Costume drama Cranford will return to BBC1 for a new two-part special this Christmas. Dame Judi Dench will reprise her role as Miss Matty Jenkyns in the drama, based on the novels of Elizabeth Gaskell, which also features newcomers Jonathan Pryce, Celia Imrie, Lesley Sharp and Nicholas Le Prevost, among others. Imelda Staunton will also be back as Miss Pole, with Julia McKenzie returning as Mrs Forrester and Deborah Findlay reprising Miss Tomkinson in the story, which takes place one year on from the death of Miss Matty's sister Deborah (Eileen Atkins). Filming begins next month in and around Wiltshire and London. Kate Harwood, BBC Controller of series and serials, and Cranford executive producer, said: "BBC One viewers are in for a treat with the return of Cranford this Christmas. "Old favourites return as well as exciting new characters in a richly moving story that will once again delight, enthral and entertain our audience."
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.