We felt we’d overindulged on Christmas confectionery when it was over, but this feelgood festive episode of the costume drama was lovely to consume.
What was good about it?
• The niceness of it all. Decent people trying to do the right thing is a TV rarity and Lark Rise to Candleford carries it off without becoming too sugary. There’s adversity and there is friction – but solutions are found and good nature wins through. We love being cynical but there’s always room for TV to allow us to shed that derisive attitude once in a while (even if that once in a while is invariably 8pm on a Sunday).
• Fine performances from the main cast (some of the kids were a bit stage schooly) especially Julia Sawalha who is heading for national treasure status with her portrayal as post mistress extraordinaire Dorcas Lane.
• Dawn French pitched her uncouth Ma Arless role perfectly, with none of her usual overacted mannerisms in order to get our sympathy.
• The best carol singing climax to a TV drama since Meg Richardson gathered all the Crossroads staff in her sitting room.
• Sheridan Smith’s guest role as a ghost with the haunting catchphrase of: “The wind do blow”.
What was bad about it?
• The sprayed-on frost and snow on trees that, mysteriously for Christmas, retained their leaves.