1 IT'S THE PERFECT ENGLISH VILLAGE
If you live in a city and the background music to your life is an endless cacophony of roaring cars, trundling buses and thundering trains, then you'll envy the residents of Cranford. Just LOOK at this place. Cosy Tudor-style cottages, quaint lanes, wide open fields, and the only sounds in the air are those of birds chirping and local ladies gossiping. It's basically what you'd get if Jane Austen and JR Tolkien put their heads together and created the most idyllic English village ever.
2 IT'S RUN BY WOMEN
There's a lot of talk these days about the "patriarchy" running society. But in the universe of Cranford, it's very much the women who call the shots. They may not know the meaning of the word "feminism" (because it hadn't been invented yet), but these ladies - from queen-like Deborah Jenkyns to the eagle-eyed Octavia Pole - are the movers and shakers, the wheelers and dealers, the aristocratic Amazons who lay down the law to all who enter their domain. Even stuffy old men with muttonchop sideburns have to do as they're told. And how refreshing is that?
3 EVERYONE LOOKS OUT FOR EACH OTHER
Lest you find the idea of a town basically run by mums and aunts a bit intimidating, we should also point out that almost everyone in Cranford looks after almost everyone else. They've all "got each other's backs", or whatever the 19th Century version of that expression is. True, they're always gossiping, but that's how they realise when people are in need. Like when Matty Jenkyns has serious money troubles, and all the ladies form a secret conspiracy to give her money without Matty even realizing it, so she doesn't feel embarrassed by their charity. Isn't that adorable?
4 THE ANIMALS ARE WELL-DRESSED
Well, not ALL the animals, but Cranford is perhaps the only village in the history of the nation to feature a cow dressed in custom-made pyjamas (complete with a flap that you can open to milk her). There's a backstory to this which we won't go into here, but the important thing is the fact that... it's a cow, wearing pyjamas. And let's also pause and admire Mrs Jamieson's beloved dog, who is as every bit as well dressed as Mrs Jamieson herself. Who wouldn't want to live in a place where pooches have such sartorial flair?
5 IT'S MARVELLOUSLY SET IN ITS WAYS
If you're fond of nostalgia and all things vintage, and wish that time could just stand still for a while, you'll definitely be among your own people in Cranford. The locals are proud of their village's beauty and serenity, and don't want anything changing that. Just see their panicked reaction to the prospect of the railway coming to town. Yes, it would bring new prospects and opportunities, but it would also change everything. And who wants change when things are already so lovely?
6 ROMANCE IS VERY MUCH ALIVE
Remember romance? It was something that existed before Internet dating and drunken fumbles in the corners of house parties. These days, people may cynically roll their eyes at the idea of a man wooing a woman with flowers - or at the idea of "wooing" altogether - but not in Cranford. Just look at how Dr Harrison sends a posy of snowdrops to his beloved Sophy. And it's not just about puppy love either. Old Mr Holbrook brings his much-adored Matty some pretty primroses, to rekindle their courtship. Ah, "courtship". That's still a thing in Cranford. And, on that subject...
7 THERE ARE ALSO "TRYSTS"
Don't be fooled into thinking romance in Cranford is solely about bashful looks over bouquets of flowers. Things also get enjoyably risqué, but in a nice way. Lovers actually have "trysts", and arrange to meet behind trees, or to recline amid the long grass in each other's arms. And doesn't that beat a snog on some street corner after stumbling out of a pub? Exactly.