Airdate: Return to Cranford
Not long after its Aussie premiere on UKTV, ABC1 will air Return to Cranford.
Not long after its Aussie premiere on UKTV (early July), ABC1 will air Return to Cranford, which aired as a 2 part Christmas special in the UK in 2009.
The new stories, which were written by Heidi Thomas and directed by Simon Curtis, took place in August 1844; a year after the wedding of Sophy Hutton and Dr Harrison.
It is late summer 1844, and two years on since Miss Matty Jenkyns (Judi Dench) lost her beloved sister, Deborah.
But once again, her home is full of life and bustle. Not only has her brother Peter (Nicholas Le Prevost) stayed on in Cranford, but her dream of having a child in the house has been realised in the birth of Tilly, daughter of her maid Martha (Claudie Blakley) and her carpenter husband, Jem Hearne (Andrew Buchan). Miss Matty relishes every moment of being the centre of such a busy household.
The shadow of the railway still looms over the town. But much to the relief of Matty and the town ladies, Miss Pole, Mrs Forrester, Mrs Jamieson and Miss Tomkinson, Lady Ludlow (Francesca Annis) has steadfastly refused to sell the land that would enable it to come into Cranford itself. For others, however, this spells disaster: Captain Brown (Jim Carter) believes that modernisation is inevitable if the town is to survive.
When Cranford native, Mr Buxton (Jonathan Pryce), returns to town with his son and niece, William (Tom Hiddleston) and Erminia (Michelle Dockery), Matty can see that father and son’s grief over Mrs Buxton’s recent death has left them at odds with each other, and that William and Erminia are in need of company. Matty is also concerned about another young person whom she sees only at church: Peggy Bell (Jodie Whittaker) lives in an isolated cottage outside the town with her inattentive mother, Mrs Bell (Lesley Sharp), and domineering brother, Edward (Matthew McNulty). So Matty decides to intervene, and engineers an invitation that will bring the four young people together.
The surprise arrival of Lady Ludlow’s son, Lord Septimus (Rory Kinnear), leads to a chain of unexpected events. Captain Brown believes he has secured rights to bring the railway line into Cranford, only to be shocked by the discovery that Mr Buxton holds its fate in his hands.
Meanwhile, tragedy strikes in Miss Matty’s own house and she finds she must re-evaluate her opinions of the railway and think for herself. Can she change the course of events and, if so, should she?
It begins 8:30pm Sunday August 1 on ABC1.