I have been enjoying many fine offerings of late "In The Stacks" here at the Town Hall Library, as there is so much available to enrich and enjoy. Lark Rise to Candleford is one such series, and honestly it pained me when I got to the final season. It was obvious that the writers were trying to tie up as many loose ends as they could and that the series ended far more abruptly than they originally envisioned.
The entire run was very fine and truly a delight, but my two favorites were the Christmas (Season 2 Episode One) and the Harvest (Season 3 Episode Four) episodes. Both of these had a quality and impact that surpassed entertainment, more to a realm of life-enhancement.
The Harvest focuses on Alf Arless (portrayed by John Dagleish), who is the most endearing of characters and my favorite next to Queenie Turrill (portrayed by Linda Bassett). Besides being a history lesson in hard labor and work songs, The Harvest is a life lesson in the complex coupling of human fraility and resilience in the face of true tragedy. John Dagleish is absolutely stunning, and provides a performance that is still palpable for me to this day.
The Christmas episode was more of an ensemble piece with an other-worldly quality that really took the writers and cast to another level. I honestly felt like I was caught up in a feature-length movie, and seriously was hoping for a sequel. Quite possibly the effort was not sustainable over time, but truly exquisite in the moment.
Lark Rise to Candleford will only dissappoint in the fact that it should not have been cut so short, as there were at least a few more seasons to be enjoyed by all involved. I have a feeling someone who pulled the plug was having thoughts of Downton Abbey on the brain...