Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Petard-Hoisting, Plus: 'Lark Rise--The Sequel'

The Bard of Avon's name has been spelled in numerous ways over the years and there was incredible variation even within his own lifetime. However, I'm pretty sure this was not among the versions:

The temporary yellow sign adorns a roadsign near the Cutteslowe Roundabout and advertises a "Shakespreae" production by the Creation Theatre Co. Thank goodness they're not doing "Omelet."

Lark Rise: What Happened Next?
This next item will make no sense to anyone who hasn't been watching "Lark Rise to Candleford," BBC One's treacly Sunday night costume-drama. Set in the late 19th century, the show revolves around the post-mistress of a small market town and the modest tensions between the town folk of Candleford and the rural inhabitants of Lark Rise. It's based on the memoirs of Flora Thompson, who grew up in Oxfordshire.

Last night was the final episode and while a few loose ends were tied up it wasn't the satisfying conclusion I had hoped for. In fact, there wasn't much character development over the course of the 10-part series: spinster postmistress Dorcas Lane stays unsatisfied in love, spunky teen postmistress-in-training Laura Timmins stays spunky, fecund welfare cheat Caroline Arless keeps being a pain in the ass. And yet we planted our butts in front of the TV every week.

In an effort to give a sense of closure, here's my guess as to what happened next:

Assistant gamekeeper Philip White catches Alf Arless poaching pheasant on Sir Timothy's land and kills him with a single blast of his shotgun. Philip hopes this will endear him to Laura Timmins, for whose affection he has competed with Alf. But Laura is horrified by his act. In a strange twist, Philip marries Alf's mom, the rotund Caroline, when it turns out she was never legally married to the seafaring husband she's spent the whole series waiting for.

Last seen moving to London, Sir Timothy Midwinter and Lady Adelaide return to Candleford to show off their baby. Or, rather, babies: She has given birth to conjoined twins and they have joined a traveling circus, entertaining itinerant laborers with an act called "The Royal We." The body of Zillah, Dorcas Lane's cantankerous cook who died at the end of episode 10, is sold to Sir Timothy to exhibit as part of the circus under the name "The 1,000-Year-Old Woman."

Despite numerous offers from willing suitors, Dorcas never marries. She sublimates her passion by wearing increasingly tighter and tighter corsets until one day she simply disappears. The busybody Pratt Sisters take over the Post Office. Their first act is to order that all correspondence be handed over in unsealed envelopes so that they may read them before delivery.

Laura's parents, Emma and Robert Timmins, are found dead in their Lark Rise cottage in what is apparently a murder-suicide. Authorities cannot determine who killed whom and finally decide it doesn't really matter.

Teetotaling head postman Thomas Brown moves with his new bride, Margaret the minister's daughter, to the Isle of Wight where he invents a non-alcoholic wine spritzer and starts a cult.

And what of Laura Timmins, the 16-year-old girl through whose eyes the story is told? She marries Twister the crazy old beekeeper after his wife, Queenie, dies from anaphylactic shock. Laura gives birth to six children in the five happy years that she and Twister have together.

Hey, I'd watch it!


Old Lady said...

Wonder if PBS will buy it. I'm getting tired of re-runs of Hyacinth.

mark from alexandria said...

I'm tempted to say, "Dude, you need to spend more time at your local and less in front of the box," but having seen a couple of episodes of Lark Rise, it was strangely addictive. As I intimated in an earlier post, three of the actors' previous lives on comdedies (AbFab, Coupling, and The Royal Family) in particular, made this fun to watch. Your proposed sequel sounds like what BBC-America would run, without showing the original.

Candadai Tirumalai said...

Somebody once quipped that the "Iliad" and "Odyssey" were written not by Homer but by someone with the same name, the reality of Homer being shrouded in mystery. While no serious scholar doubts that Shakespeare wrote his plays, there have always been diligent and obsessed sleuths who have argued at length that they could have been written only by someone much more educated and cultivated than Shakespeare.
In passing through some of the villages around Oxford, I was indeed struck by their difference.