1 August 2017 | Emberweave
Wonderfully atmospheric and enjoyable Victorian ghost story for the 21st Century
This is a thoroughly enjoyable and atmospheric ghost story with a very Victorian feel to it, yet it takes place in the here and now. Others have described the plot, so I'll skip that part and just say each episode was fun to watch. The creepy atmosphere is kept at a steady rhythm and one is kept guessing as to the reasons for what is going on. You have to pay attention the entire time, which is perhaps why some viewers found it tiring. Clues are given in visual images of photographs and other shots, so you can't watch this program with your head buried in your cell phone. It's a quiet piece and you have to pay attention and participate as a viewer. There are several familiar faces to PBS viewers (Mina Anwar, Mark Addy, Rebekah Staton, Julia Sawalha, as well as some character actors). Michael Palin is touching as the main character, who is still tied to his nanny from a century ago (what a beautiful woman, by the way) and conflicted about the relationship. The final episode is where the pace picks up and it really is suspenseful wondering what is the meaning of that version of "Scarborough Fair" as well as wondering just how the story will end. I'm taking two stars off for the very clumsily written chief of police, who seems to serve more as a "conflict device" than an actual character. Also, Mina Anwar's character is gone after episode two without any feeling of resolution with her, considering her strong presence in the first two episodes. That said, the program is beautifully shot, well-acted, and steadily paced. One feels that one is moving forward all the time, without knowing quite what will be waiting at the end of the journey. This was a very enjoyable story and well worth watching.