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An Old Fashioned Christmas is a made-for-cable television movie. Originally aired on December 11, 2010 on the Hallmark Channel, it is a sequel to An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving.
(From Hallmark Channel press release)
It's December 1870, and we pick up on the adventures of Mathilda "Tilly" Bassett and her rich grandmother Isabella, having toured some of Europe's cultural centers and are now arriving in Dublin for a month-long stay. Tilly's inner struggle is between being a society woman in-the-making and the Yankee farm girl that are her roots.
Isabella's mission is to expose Tilly to the world of letters; that's why she's bringing her to Dublin, to meet Ireland's poet laureate, the Earl of Shannon. But there's a saying throughout Ireland: "If you want to make God laugh, try making plans."
"An Old-Fashioned Christmas" is the next chronicle in the saga that began with esteemed American novelist Louisa May Alcott's short story, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, and which received critical acclaim while becoming the highest-rated cable television movie of the week.
"An Old-Fashioned Christmas" continues the narrative of Isabella (Jacqueline Bisset) and Tilly (Catherine Steadman) traveling the globe so the wealthy grandmother can teach her talented writer/granddaughter the nuances of character development and refined living. The story finds the pair in Ireland with Isabella hoping her long-ago suitor, the Earl of Shannon (Robert O'Mahoney), himself a talented writer, can assist Tilly in getting her work published.
When the pair arrive at Shannon Castle, it becomes quickly clear to Isabella that the Shannons are in dire financial straits. The Earl is wheelchair-bound from a stroke. Although there is no longer any money in the family, Lady Shannon (Marion O'Dwyer) has a plan - her ne'er do well son Cameron (Leon Ockenden) will marry Tilly Bassett and inherit Isabella's vast wealth. One minor detail creates a conundrum for Lady Shannon - Tilly is engaged to Gideon Hopkins, "Gad" (Kristopher Turner). Lady Shannon demands Cameron step up attempts to charm Tilly, and it is working!
Without Isabella's knowledge, Tilly secretly agrees to come to Ireland to meet her paternal grandfather Sean Bassett (Ian McIlhenny), a meager potato farmer whose son Ellis has died in America. Tilly's mother Mary harbors a grudge toward Isabella because her wealth could have helped the family after Ellis' death, but Isabella stubbornly refused. How dare Mary fall in love with someone beneath her social standards? Potato farmers? Now, staring down the father of the man she denied as family, Isabella learns that atonement begins when one realizes it is necessary. Without the weight of guilt, Isabella realizes she has budding feelings for Sean.
Days before Christmas, Cameron makes a play for Tilly in full view of Gad who packs his bags for America - engagement over. Tilly knows in the moment that Gad is her true love, and she never wanted to be Lady Shannon. A collision of events finds Tilly and Isabella without lodging on Christmas Eve. As their lone carriage rolls toward Bassett farmhouse, the night air suddenly fills with dancing snowflakes. This Christmas in Ireland, both Isabella and Tilly discover it takes the taste of an occasional turnip to make one truly appreciate the plain potato.
|Jacqueline Bisset||Isabella Crawford|
|Catherine Steadman||Mathilda "Tilly" Bassett|
|Robert O'Mahoney||Earl of Shannon|
|Marion O'Dwyer||Lady Shannon|
|Kristopher Turner||Gideon Hopkins, "Gad"|
|Ian McIlhenny||Sean Bassett|