Lark Rise To Candleford Review: Train In Vain

March 26, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews


For those of you (including me) who didn’t know – Lark Rise to Candleford is the depiction of English novelist Flora Thompson’s semi-autobiographical trilogy about the English countryside. Written between 1939 and 1943, the series is ably adapted from the excellent literary work by screenwriter Bill Gallagher and directed by Charles Palmer.

Now, period dramas aren’t usually my thing, but having watched this one – it comes across as a charming, nicely scripted tale that makes use of varied plotlines weaved around the central story.

A BBC adaptation, starring Julia Sawalha, Olivia Hallinan, Brendan Coyle and Dawn French, Lark Rise to Candleford began on BBC One in the UK on 13 January 2008. The third series that this episode completes began in January this year.

The drama is presented via the eyes of Laura, played by Olivia Hallinan, as she leaves Lark Rise to start a new life under the wing of her cousin, the independent and bristling Dorcas Lane (Julia Sawalha). She is Post Mistress at Candleford’s Post Office and features as a respected and central town figure (especially in this episode).

Set in the small Oxfordshire hamlet of Lark Rise and the wealthier neighboring market town, Candleford, towards the end of the 19th century, the series chronicles the daily lives of farm workers, craftsmen and gentry.

In this final episode of the third series we see the culmination of controversial preparations for the railway, the trying dispute with the post office and the tying up of the love triangle between Laura, Fisher Bloom and Daniel Parish. This follows the previous episode where the charming Fisher (excellently played by Matthew McNulty) returned to attempt to win her back, threatening to scupper Daniel’s plans.

Laura spends a lot of her time looking either innocently sweet, or confused about the intricacies of love. As it appears to me, Fisher is the one to go for, but you’ll have to find out who she settles for in the end.

The other main plot strand in this season finale is Dorcas lane’s battle with control of the post office. How will she deal with a postal re route through Ingleton and being forced to consider the other party’s offer?

With moments of tension and drama, Lark Rise to Candleford is mostly feel good, with moments of wit, humour and wordplay. Roles worthy of particular note are Julia Sawalha who puts in a good turn as Dorcas and Laura expertly played by Olivia Hallinan. Certainly one for all the family, it’s well worth tuning in as the third series wraps itself up nicely.

Rachael says:

Don’t forget to read the trilogy to get the real story. It’s now available in one nice volume!