Cranford
Synopsis

Dr. Harrison formally asks the Reverend Hutton for permission to court Sophy. Meanwhile, Caroline Tomkinson and Mrs. Rose, Dr. Harrison's housekeeper, are convinced he is in love with them, unbeknownst to the doctor himself.

All of Cranford gathers for May Day celebrations, but the day turns scandalous when town residents believe Dr. Harrison has been courting three women. Exposed as a philanderer, he is shunned by the town.

Mr. Carter is horrified to discover a secret about Lady Ludlow. He confronts her, resulting in a heated exchange.

Sophy returns to Cranford ill with typhoid fever and Dr. Harrison is barred from tending to her. Meanwhile, disaster strikes at the railway works and the injured are taken to Dr. Harrison's for emergency treatment, his last chance to redeem himself as all of Cranford looks on.

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Warning: Contains significant plot spoilers

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The mention of India prompts Mary to write to Major Gordon to tell him that Jessie regrets her decision not to marry him, since her father is now so busy at the railway works he really has no need for her.

Dr. Harrison visits the Rectory and formally asks the Rev. Hutton for permission to court Sophy. He promises he will propose as soon as he is able to provide a home for her.

At an auction, Dr. Harrison bids for a small table. When he gets it home, he discovers it is a sewing table so suggests his housekeeper, Mrs Rose, might like to use it. To Miss Pole and Mrs. Forrester, this is tantamount to a proposal. Gullible Mrs. Rose believes them and allows them to dye the grey out of her hair. They convince her that Dr. Harrison will propose on May Day.

Miss Tomkinson, meanwhile, becomes concerned by Caroline's fretful waiting on Dr. Harrison to proclaim his love, and decides to draw him out on the matter.

Preparations for May Day excite everyone in the town, and there are high expectations of the day. Dr. Harrison looks forward to the first time he will be able to be with Sophy openly as a couple. The whole town gathers on the Heath.

Jem and Martha marry and live as lodgers in Matty's house — a source of joy for Matty.

Miss Pole invites the ladies of the town to a secret meeting to discuss Matty's crisis. United in their love for Matty, they decide to secretly share part of their own incomes with her. Mary is recruited to devise a means of getting this to Matty without her knowing where it came from.

Dr. Harrison, on the other hand, is shunned by the town — no patients will come to him now that he has been exposed as a philanderer. Dr. Morgan suggests he must move on to start afresh.

Mr. Carter is horrified to discover that Lady Ludlow has secretly mortgaged her estate to raise money for her son's villa in Italy, and knows what pain such an unfathomable mortgage has cost her personally. He confronts her and there is a heated exchange.

Sophy returns to Cranford ill, but is diagnosed by Dr. Morgan as simply being heartbroken. He assures Rev. Hutton that, with time and love from her family, she will recover. By the time Jack Marshland arrives in town to help clear Dr. Harrison's name, Sophy's condition has worsened and she is diagnosed with typhoid fever. He enlists Mrs. Rose's help in treating her, while Dr. Harrison is physically barred from either seeing Sophy or assisting.

Mr. Carter visits Captain Brown at the railway works in a desperate attempt to see if he can raise capital for Lady Ludlow's mortgage by selling timber or tools. While he is there, disaster strikes and the injured are taken to Dr. Harrison's for emergency treatment. As Sophy's condition deteriorates, her young sisters defy their father and ask Dr. Harrison for help. But has the call come too late?

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