The comedienne had little time to miss being a mum to 15-year-old Billie, her daughter with Lenny Henry, because there were so many children on set during the five-month location shoot.
French plays mother-of-four Caroline Arless in the latest adaptation of Flora Thompson's memoirs of her Oxfordshire childhood.
She told MSN: "They were great kids. It can be disastrous, you can come to loathe them. But that didn't happen at all on this. I'd look forward to seeing them every time!"
She admitted that she had felt compelled to act in a professional manner around newcomer John Dagleish, whose role as Alf was his first out of drama school.
She said: "It was very funny, knowing it was John's first job. I love misbehaving on set; there's nothing I like more. But then I thought, 'Oh, there's somebody here watching this, I should set a better example!' That thought lasted about 10 minutes!"
The series also stars Brendan Coyle, Olivia Grant, Olivia Hallinan, Mark Heap, Ben Miles, Julia Sawalha and Liz Smith.
Lark Rise To Candleford starts on Sunday at 7.40pm on BBC One.