It’s a remarkable thing when what you’ve been meditating on and practicing, important truths of human nature—identity, humility, sorrow, betrayal, forgiveness, understanding, patience and love—are suddenly demonstrated by people with real faces, in real situations. Never mind that it’s TV, and fictionalized. This is training of the highest order.
In the last few weeks when Don and I got home from work, after we walked the property and then made supper, we sat down with our food to an episode or two of a British “costume” drama. I rarely watch TV. But as my friend Arti at Ripple Effects said not too long ago, How are you holding up while you wait for the third season of “Downton Abbey”? Well, while waiting we queued up several other BBC costume dramas (thanks to our daughter Lesley’s recommendations) on Netflix. (I posted about “Little Dorrit” here; I love not having to wait a week between episodes, or for the next season months later.) Next was “Lark Rise to Candleford,” and now that we have finished it, I want to tell you that this show is affecting me so much that I am channeling characters in my job and relationships.
Queenie and Alf of the hamlet Lark Rise
"The Well"). And then like the old Jerome Kern song says, they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again.
Four seasons, forty episodes, 2008 to 2011, and one actor shared with Downton Abbey: Brendan Coyle (Mr. Bates in “Downton Abbey,” Robert Timmins in “Lark Rise to Candleford”). Another actor, the most important one in the series for me, Julia Sawalha, who plays Dorcas Lane, is shared with BBC’s 1995 six-episode TV series “Pride and Prejudice” (which I've watched a dozen times at least): she was Elizabeth Bennet’s sister Lydia, the air-headed flirt who ran off with Wickham. It's illuminating how Sawalha pulls off extreme traits of idiot recklessness in Lydia and prudent serenity in Miss Lane.
The writing of Bill Gallagher’s screenplays is some of the best I have ever seen on film. Every episode made me weep (and often Don too). At the end of an hour’s watch, Don and I would look at one another, stunned that an easier and more clichéd line or closing had not been written, and that the writing was so intensely satisfying. Insights are astute and deep. This is not only for women. My husband got annoyed whenever the next DVD was delayed. Directed by Charles Palmer.
I welcome suggestions for other series. Next on our queue is "Cranford" but I am sure we'll start this one all over again at some point.
top photo: ChurchCrawler at flickr