A ‘Cookson Christmas’ on Drama | The Cinder Path


When I was younger (approximately 3 years younger — i.e. before I had the boys) there was nothing I liked more than curling up in an armchair, on a lazy weekend, reading the latest bestseller or a much-loved classic.

I used to read loads too. Crime novels, fiction, biographies, autobiographies — there was nothing I enjoyed more than immersing myself in the pages of a good book.

Period stories were also a bit of a favourite too, particularly by Emily Bronté, Jane Austen and Catherine Cookson. These lovely novels are guaranteed to transport you to a bygone era and whisk you away to another time.

Sadly, these days, there just isn’t enough time to read as much as I’d like.

I steal the odd 5 minutes to look at the paper — snatch a lunch-break to flick through the pages of my favourite magazine — but my books sit untouched and my Kindle lies unloved on my bedside table.

Happily this Christmas, the folk at Drama have solved this issue for me and are running a ‘Cookson Christmas’ during the festive period; from December 20th to December 31st. Meaning I get a fix of my beloved period classics without having to lift a book! Hurrah!

Dame Catherine Cookson is one of the word’s most noted authors. Born in County Durham, in 1906, her books are widely read and much loved.

Her novels were inspired by her own deprived youth in the North East of England and the stories sometimes make for uncomfortable reading; capturing imaginations and conjuring a life that is so different from our own.

One of my very favourite stories, that will be featured on Drama‘s ‘Cookson Christmas’, is The Cinder Path.

Set in the early 20th century, it’s absolutely gripping — full of intrigue and drama.

‘You’re a loser; you were born a loser.’

The central character Charlie Macfell — played by Lloyd Owen who I recognised from Monarch of the Glen — witnesses something awful (I don’t want to say too much because I’ll spoil it for you!) but needless to say, his father is a violent, nasty piece of work who treats his staff appallingly.

The plot thickens — as someone else saw this atrocity too — and the witness, Ginger Slater, uses the information to blackmail the family.

For lovers of romance, there’s a little of that in there too.

Charlie is in love with the lovely Nellie but ends up having to marry her sister, Victoria, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. She is less angelic than her sister and has a bit of a reputation!

Catherine Cookson - The Cinder Path. (Catherine Zeta-Jones as Victoria Chapman and Lloyd Owen as Charlie MacFell.)

Catherine Cookson – The Cinder Path. (Catherine Zeta-Jones as Victoria Chapman and Lloyd Owen as Charlie MacFell.)

It’s such a fabulous story. There are so many horrible characters, one would think that it wouldn’t be a good book to read — or a rewarding film to watch — but it really, really is.

Charlie Macfell is such a wonderful character. You find yourself rooting for him, particularly when he’s sent off to fight in WW1. The trench scenes are really gripping and Lloyd Owen is such a believable actor.

The film contains all the classic features of a great watch — murder and revenge, blackmail and betrayal, love and heartbreak. It’s beautifully shot too, with fabulous period costumes.

For lovers of the work of Catherine Cookson, these films are such a treat, plus the Christmas holidays are the perfect time to stay indoors and watch the television.

Period dramas are so nostalgic and make perfect TV watching for this time of year, so if you’d like an excuse to cosy up with some great films, I’d recommend taking a peek at the Cookson programmes on Drama.

Happy viewing everyone!


This post has been written in collaboration with Drama but, as ever, all thoughts, words and lifestyle images are my own.

Caro Davies
Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook


  1. 23rd December 2015 / 12:13 pm

    I used to love reading, although my books used to be chick easy read books or Jodi Picoult, I love her books! Since having Lucas, time seems to fly by with very little me time x

    • 23rd December 2015 / 1:44 pm

      Aah Jenni — I know just what you mean!! I’d read everything and anything — these days I’m lucky if I manage to read my Red magazine from cover to cover!! ;)

  2. 23rd December 2015 / 3:44 pm

    I love reading and always have a book on the go, but 2016 is definitely a year I need to spend more time reading because I have some many books I want to get through x

    • 23rd December 2015 / 7:04 pm

      I used to be just the same Rachel :) These days, since I had the twins, there just doesn’t seem to be time!! Although the blog doesn’t help matters!! LOL! That’s a real time gobbler! :)

  3. Claire
    23rd December 2015 / 4:36 pm

    My ex boyfriend’s mum used to love Catherine Cookson, she read all of them and looked forward to any that were adapted for tv.

    • 23rd December 2015 / 7:05 pm

      She’ll love this then Claire! Perfect telly for lazy days :)

  4. Tori Gabriel
    23rd December 2015 / 5:58 pm

    I’m exactly the same as you. I used to love reading and could read a book in a day. I also like the classics. I haven’t read any Cookson though. May have to try her out.

    • 23rd December 2015 / 7:06 pm

      Aaah a book in a day!! I remember those times Tori :) I think it would take me a year to read a book, these days!! Good job they don’t have a use-by date isn’t it?! ;)

  5. 23rd December 2015 / 7:59 pm

    Before I had Freddie I would get through at least 1 book a week, I haven’t read properly in over 9 months now, I can’t wait to snuggle up and read again.

    • 24th December 2015 / 2:52 pm

      Weird isn’t it? I didn’t used to think that reading was such a luxury, but since I’ve had the boys I can see that it most definitely is!! :)

  6. 24th December 2015 / 1:27 am

    This sounds great, I always prefer a book but in the absence of the time to sit down and read this is definitely the next best thing. I have a book that my sister has passed on for me to read but I have no idea where I’m going to find the time.xx

    • 24th December 2015 / 2:51 pm

      Lack of time is so annoying isn’t it?! I have a list as long as my arm of things I’d like to do, places to go, books to read, films to watch but there never seems to be any spare minutes in the day!! :) Hopefully Christmas will give us both a rest :) xx

  7. Kara
    24th December 2015 / 4:27 pm

    I do love a period drama but sadly I am over-ruled in my house…….one day!

    • 28th December 2015 / 10:33 am

      Aaah that’s such a shame!! Watch them on catch up when everyone’s out of the house ;)

    • 28th December 2015 / 10:27 am

      Me too! It’s a lovely thought isn’t it? An afternoon of telly with a cuppa and some cake :)

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