THERE’S a real treat on TV tonight, and make no mistake.
The story behind the making of Cranford is almost as engrossing as the serial itself.
But there are fears for the long-term future of BBC period drama.
“I think there won’t be that many more Cranfords because of the scale and cost of it,” director Simon Curtis told me.
“I very much hope that the BBC will keep on making unique programmes like that.
“But you can’t take anything for granted in the current climate because everything is up for grabs.
“It’s a huge show and it took years to make. A lot of things were aligned.”
I also asked BBC Head of Drama Series & Serials Kate Harwood about the future for projects like Cranford.
“Period drama is not getting any cheaper,” she replied.
“Whether in years to come we’ll be able to do quite as much, I don’t know.
“It’s always a struggle to keep period drama on screen, because it’s expensive.”
The BBC will point to other period dramas due on screen soon.
They include new adaptations of Oliver Twist and Sense and Sensibility
But some inside the BBC fear for the long term outlook.
They may want to save one comment for future use.
It was made by BBC director general Mark Thompson at the London premiere of Cranford earlier this week.
He said: “People often ask what is the BBC for?
“One of the things the BBC is for is projects like Cranford.”
*Cranford begins on BBC1 at 9pm tonight.
Cranford: Philip Glenister
Cranford – Community Brought To Life
BBC Cranford Official Site