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Lark Rise to Candleford (TV series)

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Title: Lark Rise to Candleford (TV series)  
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Subject: French and Saunders, Julia Sawalha, Tom Conti, Dawn French, Corsham, Mark Heap, Liz Smith (actress), Sheridan Smith, Gamekeeper, Box, Wiltshire
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Lark Rise to Candleford (TV series)

Lark Rise to Candleford
Genre Drama
Created by Bill Gallagher
Based on Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy by Flora Thompson
Starring See cast
Narrated by Sarah Lancashire
Composer(s) Julian Nott
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 40 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Bill Gallagher
Susan Hogg
Producer(s) Grainne Marmion (Series 1)
Ann Tricklebank (Series 2–4)
Location(s) Box and Lockeridge, Wiltshire
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel BBC One
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Original run 13 January 2008 (2008-01-13) – 13 February 2011 (2011-02-13)
External links

Lark Rise to Candleford is a British television costume drama series, adapted by the BBC from Flora Thompson's trilogy of semi-autobiographical novels about the English countryside, published between 1939 and 1943. The first episode aired on 13 January 2008 on BBC One and BBC HD in the UK. In the US, the series began airing on select PBS stations in the spring of 2009. A third series began airing in the UK on 10 January 2010.[1] The fourth and final series began on 9 January 2011 on BBC One and BBC One HD,[2] and was filmed during August 2010.[3]

It was announced on 22 January 2011 that the show would not be returning for a fifth series, despite good ratings.[4] The final series concluded on 13 February 2011.


The series is set in the small Oxfordshire hamlet of Lark Rise and the wealthier neighbouring market town of Candleford towards the end of the 19th century. The series chronicles the daily lives of farm workers, craftsmen, and gentry, observing the characters in loving, boisterous, and competing communities of families, rivals, friends, and neighbours.

The narrative is seen through the eyes of a teenage girl, Laura Timmins (Olivia Hallinan), as she leaves Lark Rise to start a new life under the wing of her cousin, the independent and effervescent Dorcas Lane (Julia Sawalha), who is Post Mistress at the local Post Office in Candleford. Through these two characters, viewers experience the force of friendship as Laura and Dorcas see each other through the best and worst of times.


Main cast

Character Portrayed by Seasons
Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Series 4
Dorcas Lane Julia Sawalha Main
Laura Timmins Olivia Hallinan Main
Emma Timmins Claudie Blakley Main
Robert Timmins Brendan Coyle Main N/A
Victoria May 'Queenie' Warrener Turrill Linda Bassett Main
Thomas 'Twister' Turrill Karl Johnson Main
Thomas Brown Mark Heap Main
Margaret Ellison Brown Sandy McDade Recurring Main
Caroline Arless Dawn French Main N/A Main
Alf Arless John Dagleish Main
Winifred 'Minnie' Mude Ruby Bentall N/A Main
Zillah Liz Smith Main N/A
Prudence 'Pearl' Pratt Matilda Ziegler Main
Ruth 'Ruby' Pratt Victoria Hamilton Main
Sir Timothy Midwinter Ben Miles Main N/A
Lady Adelaide Midwinter Olivia Grant Main N/A Guest N/A
Phillip White Oliver Jackson-Cohen Main N/A
Mr. Paxton Gerard Horan Main N/A
Matthew Welby Stephen Marcus Main N/A
James Dowland Jason Merrells N/A Main N/A
Nan Carter Rebecca Night N/A Main N/A
Daniel Parish Ben Aldridge N/A Main
Gabriel Cochrane Richard Harrington N/A Main
Narrator (Adult Laura Timmins) Sarah Lancashire Recurring
Edmund Timmins Thomas Rhys Jones Recurring
Frank Timmins Fergus Drysdale Recurring
Ethel Timmins Martha Murdoch Recurring
Sally Arless Sophie Miles Recurring
Lizzie Arless Hope Yeomans Recurring
Archie Arless Harry Miles Recurring N/A
Sydney Dowland Edward Darnell-Hayes (Oscar Lloyd in 1 episode in Series 2) N/A Guest Recurring
Fisher Bloom Matthew McNulty N/A Recurring N/A

Casting notes

From Series 1 to 3, the cast were credited alphabetically. Series 4 cast members were billed in the order of prominence within each episode.

Dawn French is credited as a main cast member in every episode in which she appears; in series 2 and series 4 she appears in one episode.

Although they appear in almost every episode, the actors playing the Timmins (Edmund, Frank and Ethel) and Arless (Lizzie, Archie and Sally) children as well as Sydney Dowland are not credited as main cast members.

Guest stars


Interior scenes were shot in a warehouse on Beeches Industrial Estate, in Yate, South Gloucestershire. The villages of Lark Rise and Candleford were both created from scratch on farms in Box and Neston Park, near Corsham in Wiltshire.[5] According to the BBC planning application, Hatt Farm in Box was used because of its proximity to existing cornfields and farm buildings, and Park Farm in Neston Park was chosen for its unspoilt character and attractive traditional buildings.[6] The outdoor filming at these locations for the first series took 25 days, spread over a 5-month period.[6] The country scenes, including all the comings and goings of the lord of the manor, were shot at Chavenage House in Gloucestershire.[7][8]


Series 1 (2008)

# Episode Writer Director Original air date Viewing figure[9]
1 "Episode 1" Bill Gallagher Charles Palmer 13 January 2008 (2008-01-13) 7.27 million
Young country girl Laura Timmins leaves her friends and family in the hamlet of Lark Rise to start her first job at the post office in the nearby town of Candleford. Postmistress Dorcas Lane gives Laura a warm welcome but other residents of Candleford aren't so generous. When Lark Rise residents challenge the post office's 'eight-mile rule' that forces them to pay for delivery of telegrams, Laura finds herself torn between communities. By the quiet intervention of Dorcas, a way is found for the hamlet to be included within the limit. The episode ends with the inhabitants celebrating their victory. 
2 "Episode 2" Bill Gallagher Charles Palmer 20 January 2008 (2008-01-20) 7.01 million
Postwoman Mrs Macey receives news that her husband Dan has escaped from prison. Before long the whole town is alight with gossip, and Mrs Macey fears that the damage to her reputation will force her to leave Candleford. Meanwhile, her son Freddy has been secretly meeting a mysterious stranger in the woods. The stranger turns out to be Dan, but he is persuaded to turn himself in to the local squire and magistrate. 
3 "Episode 3" Bill Gallagher Charles Palmer 27 January 2008 (2008-01-27) 6.66 million
When local widower Old Amos buys lace gloves for his maid Patty, Dorcas and Laura become suspicious that she may just be after his money. Robert refuses to let his children sing a song in praise of the Tories at the local church concert, which results in them being banned from the concert altogether. Robert's stubbornness incurs the wrath of his children, family and even the village. 
4 "Episode 4" Paul Rutman John Greening 3 February 2008 (2008-02-03) 6.72 million
A strange old man arrives in Candleford looking for his estranged daughters — who turn out to be Ruby and Pearl Pratt. Horrified to see him out in public, playing scams on the local residents, the girls must decide whether they can forgive him for deserting them when they needed him most. Meanwhile, Caroline is being pursued by a bailiff collecting debts for the brewery. 
5 "Episode 5" Bill Gallagher Charles Palmer 10 February 2008 (2008-02-10) 6.85 million
Dorcas is thrown by the surprise arrival of a new Post Office inspector, Mr Rushton, who starts to unearth anomalies in the way Dorcas runs the Post Office. Robert has been carving a decorative angel on the schoolhouse for which he is not getting paid. 
6 "Episode 6" Bill Gallagher John Greening 17 February 2008 (2008-02-17) 6.68 million
Robert takes pity on a homeless family and brings them to stay at his house for the night. In the morning the family have departed, leaving their little daughter Polly behind. Lady Adelaide meets the girl and falls in love with her, wanting to adopt her, but Sir Tim thinks that adopting Polly would be inappropriate. Tim takes Polly to the Post Office where everyone struggles to think of a solution to the problem. Twister's delusions grow worse as he sees visions of his dead sister, and Queenie worries about his health. 
7 "Episode 7" Carolyn Bonnyman Marc Jobst 24 February 2008 (2008-02-24) 6.70 million
The residents rally around Susan Braby when they realise her husband Sam has hit her. Meanwhile, Timothy commissions Matthew to make new gates for the manor, Adelaide becomes frustrated with how much time Tim is spending with Dorcas and decides to cancel the order for the gates, and Laura brings Phillip home for tea. 
8 "Episode 8" Gaby Chiappe Marc Jobst 2 March 2008 (2008-03-02) 6.48 million
A violent storm hits Lark Rise and Candleford, and the arrival of a new teacher, Mr Delafield, causes divisions in the two communities. Mr Delafield's radical views raise plenty of eyebrows in Candleford, while in Lark Rise he endears himself to the residents. When Dorcas delivers some books to Mr Delafield they initially rub each other up the wrong way, but this tension soon turns to chemistry. 
9 "Episode 9" Bill Gallagher John Greening 9 March 2008 (2008-03-09) 6.21 million
Queenie finds a beautiful embroidered panel on a grave that has the residents of Lark Rise and Candleford intrigued. Twister starts dreaming of everything he could buy if they sold the panel, while Dorcas and Sir Tim set about getting to the bottom of the mystery of who created it. Alf and Phillip's rivalry continues. 
10 "Episode 10" Bill Gallagher John Greening 23 March 2008 (2008-03-23) 6.25 million
It is Zillah's birthday and all her friends and locals visit the post office for a party. Tensions mount between Dorcas and Sir Tim as painful truths about the past begin to surface and Dorcas decides to sell the post office. Phillip becomes increasingly possessive of Laura and she expresses doubts about their relationship. 

Series 2 (2008–2009)

# Episode Writer Director Original air date Viewing figure[9]
11 "Episode 1" (75-minute Christmas special) Bill Gallagher Alan Grint 21 December 2008 (2008-12-21) 6.58 million
Lark Rise and Candleford are transformed as the inhabitants prepare for the Christmas festivities. However, loyalties are tested as the arrival of the ghost of a ragged, bare-footed young woman drives residents to speak difficult truths amid the gift giving and carol singing. 
12 "Episode 2" Bill Gallagher Alan Grint 4 January 2009 (2009-01-04) 6.53 million
James Dowland is the new man in town who takes the woes of the Lark Rise tenants under his wing. He also takes the heart of Dorcas Lane into his keeping, while putting Candleford on the map with the opening of a new hotel. Robert Timmins is suspicious of Dowland's motives, and is less than accepting of his financial help. Emma Timmins and the other Lark Rise tenants are, however, more than happy to see the return of a once Lark Rise boy. Meanwhile, Dorcas has her own heart strings pulled with her new maid, Minnie. Minnie can do no right; she means well, but with her troubled past she struggles to contain her excitement, testing Dorcas and those around her to the end. 
13 "Episode 3" Bill Gallagher Alan Grint 11 January 2009 (2009-01-11) 6.13 million
Battling with conflicting emotions towards new arrival James Dowland, Dorcas Lane sets out to defeat the dashing property developer in the parish council elections. Meanwhile, the grind of making ends meet in Lark Rise proves too much for Robert and Emma Timmins, and Robert's reluctance to change grows stronger. 
14 "Episode 4" Carolyn Bonnyman Maurice Phillips 18 January 2009 (2009-01-18) 6.49 million
The death of Miss Ellison's father unites the communities of Lark Rise and Candleford, but amid the sadness Miss Ellison is confronted by her brother George, whom she blames for her father's death. Overwhelmed with grief, Miss Ellison is oblivious to Thomas Brown's affections for her and his desire for her hand in marriage. Eventually Thomas assists in effecting a reconciliation between brother and sister. 
15 "Episode 5" Bill Gallagher Julian Holmes 25 January 2009 (2009-01-25) 6.31 million
Time rests heavy on the residents of Lark Rise and Candleford, as baby Annie Timmins stirs up emotions of days gone by and loves yet to be found. And with Emma Timmins feeling the strains of family life, Dorcas Lane offers to lend a helping hand, unaware of the consequences that her generosity will bring. 
16 "Episode 6" Gaby Chiappe Moira Armstrong 1 February 2009 (2009-02-01) 6.54 million
Lark Rise and Candleford rally round to show support for Laura's new role in the post office when Dorcas Lane is taken ill, but Laura feels pressure mounting when anonymous letters begin to arrive. Minnie sees the delivery of one of the letters, and fears that her past is catching up with her. Dorcas and Laura help Minnie to escape the threat presented by her brutal father. 
17 "Episode 7" Gaby Chiappe Sue Tully 8 February 2009 (2009-02-08) 6.14 million
Lark Rise and Candleford anticipate with the inauguration of a clock, paid for by James Dowland. But when Robert Timmins loses his stonemason's tools, his means to work is lost, and there is a possibility that Fisher Bloom may leave Candleford unless Laura can find a way to stop him. 
18 "Episode 8" Kate Gartside Alan Grint 15 February 2009 (2009-02-15) 6.20 million
The hot summer brings a surprise visitor to Candleford in the form of Celestia Brice Coulson, who stays at the Golden Lion Hotel and becomes acquainted with Dorcas Lane. Dorcas has other things on her mind, however, when she begins 'walking out' with James Dowland. And in Lark Rise, Emma's father, Old Edmund, arrives for his birthday. But problems arise when Emma asks him to live with them permanently. 
19 "Episode 9" Kate Gartside David Tucker 22 February 2009 (2009-02-22) 6.32 million
A feud between Lark Rise and the neighbouring village of Fordlow has been simmering for three generations, but it takes young love to bring the two communities together and save the day. In Candleford, the path of true love runs less smoothly for Thomas and Miss Ellison; will they ever set the date for the wedding? 
20 "Episode 10" Carolyn Bonnyman Patrick Lau 1 March 2009 (2009-03-01) 6.34 million
Every autumn, Constable Patterson is used to his wife taking to her bed with a mysterious illness. But this year is different, as she gives him permission to seek a new wife. The constable has no intention of doing any such thing, until a Pratt sister in distress sets his heart soaring; however, the other sister grows jealous and angry, especially when her sister is presented with a very unusual present. 
21 "Episode 11" Gaby Chiappe Paul Marcus 8 March 2009 (2009-03-08) 6.78 million
A sudden storm reveals a secret romance, but also makes the address on a letter indecipherable. When Dorcas pursues the identity of the letter's recipient, she reveals another secret: a child, kept hidden even from his own father. 
22 "Episode 12" Bill Gallagher Moira Armstrong 15 March 2009 (2009-03-15) 6.47 million
James Dowland is confined to his hospital bed when his son arrives in Candleford, and Dorcas welcomes the boy into the post office, doing everything she can to make him feel at home. But this causes a great deal of turmoil when James is released from hospital to be reunited with his son. 

Series 3 (2010)

# Episode Writer Director Original air date Viewing figure[9]
23 "Episode 1" Bill Gallagher Sue Tully 10 January 2010 (2010-01-10) 7.49 million
A young journalist, Daniel Parish, arrives in Lark Rise with exciting news for the Timmins family: Emma is set to inherit a fortune, enough to move the family to a big house in Candleford. Daniel plans to write their rags to riches story for his newspaper, but Dorcas is suspicious of his motives, and when the article is published, it sends shockwaves through the community. 
24 "Episode 2" Bill Gallagher David Tucker 17 January 2010 (2010-01-17) 7.07 million
The Bishop is coming to consecrate the church font and Thomas cannot contain his excitement. But when a Lark Rise tree starts to 'bleed', the hamlet becomes rife with talk of witchcraft, and Thomas is horrified. Dorcas loses her composure and makes a blunder with terrible consequences for Pearl and Ruby. Also, Laura is thrown off balance when Daniel returns to try to win back her affections — but first he has to get around an angry Robert and Emma. 
25 "Episode 3" Gaby Chiappe Patrick Lau 24 January 2010 (2010-01-24) 6.94 million
Alf throws a party to celebrate moving into a cottage of his own. He entertains his guests with a new song, and its haunting words have a profound effect on all of them. Edmund rebels against his parents; Thomas and Margaret have their first marital tiff; and Dorcas's plans to prepare Minnie for marriage and motherhood backfire terribly. 
26 "Episode 4" Gaby Chiappe Patrick Lau 31 January 2010 (2010-01-31) 6.82 million
It's harvest time — the most important time of the year in Lark Rise, when everyone helps to bring in the wheat that will feed them through winter. So when an epidemic hits, it couldn't come at a worse time — with so many sick, how will they gather the wheat and prevent a winter of starvation? For Lark Rise, help comes from an unlikely source. But just when it looks as though their problems are solved, they discover the worst is yet to come. 
27 "Episode 5" Bill Gallagher Moira Armstrong 7 February 2010 (2010-02-07) 6.98 million
There's a mystery in town as Mr Reppington takes residence in the Golden Lion but remains firmly isolated from the world, and Dorcas Lane is determined to find out why. Emma Timmins fears that the romance has gone out of her marriage and worries over a possible secret admirer, whilst Daniel Parish believes there may be more to Mr Reppington than meets the eye, not least a story that could make his career. Meanwhile, Ruby Pratt agonises over whether she should at last leave Candleford to meet her suitor in Pontefract, but cannot face telling her sister Pearl. 
28 "Episode 6" Bill Gallagher Sue Tully 14 February 2010 (2010-02-14) 7.02 million
Daniel has opened a newspaper in Candleford and is on the look out for a big story. So when old Peg Leg, a Crimean War veteran, arrives for his annual visit to the Timmins', and Daniel learns he has received no war pension, he starts a newspaper campaign against this injustice. But just as Peg Leg's plight looks set to become a national cause celebre, Emma learns that he is not all he seems, a discovery that threatens to break hearts and destroy Daniel's new venture. 
29 "Episode 7" Bill Gallagher Paul Seed 21 February 2010 (2010-02-21) 6.83 million
The locals are rehearsing for their annual production of St George and the Dragon when they hear rumours that Sir Timothy has returned. They are thrilled at the prospect of performing it for the squire himself, but with the play fast approaching and no sign of Sir Timothy, Dorcas decides to pay him a visit. She finds only Lady Adelaide. As the two women come face to face they are forced to confront their shared history, learning more about each other than they could have imagined. 
30 "Episode 8" Rachel Bennette David Innes Edwards 28 February 2010 (2010-02-28) 6.88 million
Pearl is in a state of panic. She has received a dressmaking commission which could save her ailing business, but without Ruby, there is no way she can do the work in time. So when Enid, a talented seamstress, arrives in Candleford looking for a job, it seems Pearl's prayers have been answered. Pearl and Enid form an instant bond, based on mutual admiration and respect. But when Pearl discovers the seamstress is not who she says she is, she is forced to choose between their friendship and her deepest prejudices. 
31 "Episode 9" Bill Gallagher Sue Tully 7 March 2010 (2010-03-07) 6.61 million
When the Lark Rise school loses its teacher, Emma steps in and discovers a talent she never knew she had. But Margaret also covets the role of schoolteacher, and the two women become rivals for the job. Over in Candleford, Thomas and Dorcas are at odds. The postman is agitating for better working conditions, and Dorcas isn't taking it well. 
32 "Episode 10" Bill Gallagher Patrick Lau 14 March 2010 (2010-03-14) 6.33 million
When the local Lark Rise gossip Mrs Mullins discovers her daughter Emily is pregnant, she leaps to the conclusion that Daniel is the father. Everyone, including Laura, rallies round to defend him. But when Daniel's behaviour starts to arouse suspicion, and people begin to doubt him, Dorcas is determined to uncover the truth. 
33 "Episode 11" Bill Gallagher Patrick Lau 21 March 2010 (2010-03-21) 6.39 million
Mischief Night is approaching and the folks of Lark Rise and Candleford are excitedly planning tricks to play on their neighbours. But Laura is in no mood for silly pranks — Fisher Bloom has returned, intent on winning her back, and it has thrown her feelings for Daniel into turmoil. 
34 "Episode 12" Bill Gallagher Sue Tully 28 March 2010 (2010-03-28) 6.51 million
When the postmaster at Inglestone, with an old score to settle, tries to force Dorcas into selling up, she is faced with the heartbreaking prospect of losing her home and denying Sydney his dream of running the post office one day. 

Series 4 (2011)

# Episode Writer Director Original air date Viewing figure[9]
35 "Episode 1" Bill Gallagher Sue Tully 9 January 2011 (2011-01-09) 7.68 million
Gabriel Cochrane, the once-wealthy owner of a large iron foundry arrives in Candleford. The bank has repossessed his home and business, his young wife has died, and Gabriel finds himself looking for a new start. The people of Candleford take him to their hearts, and Dorcas offers him a job and a home. But will their kindness be enough to save him, or will he let his vendetta against the bank, and his grief over his dead wife, prevent him rebuilding his fortunes and finding happiness again? 
36 "Episode 2" Bill Gallagher Sue Tully 16 January 2011 (2011-01-16) 7.31 million
When Daniel announces that his newspaper is launching a poetry competition, it sends the inhabitants of Candleford into a frenzy of creative excitement. Laura has high hopes of taking home the trophy and begins writing feverishly; Pearl indulges in plagiarism after her own efforts are found wanting; and even Margaret embarks upon an epic poem based on her husband’s postal rounds. 
37 "Episode 3" Bill Gallagher Sue Tully 23 January 2011 (2011-01-23) 7.02 million
Thomas is euphoric when he lands the job of organising the church bazaar. But his joy soon evaporates when the vicar falls ill, and the controversial and free-thinking curate Reverend Marley takes charge. Thomas is convinced that Marley is evil incarnate, and when he comes across a snake on his postal rounds, he sees it as a sign that the devil is indeed amongst them. 
38 "Episode 4" Rachel Bennette Patrick Lau 30 January 2011 (2011-01-30) 6.90 million
The Fair has come to town, and the locals are celebrating - Alf has been crowned King of the Fair, while Queenie has won a whole Berkshire pig! The Lark Risers start fattening up the pig in preparation for a sumptuous pig feast, but Twister cannot resist the temptation of selling off-cuts of the animal to the people of Candleford. At the post office, Gabriel is proving to be a less than perfect house guest; can Dorcas adapt to having a man under her roof? And will Twister survive the wrath of Queenie when she discovers he has sold her pig from under her? 
39 "Episode 5" Bill Gallagher Sue Tully 6 February 2011 (2011-02-06) 6.96 million
Daniel is planning a cricket match against a neighbouring village team, who he is convinced cheated in their last match. He is determined to restore Candleford's honour, but most of Daniel's regular players are away, and the men of Lark Rise are cricketing novices. A humiliating defeat looks certain, until Daniel discovers that the finest batsman in the county is right under his nose. The only problem is, his batsman is a batswoman, and the rules state women cannot play. 
40 "Episode 6" Bill Gallagher Sue Tully 13 February 2011 (2011-02-13) 7.01 million
Gabriel has finally completed the machine which he hopes will restore his fortunes, and farmers are soon clamouring to buy his ingenious invention. Dorcas is delighted for him, until she realises it could mean his departure from Candleford. Meanwhile, Caroline has returned to Lark Rise, and Minnie assumes it's only a matter of time before Alf comes to propose, now that his ma is back to look after her children. But will Caroline settle this time, and allow Alf his freedom? And how will Gabriel react to a surprising admission from Dorcas? 


It was announced on 22 January 2011 that the show will not be returning for a fifth series, despite impressive ratings.[4] This decision has led to many viewers complaining, prompting BBC One controller Danny Cohen to say, "Lark Rise to Candleford has been a truly wonderful part of the BBC One schedule and we are incredibly grateful to writer Bill Gallagher and the team. But we feel the time is right to make room for new dramas which we hope will be taken to the nation's hearts in the same way."[10]

Following that announcement, many viewers have taken to setting up and signing online campaigns to see the show recommissioned.[11]


  • ↑ Lark Rise To Candleford axed at the end of current series as bosses decide to 'quit while we're ahead' Mail Online, 22 January 2011
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