Series Creator Sue Birtwistle found out about the novel "Cranford" after finishing another project. Despite liking it immensely, she felt it wasn't enough to create a drama series, so she read more of Elizabeth Gaskell's other material, and came up with the idea of adapting three of Gaskell's novellas into a BBC Drama series, hence this series. The three novels were "Cranford", "Mr. Harrison's Confessions", and "My Lady Ludlow". Birtwistle and her co-Creator Susie Conklin spent several weeks in Birtwistle's apartment in New York City, using color-coded cards to piece the stories together. When Writer Heidi Thomas came on-board, she mentioned that they had married off someone twice.