BBC

Cranford

This five-part period drama is based on three novels by Elizabeth Gaskell. The cast includes the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Dame Eileen Atkins, Sir Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, and Francesca Annis—and Cranford only gets better from there. The series begins with the arrival of two new residents, and an idea of things to come. …

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Going for Gold

Considering that the 2012 London Summer Olympics cost $13 billion to produce (!), imagine a city trying to throw an Olympic party a couple years after a war? That was the situation when London agreed to host the first post-WWII Olympics in 1948, while rubble from repeated bombings was still piled in the city’s streets. …

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Return to Cranford

To its credit, almost the entire cast (at least of the surviving characters) returns for this two-part sequel. Still fluttering about gossiping like a cluster of chickens are Miss Matty Jenkyns (Judi Dench), Mrs. Forrester (Julia McKenzie), Miss Pole (Imelda Staunton), Miss Tomkinson (Deborah Findlay), and the slightly more hoity-toity Mrs. Jamieson (Barbara Flynn). This …

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