The Village, which aired on BBC 1 this Easter Weekend (March 30), has received an almost constant flow of praise since the first episode began to detail the trials and tribulations of a small Derbyshire village at the turn of the 20th century. The show delivers much more high drama than that lousy summarising sentence lets on though, as the BBC may have produced one of it's finest series in recent times with this historical series.

Maxine Peake
Maxine Peake delivers the goods as the domineering mother of young Bert Middleton

Writer Peter Moffat, the man behind the crime dramas Criminal Justice and Silk, has produced a show that gives it's audience a set of characters that you can instantly sympathise with, or begin to detest already, and by naming the central characters the Middletons (most likely after those Middletons), made them seem almost recognisable without even a glimpse into their back story. The titular Village is place halfway between Manchester and Sheffield in the Derbyshire countryside and although it's central character is not a direct descendant of the future Queen of England, he and his family still have plenty to tell, as it recollects the memories of England’s second-oldest man, 112-year-old Bert Middleton. The first tale to be told on Middleton's life is a love story and also one of technical innovation as the first omnibus to visit the small community arrives down the High Street, carrying the town's newest inhabitant Martha Lane (Charlie Murphy), with whomBert and his brother Joe (Nico Mirallegro) instantly fall for. Grance (Maxine Peake) and John Middleton (John Simm) are the boy's strict, lord of the manor parents.

The detail to attention is particularly impressive - even the little things like the rabbit carcasses hanging from the butcher's window, a slate-roofed bathhouse or tin bathtub placed in front of the roaring fireplace offering the only chance of a wash for the village's inhabitants, it's the little things the matter and that make this one of the most enjoyable shows to debut for some time. The Villages is expected to run for 42 episode altogether, with the first six airing at 9pm (GMT) on BBC 1 every Saturday.