Lark Rise to Candleford

I spent the past few months watching all 4 series of ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’. As with so many British series I was late to the party on this one – it finished airing in early 2011 – which gave me the chance to watch all series straight through without having to wait for the next one. Not that there would have been massive cliffhangers, though. ‘Lark Rise…’ isn’t that kind of show, it doesn’t focus on big drama or action, it’s all about the little things, the random acts of kindness, the often petty quarrels and the friendships that keep a community, or rather two communities, going.

The two communities in this case are Lark Rise and Candleford, Lark Rise being a tiny hamlet about 8 miles from the neighbouring prosperous market town of Candleford in rural Oxfordshire at the end of the 19th century. Laura Timmins is a Lark Rise girl just on the brink of adulthood, who swaps her family’s cottage for the hustle and bustle of the Candleford post office, where she starts working alongside her mother’s cousin: formidable, headstrong and independent postmistress Dorcas Lane. Situated right at the centre of town, the Candleford post office – and Dorcas Lane in particular – provides the customers with advice on matters of both business and the heart. Through Laura’s eyes we get to experience what it means to be a woman in late 19th century England and Dorcas Lane teaches us that we can achieve anything if we only set our minds to it. The series shows the daily lives of the townsfolk as well as the villagers and the various grievances that come with it. Through all of those grievances, however, there is the post office and there is Miss Lane, who, though not short of problems of her own, is always there to give her opinion on the matter at hand – if sometimes not entirely welcomed by those around her.

Over the course of the 4 series we get to see Laura grow up from a teenager into a young woman, we get to follow postman Thomas Brown’s courtship of the timid but kind and funny daughter of the town’s vicar, we see hamlet families struggling through periods of extreme poverty without ever losing their appetite for life and we get to know a good deal about 19th century society and its ways.

While I like almost every one of the characters in the series, I particularly love Thomas Brown and Margaret, his wife. Whatever life throws at them, they take it in their stride and they must be one of the funniest TV couples I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. The following scene is one of my favourites:

Another favourite of mine is Pearl Pratt (solo and in combination with her sister Ruby), the proprietor of Candleford’s ’boutique’. Her character is probably changing the most over the course of the series, from an annoying, gossip-loving nag to a loving and kind person who is very protective of her and her sister’s livelihood. This scene is probably my favourite of the entire series and perfectly captures the essence of the plot and what makes it so special and lovely to watch:

So, have any of you ever watched this series? What did you think? If you haven’t, please do give it a try! I think almost all episodes can be found on YouTube and it’s out on DVD as well, of course. Since the series is based on a trilogy of semi-autobiographical novels by Flora Thompson, I’ll be reading those at some point as well (you can click on the image below to buy an all-in-one copy of the trilogy at The Book Depository):

Lark Rise to Candleford

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15 thoughts on “Lark Rise to Candleford

  1. Sarah Pratley June 24, 2013 / 12:25 AM

    Used to love this series. Thought Laura Timmins was a bit too big for her boots sometimes. Who was Dorcas Lane’s unrequited love, who lived at the Manor? Can’t think of his name, which is going to bug me as I thought he was gorgeous!

    • Julia June 24, 2013 / 12:32 AM

      Oh yes, Sir Timothy Midwinter! I thought he was gorgeous, too, shame he was married to that awful woman Adelaide. :-/

  2. Sherry June 25, 2013 / 1:43 AM

    Hi there! LRTC was and always will be dear to my heart. Having watched it from the time it first aired, I instantly fell in love with it–especially Dorcas Lane and Sir Timothy Midwinter. I was so sad when Timothy was written out of the show (I later found out it was Ben Mile’s decision to leave for other projects, sadly) and kept watching, hoping he would return at least by the end of the series sans Adelaide! Just to give myself closure and those of my fellow Dorcas/Timothy fans, I wrote my own continuation (pretending series 4 never existed..LOL!) and having Timothy come back. I also loved Laura and Queenie, and thought none of the men they had paired with Laura compelling enough to be suited to her. In my story I added a new character–Dr Richard Armstrong–played in my imagination by Richard Armitage, and had a lot of fun creating that romance between them. I am now working on my fourth book, which features Thomas and Margaret’s daughter who is in love with Dorcas and Timothy’s son. Since I also found the Pratt sisters hilarious, I have given Pearl a romance of her own with a feisty colonel. As an American, I was fortunate enough to visit England two years in a row and was able to visit many of the film sites and became friends with the owners of Chavenage House (Sir Timothy’s manor) as well as the owner of the wonderful little dog who played Amelia Cordelia. It’s been a wonderful adventure all thanks to this incredibly endearing little show. Should you be interested in reading my LRTC stories, especially if you loved Sir Timothy as much as I did, please check them out here: The first one is “Dorcas and Timothy: A Lark Rise to Candleford Tale” http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5884073/1/Dorcas_and_Timothy
    The second book is “A Midwinter’s Tale: A Sequel to Dorcas and Timothy” http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6912635/1/A_Midwinters_Tale
    The third is called “My Young Man: A Dorcas and Timothy Christmas”http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7994384/1/
    And the final one, still in progress, is called: “A Midwinter’s War” http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9041570/1/
    Hope you get a chance to read them! So glad you finally discovered this show! 🙂
    Best wishes,
    Sherry

    • Julia June 25, 2013 / 10:10 AM

      Hi Sherry, thank you for this lovely comment! Wow, you really are a huge fan of the show, eh? Brilliant! 🙂

      I really liked Timothy as well and thought it was very sad that he left the show, I loved him and Dorcas together. Queenie was another favourite of mine (oh, let’s face it, I love ALL OF THEM *lol*).

      As for the men they hooked Laura up with, I must say I quite liked Fisher, Daniel was too much of a goody-goody for my taste (at least in the end when he’d gotten over his ‘investigative journalism’ phase when he was so insensitive towards the others, after that he was just plain boring), but I can’t really imagine Laura having a future with either of them.

      Aww, you got to meet ‘Amelia Cordelia’? How cool is that? I thought it was so lovely that Thomas and Margaret found her and could finally be a family (though I couldn’t help but hope till the end that they’d have a child together).

      You should have told the powers that be at the BBC to add Richard Armitage to the show, I certainly wouldn’t have minded an addition like that and I bet I’m not alone in this, hehe. 😉

      I’ll definitely check out your stories, I love fanfiction! I always read Harry Potter ones to cope with the series being over, some of those are amazing!

      Thanks again for your comment, I hope you keep visiting my blog. 🙂

  3. Sherry June 25, 2013 / 3:31 PM

    Hi Julia!
    Oh, wouldn’t it have been something if Richard Armitage was added to the show? Well, if you do read Dorcas and Timothy just keep picturing Dr Armstrong as Richard Armitage. 😀
    I agree that of all the men they had for Laura Fisher was the most interesting. I enjoy seeing him now on The Paradise!
    I have to say writing my fanfics has been such a nice way to keep my favourite characters “alive.” It is so rare to find a show that keeps
    one thinking about it long after it has concluded on TV. It’s such a shame that the BBC cancelled it so prematurely!
    Well, please let me know if you do have a chance to read my stories–would love to hear your feedback! 🙂 And they must be read in order because the character continue on in each story. In a nutshell, “Dorcas and Timothy” begins it all with Timothy coming back with his tiny daughter in hand after Adelaide dies in childbirth with their second child. The other storyline in D&T is Laura’s romance with Richard. In “A Midwinter’s Tale” Timothy’s daughter Abby falls in love with Sydney and has a heck of a time getting him to see her as grown woman instead of just as his adopted little sister. Also, Abby discovers a hidden room in the manor of an ancestor named Clarissa, who turns out to also be an ancestor of a certain Lark Rise resident….;-) Then in “My Young Man” it begins with a continuation of Abby and Sydney’s life, but mainly focuses on a flashback to Dorcas and Timothy’s past at a time when they were 18 years old and first falling in love. The final story, “A Midwinter’s War” is about Benjamin (Dorcas and Timothy’s son) and his romance with Hannah Brown (Thomas and Margaret’s daughter) as well as Pearl’s romance with a wounded colonel set during World War 1. Ben Midwinter is also off to war in this one.
    Oooh, I love Harry Potter, too! I sure miss not having new books in the series to read. I also loved all the movies! What a great story that was. Time for another re-read and re-watch of them all! 😀
    Will definitely look forward to reading more of your blog as well! So nice to have “met” another fellow Lark Rise/Harry Potter fan! 🙂

  4. tajanalane September 17, 2013 / 7:59 PM

    Hy Sherry.I read your story even before I saw this comment and i recognised it instantly .I read it at least ten times and even memorized some parts ,my favourite is `She sank to the floor as theworld spun around her..` I am also a big fan of LRTC and especially Dorcas and Timothy .I just cannot get over the fact that they did not end up together and i like to think that is because of ‘technical stuff` like actors and producers and not the characters themselves.

    • Sherry September 19, 2013 / 3:20 PM

      Hi tajanalane! Thank you so much! I am so happy to hear you enjoyed “Dorcas and Timothy”–that really made my day! 🙂 I was so incredibly disappointed when Dorcas and Timothy did not end up together, too. Each episode–especially towards the end–I kept expecting Timothy to return, but he never did. I thought they set it up perfectly in series 3, where Adelaide came back and Dorcas caught on that Adelaide was pregnant again but cheating on Timothy, that she would die in childbirth and allow Timothy to come home to his one true love. Then they pulled the rug out from under us and brought in Gabriel instead. Sure, they could have Gabriel’s wife die, making him available, but not Timothy!
      But you are correct in that it was actor Ben Miles who wanted to leave the show and had a falling out with the producers that caused Timothy to be written out. So incredibly frustrating for us D/T fans! Well, I just had to do something about it, so I ended up sitting down and writing it the way I wanted the series to play out!
      Have you read my sequel’s yet? I am almost finished now with the fourth and final story “A Midwinter’s War.” I am going to miss my little band of characters, old and new!
      Thank you again for reading my story! 🙂

      • Sherry September 19, 2013 / 3:23 PM

        Ooops, should read “sequels” not “sequel’s”. LOL!

  5. tajanalane September 19, 2013 / 5:25 PM

    Yes,i read Midwinter’ s tale and My young man , and that was very comforting for me because Timothy and Dorcas together is something I really wanted to happen .I also loved your writing and i learned a few new words( you see i am from Croatia) and that poem in the story When you are old by William B.Yeats ..i can just say thank you ,because i have never heard of Yeats before ,but reading that poem got me intrigued in him and now he is my favourite poet whose work i read almost daily ! My friend ,who is also a fan of lrtc ,says that Dorcas ended up happy with Gabriel ,i guess that is true, but she and Timothy were the real deal xd and i think i read somewhere that Julia Sawalha also said Timothy was Dorcas’ one true love .

    • Sherry September 19, 2013 / 5:55 PM

      Oh, thank you so much! I am so happy you enjoyed Yeat’s poem so much that you wanted to read more of his work! He is indeed the best!
      I did NOT like the writers bringing in Gabriel at all and giving Dorcas a rushed “happy ending” with him. It was the head writer just wanting to wrap up all the storylines with happy endings, but I thought he really made Dorcas act out of character chasing after Gabriel the way she did. I prefer to pretend the 4th series never happened. Haha! And, yes, Julia did say that she thought Timothy was Dorcas’s one true love. That is how I will always view the TV show–that Timothy was and always will be “the one.” 🙂

      • Sherry September 19, 2013 / 6:06 PM

        I forgot to say how happy I am to have a reader from Croatia!!! 🙂

  6. tajanalane September 19, 2013 / 8:52 PM

    They really forced Dorcas and Gabriel and the whole episode i think,I will definitely read all your stories and re-read the ones i have already read .I am so glad that i found someone who likes lrtc in such a passionate way as myself and i cannot believe that you saw The manor where it was filmed ,you are so lucky.I wanted to ask you if you have facebook or twitter so i could keep in touch with your amazing stories and talk about the show and the characters ?.)

  7. Sherry September 19, 2013 / 9:01 PM

    I also take heart in the fact that at the end of series 4 we do not see Dorcas and Gabriel actually get married, so in my mind something could happen to him before they do, then Timothy comes back! 🙂
    Yes, I’ve visited Timothy’s manor, the place where the exteriors of the hamlet of Lark Rise were filmed (I have a pane of glass from Queenie’s house and bits of plaster from the Timmins home after they were taken down), and my favourite keepsake of all is a bit of the tree stump where they actually cut down Timothy’s special tree at Chavenage House. The stump is still there, and I want to carve a little heart from my bit of wood and put a T and D on it like in my story. 🙂
    You can find me on Facebook here! https://www.facebook.com/sherry.ledenbach The main photo is of me standing in the back of Timothy’s manor.

  8. Julia September 20, 2013 / 9:11 AM

    Seeing you guys chat so much on here makes me really happy. 🙂

    • Sherry September 20, 2013 / 6:19 PM

      Thank you, Julia! 🙂

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