, 2012.
I LOVE Lark Rise!!! I watched the entire series (as in, ALL of them) almost straight through and was completely hooked on it. I get that way with shows – I become "one with the show." Not healthy, but fun. ;) Due to this show, I swear if I ever have a son, I want to name him Alfie. :)
So did (do) I, Kellie! I miss it. :/ This was one of the sweetest, most wholesome series around and I loved that about it! So glad you enjoyed this one also!
I watch more than one show at a time usually because I watch them on DVD. Sometimes it's fun to switch around. :)
Weren't you so sad when Robert Timmins never reappeared. He was at the heart of the show to me. I now have something to add to my Christmas list since we don't actually own any of these yet. :)
I certainly was, Alison! I missed Brendan's (Robert) character SO much! Ironically he never re-appeared because he took up residence at Downton Abbey. Have you seen that one? It's got more "adult" material than 'Lark Rise' but is equally charming – the first series is PHENOMENAL! Hope this appears under your tree this season: it's an excellent Christmas gift idea. :)
Thanks bunches for stopping by and commenting, Alison – I really appreciate it. Visit again anytime.
Oh, I loved Lark Rise to Candleford! I even had the theme tune for my ringtone for a while… If I had more time (and if I didn't want to watch so many new series) I would certainly rewatch it!
Seeing as I read in the comments you already watched all the series, don't you think series 1 was by far the best of the lot?
I think I started re-watching 'Lark Rise' but then got side-tracked by something else! You are so right, Birdienl – there's always something new clamoring for attention …and yet, I don't really mind. ;)
I don't know if I'd say the first series was the strongest or not… To say one way or another, I'd probably want to watch them again. There were several things about the latter series that I liked equally well such as the arrival of Minnie or Laura's sweet crush on Daniel. The "real" way it was set up felt genuine in S1 and in that regard, it was priceless. All in all, S1 is definitely a charmer!
This series is close to the top on my to-see list! I have some friends who highly recommend it…and seeing that you say the costumes are awesome is yet another reason to watch it. :) Someday!
Though it may not be the most intelligent, this is a delightful family series, Charity – plus, yes, the costumes are LOVELY. Enjoy!
Oh, goody! I LOVE seeing recommendations for "clean" shows. They are so few and far between, so I'm always on the look-out for them. I've just added the first disc of Lark Rise to my Netflix queue! :)
I have a list of tv series that I rotate through, watching a single episode from every series each week. I guess it's a habit I carried over from my childhood, when we watched episodes as they aired, one new episode every week. (Back when there were dramas like Promised Land, Early Edition, Dr. Quinn, etc) Anyway, I'm getting to the end of a few series that are in my current rotation, so I'm glad to find something new to try. :)
I really appreciate your blog, Rissi. It's invaluable, and the short content advisories you give are very helpful in deciding whether or not to try a series. Thank you so much for your time and efforts!!!
This is a perfectly adorable series, Valerie! It makes me sad that it's over now since there was so much more writer's could have worked with. Nevertheless, the ending isn't bad.
Oh, my gosh! I loved Early Edition. Mom and I watched the DVD sets and am now waiting for S3 to release. It seems to take forever and a day sometimes – and I agree: Finding something new shows to add to that rotation is fun. :)
Thank you for being a part of the blog's readership, Valerie. It means a lot. And thank you for the feedback – it's nice to know if/what is helpful because that is part of the purpose of these reviews. :)
I hope you enjoy 'Lark Rise' – let me know what you think!
Though I have only watched the first two seasons in this delightful series, I found them both enchanting. I think one of the things I loved the most is the fact that I was able to recognize almost every single guest star from something else!! Another draw for me is the unique focus of this show; though there is nothing particularly earth-shattering, it does provide plenty of clean, wholesome fun based around the intersecting daily lives of people you quickly grow to love. Something else I especially appreciated was the addition of profound philosophies or themes as the basis for each episode.
When it comes to the romance, while he only (sadly) appeared in just one episode, James Delafield was my absolute favourite as a potential match for Dorcas. As for Laura, I fell in love with Fisher Bloom from the first, and have never really gotten over it. What are your thoughts?
Thanks for the great review!
I agree, Eleanor; the series was awesome. I liked seeing all the familiar faces (Lydia from Pride & Prejudice was so fun!) and of course grew to love Laura's heroine. Wholesome entertainment was the best draw, definitely. Plus as you say, it was nice to have the quiet story-telling in an age of high-stakes adventure.
Which one was James? Was he the schoolteacher…? I cannot remember who he was. I particularly liked the schoolteacher and my heart broke when he had to leave. Fisher was perfect as a match for Laura. He was my favorite also (if memory serves me right). I did wind up liking that Dorcas adopted a child. That was a nice thing for her and seemed to make her feel so much more complete. :)
Thanks for your thoughts! Always glad to have you stop by. :)
Yes, James was the schoolteacher. The main people I blame for his never-should-have-occurred departure are definitely those poisonous Pratt sisters, but also Sir Timothy, the jerk; just when Dorcas finally finds someone she really connects with on all levels, he has to intervene to make sure she remains alone and as miserable as he.
But, at least she finally does get some semblance of a family life with her adopted child, and later Gabriel (though I think it would have been even more perfect if they could have brought James back!) And yay, I'm so glad you like Fisher as much as I do!!
Yay! I remembered right. :)
Ugh. Yes! One of my biggest story pet peeves is when once an ex-lover has moved on (or thinks they have the right to be happy), then is jealous, upset, what-have-you when the other person is about to move on. I've seen it time and again and no. Just no. It shouldn't happen – especially since it's used just for more friction.
I did love James.
Yes. I like it when shows bring back loved characters in the final season. For instance The Mentalist is ending and will be bringing back two of its fan favorite characters in the finale. That's a nice touch and way to end a show.
Indeed I did. Despite the girls ending up with maybe not our favorite heroes, I'm glad the show ended well. Maybe we could lobby for a Christmas special to catch up with these characters! :)
Couldn't agree more about the whole ex-lover thing; I mean, it only made him seem really unlikable, and aside from the fact that they grew up together and were childhood sweethearts, I can not understand what she sees in him. But you know who I really feel sorry for? His wife. I mean, imagine being married to a guy, then having to watch him spend copious amounts of time everyday with a former girlfriend, who he is obviously still in love with!
Yay for that news about The Mentalist; thanks for telling me! Is it Van Pelt and Rigsby, by any chance?
A Christmas Special would be amazing!! And something I could definitely get behind.
Thank you! I'm glad not to be alone in this whole cliché plot line. Ugh. It's really annoying and I do wish the waters hadn't been muddied. LRtoC was so beautiful, then there was that. *sigh* I felt sorry for Timothy's wife often too. The poor woman didn't seem to be anything but sincere (or that's my memory) and as you say, here her husband was… still trying to convince his sweetheart they had something!
BBC should get on board with a Christmas special. That would be fun. Plus I just want to catch up with these people. Although perhaps Laura's dad wouldn't be able to return… he is busy as a valet and trying to clear his wife's name, after all. ;)
Oooh, you're a Mentalist fan too!? I guess if I knew that, I forgot. Yes, it is Van Pelt and Rigsby! I'm so very excited. Love that they're returning to help close the show. Or I am so long as the writers don't ruin their happy ending. :)
Thanks – as always, for the fun comments, Eleanor. :)
Okay so… about Belgravia? I DNF the book because it bored me (rich people’s problems tend to do that). I liked the TV series more because there was more of the downstairs’ stories, but not much. Overall, Belgravia was only… meh for me. Obviously he tried to recapture what he had with Downton but failed. But the Lark Rise to Candleford sounds great!
So sorry you didn’t care for Belgravia. I tend to like TV shows or films as well as the books though; I think for me, it’s seeing it all come alive on screen. :) If you try ‘Lark Rise,’ I hope you enjoy!! It’s a delightful little series with likable characters – even when they sometimes break our hearts!
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