International film star and Emmy® and Golden Globe Award nominee Jacqueline Bisset reprises the role of “Isabella Crawford” in “An Old-Fashioned Christmas,” a Hallmark Channel original movie world premiere Dec. 11 (8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 p.m. CT).
“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,” which premiered as the Hallmark Channel original movie.
“An Old-Fashioned Christmas” continues the narrative of Isabella (Bisset) and Tilly (Catherine Steadman, “The Tudors”) 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, “Blood Royal: William the Conqueror”), 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, “The Clinic”) has a plan – her ne’er do well son Cameron (Leon Ockenden, “Heartbeat”) 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, “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving”). 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, “”The Tudors”), 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.
“An Old-Fashioned Christmas” is a Parallel Films Productions on behalf of MNG Films in association with Muse Entertainment. Joel Rice, Mary Callery, Alan Moloney and Mark Grenside are executive producers and Shelley Evans is co-executive producer. Sue de Beauvoir is the producer along with co-producer and writer Donald Martin. Don McBrearty is director.
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I love Bisset! Thanks for the notice. Great review.