The BBC drama series adapted from Mary Gaskell's classic novels of small town gossip, secrets and romance. 1842. Cranford, a market town in the North West of England, is a place governed by etiquette, custom and above all, an intricate network of ladies. It seems that life has always been conducted according to their social rules, but Cranford is on the cusp of change… For spinsters Deborah Jenkyns, the arbiter of correctness in Cranford, and Matty, her demurring sister, the town is a hub of intrigue - a handsome new doctor Frank Harrison from London has arrived; a retired Captain and his daughters have moved in to a house opposite and the preparations for Lady Ludlow's garden party are underway. Everyone - from charming rogue Dr Marshland to mean Mrs Jamieson and her lap dog talks, and is talked about, behind closed doors. The town also has its secrets which it slowly reveals: Matty's encounter with an old flame at the garden party; Lady Ludlow's gardener, Mr Carter, teaching a gypsy lad to read and write; the wild expectations of the May Day celebrations and - news that shakes the town when it is revealed - a railway line from Manchester is coming to Cranford.
Return to Cranford: Welcome to Cranford, where all changes and all remains the same. Miss Matty's house is full of life and bustle. Her dream of having a child in the house has been realised in the birth of Tilly, daughter of her maid Martha and carpenter Jem. The shadow of the railway still looms but, to the relief of Matty and the Amazons, the line has been halted five miles outside of Cranford because of Lady Ludlow's refusal to sell her land. Elsewhere Miss Matty's friend Mr Buxton returns to town with his son, William, and his niece, Erminia. Miss Matty decides to introduce them to Peggy Bell, a young woman who lives in an isolated cottage with her mother and domineering brother, Edward, in the hope of building friendships. But, when tragedy strikes, she comes to believe that she has opened Pandora's box and fears Cranford will never recover.
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