I can't wait to see the BBC's new adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford on Sunday, as the novel is one of my favourites. I just hope they show Miss Betsey Barker's Alderney cow dressed in its flannel waistcoat and flannel drawers after losing all its coat in an unfortunate accident in a limepit. Especially as illustrator Hugh Thomson obviously didn't feel equal to drawing the Alderney in all its glory! He just drew the good people of Cranford turning out 'to see the Alderney meekly going to her pasture, clad in dark grey flannel.'
Mrs Gaskell's story of the Alderney was based on a real incident in Knutsford, the town where she grew up. It will be interesting to see if the adaptation keeps faith with the original, and includes Gaskell's gentle touches of humour as well as social satire.
Illustration from the Macmillan 1898 edition of Cranford.