Want to brush up on your Elizabeth Gaskell? Then the Drama Channel (Freeview 20) is screening all five episodes of the BBC’s acclaimed adaptation of Cranford on Sunday 29 May from 12 noon.
First screened in 2007, the adaptation brings together stories from Gaskell’s Cranford, My Lady Ludlow and Mr Harrison’s Confessions.
Knutsfordians know the Cranford in the novel was inspired by the lovely town of Knutsford where Elizabeth lived as a child with her aunt Hannah Lumb. In 1832 Elizabeth married a Unitarian minister, William Gaskell, at St John’s, Knutsford.
The couple lived in Manchester where William was Minister at Cross Street Unitarian Chapel. Elizabeth died in 1865 and is buried at Brook Street Chapel, Knutsford. A full biography of her life can be found on the Gaskell Society’s website.
Set in the fictional Cheshire village, Cranford focuses primarily on the town’s single and widowed middle class female inhabitants who are comfortable with their traditional way of life and place great store in propriety and maintaining an appearance of gentility.
Cranford boasts an impressive cast with too many famous names to list. If you want to find out more about the characters and actors, the BBC Press Office archive is a good place to start
Elizabeth Gaskell’s many connections with Knutsford will be featured in September when the town takes part for the first time as a town in the four-day long annual Heritage Open Days festival. This year the festival runs from Thursday, September 8 to Sunday, September 11, inclusive.