...I wasn't a fan of the original so I suppose it's a bit too much to hope for that this new series would engage me.
Apart from Mr S.West playing Siegfried Farnon like Kenneth More in a Rank 1950s comedy it has little to reccomend it.
The late Dame Diana Rigg has fun as Mrs Pomfrey otherwise it's pretty dire stuff
with the nadir being reached last week at the 'Darrowby Show' where that nice young Mr Heriot wanders round the town square listlessly awarding prizes to various animals all of whom seem more enthusiastic than he.
I have a horrible feeling that another series will be made and on and on until Siegfried's brother stops behaving like a drunken boor and makes an honest woman out of the barmaid at the 'Drovers'.
By then I'll probably be in prison for not paying for my TV licence so I'll be less choosy on Tuesday nights.
Sorry,Mrs Gump',Life'is not like a box of chocolates we know exactly what we're
Going to get from preachy woke BBC ; Women empowered,men weak,bullying
and pretty useless,those women who appear troubled are in that position because men ill - treated them in the first place...'Men and bloody Tories' moans a self - harming person who menstruates before handing over her 'challenging' daughter
to a sister who is barely coping with her own problems.
But we are a sisterhood - right?
'Life ' is saved from banality by the performances which deserve a better fate than
As an 80 year old white working class man I looked in vain for anybody on the screen that looked or spoke like me.
Not only are the BBC stealing my licence money back they are totally failing to
give people like me representation in their drama dept.
This may well be up there or thereabouts if Baftas ever come round again but don't deceive yourself that 'Life' is anything like life for most of us who don't live in the bubble.
Normally I might not have much sympathy for a middle class over - indulged 20 - something in achingly - hip Islington bemoaning his lot aided and abetted by his besotted mama, but Oli's somewhat fragilely constructed persona disintegrates entirely when confronted by his recently discovered half - siblings, a shouty, woke, self - obsessed bunch of Americans all of whom apparently were sired by the same sperm - donor, but have nothing else in common with this slightly camp young man whose English sense of irony is entirely wasted on them.
So this vulnerable Asperger's sufferer was shouted at(his relies don't talk, they lecture) and reviled, ignored and finally snubbed by these Wasp clones to whom individuality was clearly original sin.
Smoking desperately and just about holding himself together he ran off from a 'Get together' where he was obviously de trop and came back to England with his dignity intact.
I hope this very nice young man has by now realised that you can choose your friends - but not your family.
Life on the farm - Enid Blyton style.Absolutely wizard.
Sheep farmers Clive and Amanda Owen and their nine children show us the true old - fashioned values of hard work,enthusiasm and family.
Their children are all Millennials but with none of the so - called 'snowflake' characteristics their contemporaries are so often accused of possessing.
'Ravenseat Farm' near the Yorkshire/Northumbria border is set in a bleak and open landscape and their is no escape from the vicissitudes of nature.
Life and work is hard.
Everybody mucks in to get things done.
It's a very mid - 20th century attitude that seems to work for them.
Those brought up on 'Famous Five' and 'Secret Seven' books will recognise the firm but fair parental guidance allowing the children a good degree of independence and self - reliance.
Nature may be red in tooth and claw but there are important life - lessons to be learned from it.
Girl meets boy.Girl loses boy.Girl goes on the game.
I don't think I've left anything out.
This is a smart - arse's Klondyke gold rush movie with literary pretensions.
Bits of John Ford,Howard Hawks and more modern Western masters like Eastwood and Peckinpah are 'hommaged' shamelessly.
Clever - clever chronology is frankly pointless and ends up irritating.
I have never knowingly read a prize - winning novel and this adaptation of one excites in me no desire to do so.
I do however love Westerns.
I'm just going to watch'McCabe and Mrs Miller' to get this out of my mind.
Don't bother to pull it,it doesn't have bells on....
With the exception of Miss S.Finneran's secret mistress,no female character is even vaguely amusing.It is left to Mr S.Tompkinson in episode three to give you a real belly-laugh.
And that,in a show written by women about women is a real problem.
None of the performers are actually bad - it's the writing that lets them down.
The whole middle - class/working class schtick is as old as the hills and frankly should be quietly allowed to die rather than spun out as 21st century post modernism.
Ho Ho the 'posh' family are repressed and incapable of enjoying life.
The 'poor'family have love and energy to spare.No sh#t.
In movies this goes back to Ealing and beyond.
One wonders why the BBC waited for 3 years before letting it loose on the public.
Watch 'The Windsors',watch 'Benidorm' for saying the same thing but actually being funny whilst doing it.
With two of 'The other one's' actresses properly displayed.
I really wanted to enjoy it.Great shame.
Don't be fooled - it's just an overlong soap for 'Guardianistas.
'Call the midwife' would have dealt with the issues in an hour,'Casualty' too,and still had time for Charlie to scratch his head.
Straight out of the box marked 'Gritty Northern drama' with pale angst - ridden characters first seen in the pale and angst - ridden old b&w British movies of the sixties and performances to match.
Mr C.Ecclestone is ludicrously over the top,closely followed by Mr L.Ingleby
wound up like a spring and Miss P.Quesnel as the spunky middle - aged mother
of a young man with learning difficulties.
I'm clearly missing something because many people are going into raptures over 'The A - Word' and with a great - nephew with autism I am aware of the
difficulties it causes for everyone involved,but eking this one - trick pony out over three seasons risks people losing interest in a complex and disturbing problem
that seems to have no way of being resolved just now.
How Babs(nudge,nudge,),Sid,Kenny and the gang would have loved this as our social superiors are brought down to the level of an old - time seaside postcard (with extra swearing ) rooting around in the trough with the rest of us.
One has the feeling that most of the Royals have no sense of humour(Their great grandparents liked the Crazy gang for God's sake).
Here Andrew is a rutting boor,Charles a barely functioning idiot and Edward
a simpering inadequate whilst Anne is a psychopathic misanthrope.
Which is obviously an appalling libel.
On boors,idiots,inadequates and misanthropes.
Apart from BBC's'Question Time' this is the funniest show currently on TV.
A situation familiar to Mr C Firth from the equally turgid 'Mamma Mia' of blessed memory(comparatively speaking).
Is he the father of Ms Jones's brat?Frankly do we give a damn?
The usual appalling cliches and ham acting with Mr J.Broadbent looking suitably ashamed at dishing out so much old rope.
Lots of swearing from Miss Zellweger and her potty - mouthed chums which doesn't amount to a hill of beans.
I ask myself how much longer this franchise can limp along and I am not confident of a good outcome in this regard.
By the time Bridget Jones's infant gets to Cambridge(naturally),it's mother will be drawing her enhanced pension and still making cow - eyes at Hugh Grant.
You can take that to the bank.
You'd better believe it Lyra,things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.
You're going to need Pan to cling to when the going gets tough.
You've already seen your uncle nearly poisoned,your friend Roger kidnapped ad the woman you had begun to trust set her Daemon on yours( a gross breach of etiquette to say the least).
And you're still in Oxford.
You may be The Chosen One but it ain't going to be easy.
And now you know who your father is - what other secrets does Mrs Coulter
'His dark materials' is already after two episodes departing from the text to a large extent but the trilogy is good enough to stand it.
There is so much to look forward to that even with a spoiler warning I will not discuss forthcoming events.
Suffice it to say that this as a superb adaptation to one of the great works of
As an aside,I will say that a theoretical physicist told me some years ago that
the discovery of Quantum Physics makes it practically certain that millions of a
alternative universes exist alongside one another so maybe the storyline isn't so fantastic after all.
'Bugger Bognor!' King George Vth's last words..........................
Well,he might not have done,but Mr T.Jones is making a pretty good of it so far....
'D.F.T.D.' is funny like a broken leg.
Yes,it's a pretty accurate portrait of 2019 England - and that's absolutely nothing to laugh about.
All the issues currently concerning 'Guardian' readers are none -too- subtly presented by an excellent cast and one almost forgets that it's Remain propaganda.
It's very cleverly done,the BBC are by now very good at this sort of thing.
I admired it,but it is mis - sold as a comedy.
Mutti Merkel will love it.
....complete with Mack Sennett - type music and savagely chewed scenery as the players compete in a positive orgy of over - acting.
Mr Grant merely swaps one sort of stereotype for another,moving from 'Anyone for tennis?' to 'Anyone for murder?'.
He tries so hard to be ruthless but only succeeds in being desperate.
He lacks Thorpe's overweening vanity,the quality that caused Wilde's downfall
when he failed to recognise that whilst he may have been jolly popular at the Café de Paris not many ordinary folks actually cared for him.
His Thorpe is virtually a posh John Gotti.Leader of the Liberal Party at a point when British politics was at its most corrupt(and that's saying an awful lot)he jumped on any bandwagon going to draw attention to himself and as a result made many enemies even within his own ranks.
When an earlier troublesome homosexual affair threatened to blow him out of the water - to coin a phrase -he arranged to have the unfortunate former lover eliminated.
This is not really his sort of thing,you understand but,as he says,needs must.
A Public School man through and through,he lies and prevaricates,as one must,but in a very middle -class out of his depth manner he bollixes the whole thing up.
When the Old Bill come calling it takes a bent judge to "do the right thing" by this pathetic excuse for a man get him off with a summing - up that has to be heard to be believed.And the jury believed it.
In a strange manner 'A very English Scandal' is quite fun to watch as Mr Grant frowns and growls for England and Ben Wishaw - as his erstwhile victim-
piles on the camp.
But in real life,the 'collateral damage to Thorpe's family and Jeremy Scott was not fun at all.
"It seems to me I've heard that song before"..........
Over - familiar faces,over - familiar plot,dialogue written as if filtered through endless other "I wuz framed"dramas,"Innocent" is reliant on viewers having short memories and a high tolerance of clichés.
The amiable Mr Lee Ingleby plays a man jailed for murdering his wife.
Did the police tailor the evidence to fit their theory?
Did witnesses stitch him up?
Did family members conspire to put him away?
What were the motives for all this skullduggery?
My boredom quotient was soon reached once the "shock" revelation that the D.I. charged with re - investigating the case was in a cosy relationship with the old school copper who screwed up(in one way or another) the first one.
In an office full of coppers nobody knew?Nobody would say"Hang on a minute?
And the judge assuring the defendant he can't be charged twice for the same offence after being acquitted?
Oh yes he can.
Mr Ingleby does "anguish" very well.He alone has some depth.
Otherwise it's the same old same old.
And we'll keep on getting it until TV companies eventually realise that this particular ship has not only sailed but sunk without trace.
All men are beasts.Girls on top.I would expect no less.
This is a BBC Drama production.Consequently the Sisterhood Rools O.K.?
Husbands,lovers,clients are all put down ruthlessly or depicted as dickheads of the worst order.Some particularly unfortunate ones get both treatments.
The girls get to power dress,bond, and "you and me against the world" is the watchword.
It's all a bit 1980s actually and a "homage" to countless USTV dramas set in Law Offices with stockinged legs gleaming like workplace sanctuary never happened.
Miss N.Walker ,as is her wont,rises above the clichés,but even she is stymied with some of the dialogue she is supposed to take seriously.
That awfully nice bloke from the coffee ads back in the day plays her father who deserted her and her mother and siblings thirty eight years earlier.
It's all his fault apparently.Stephen Thompkinson plays out of his comfort zone as a multi - millionaire sports goods manufacturer (based,one wonders,on whom?) and he gives the best performance.
He and the remarkably consistent Miss Walker are head and shoulders above
the rest of the cast who otherwise do their own familiar thing and it is this familiarity plus Miss Walker's acknowledged pulling power(second only to Miss S.Lancaster I would guess) that will keep "The Split" going the distance.
Love the hair colour,Nichola,but ditch the jacket - it's so not you.
Form is temporary - Class is permanent.The BBC Drama Dept redeems itself.
Mr Collins' Victorian Gothic Novel is given the same respect afforded to "Bleak House" in 2005 which itself was an essay on middle - class manners , morals and hypocrisy.
It is apparent that our national broadcaster is still able to pull out a plum just at the time our admiration for it might have been slightly declining due to a number of sub - standard offerings of late.
"The woman in white" has all the hallmarks of classic costume drama.
It is carefully cast,mixing the familiar faces with the rather less so.
An atmosphere of slight menace prevails even in the lightest moments,the beautiful house and its grounds,the beach,even the sea seem to contain some unspecified threat.
The interior lighting conceals more than it reveals.Mr C.Dance's study is a fine example of hidden mystery.
All the performances are spot on,but I might single out mesdames Buckley and Scanlan in particular for bringing more to their characters that even,fine actors that they are,might have been expected.
Does "The woman in white" signal a return to form for BBC Drama?
I hope so,but form is temporary - class is permanent.
A less kind reviewer might say it's a one - note performance from a one - note
actor but I prefer to think that Mr Nighy has simply reached the bottom of
of this particular barrel and his slightly put - upon meek Englishman schtick
has come to the end of its natural life.
It's been a good living for him for years and why not?But now surely he can put this particular character back in its box?
Disturbingly,he is the only actor steadfastly refusing to chew the scenery in this expensive BBC production.
A family of lunatics loses its matriarch and turns on itself feverishly reviving old hatreds and grudges.
It could have been a 90 minute play but this all fur coat and no knickers adaptation drags on over three hourly episodes tricked out with flashbacks,secrets revealed at the last moment(a.k.a. cheating the viewer)
and self - indulgent directorial flimflammery that irritates intensely.
There is no sense of period.
Photographing a few old cars doesn't cut it I' m afraid or "Which twin has the Toni?" hairstyles.
All the body language and attitudes are defiantly 21st century.
"Ordeal by innocence" is an object lesson on how not to make a Country House Mystery.
Perhaps it's time to leave the works of Miss Christie to the makers of the rather camp "Hercule Poirot Mysteries" where the most fun is to be had watching the metamorphosis of his moustache.
In short,there is very little in "Ordeal by Innocence" to keep the little grey cells buzzing.
Russian Engineer meets girl.Russian Engineer loses girl but gains propellor.....
What a shame that the Russian engineer should turn out to be so handsome and charming and,frankly,British in all but name and accent.
He doesn't talk,he speechifies,whether it's taking afternoon tea or launching a ship.
Actors are never happier than when hiding behind accents.
Sir Laurence particularly favoured them - a bit like Meryl Streep.
The difference was he couldn't quite pull them off as often as not.
His Russian is all on one note.
"Demi Paradise" is of course wartime propaganda when Russia was supposed to be our chum despite the Nazi - Soviet non- aggression pact which is conveniently forgotten .
When one barking mad dictator double - crossed another barking mad
dictator we were forced to make Hobson's Choice and cosy up to dear old Uncle Joe who subsequently turned out to have been Summa Cum Laude in the pantheon of murdering psychopaths.
To ease our path through this moral maze "Demi - paradise" is somehow
on a par with Fred Kite's "All them cornfields and singing in the evening".
A selection of stereotyped Brits all fall for Larry's easy charm including the very posh heroine who joins the Wrens rather like lovelorn chaps once joined the Foreign Legion.
75 years on all this doesn't hold up too well,then again I doubt the makers ever expected to make a timeless masterpiece;just a journeyman quickie with a better cast than most.
As Russian troops raped and looted their way round Berlin and Eastern Europe
I would like to think Anatol de Grunwald might have been given food for thought.
...coupled with splendid performances from Mr K.Grifith and Mr T.Bell take attention away from an appallingly miscast lead and the somewhat clichéd
This is 1961.The head villain has a Hillman Minx.
He is posh.
But ruthless mind you.
He plans a Wages Robbery(the crime du jour in 1961)but it all goes pear - shaped when a guard is shot and all the robbers face being hanged,that being the penalty for "murder in the furtherance of theft" at that time.
The gang falls out,unsurprisingly.
Mr K.Griffith dies miserably in a dark alley.(ditto).
Just previously he has been thrown out of a pub after being involved in a brawl that is brilliantly realistic in that it is brief and all the offenders are ejected rather brutally by the regulars.
That's how it was in 1961 - nobody is shot or glassed,no acid is thrown,just a few dozen punches.
The femme fatale(French,bien sur)double crosses the gang leader and is in turn double - crossed.
When the police rather belatedly arrive they are wearing trench macs and Homburgs.Surely time was about to be called on such attire.
Vastly - experienced director Mr S Hayers does miracles with such potentially slim pickings.
When people started to get paid by cheque the whole Wages Blag industry was re - invented as Having One Across The Pavement and cash deliveries to banks became the target.
Eventually the Old Bill got fed up and started shooting a few Faces and low - risk crimes like drugs began to proliferate.
"Payroll" is a film that - in effect - records the beginning of the end for little Firms who would do "one big job" and the beginning of the Big Firms who were run by men with plans.
Personally I suspect all the gang shown in this film would be quickly shown the door by dear old Reg and Ron.
Written by Fred C.Dobbs?He shoulda stuck to treasure hunting.....
Here in England in 2018 we're still having this rubbish inflicted on us by Freeview
on a gloomy March afternoon when I should have been gardening.
"The Great Sioux Massacre" is certainly one of the worst Westerns I have seen in seventy years of devoted fandom.
It looks as if it has been cobbled together from clips of the director's tv cowboy
films interspersed with embarrassingly bad sub - sub Fordian scenes of Cavalry life in barracks including one excruciating moment at an Officers' dance where Mr J.Cotten gives the worse "drunk" performance I have ever seen whilst the rest of the cast watch almost open - mouthed.
Mr P. Carey looks like a fat bloke with a syrup as Colonel/General Custer, a man who goes from hero to zero on being offered a possible Presidential nomination.
Even Donald Trump gave the matter a bit more thought.
Mr D.McGavin looks distraught throughout,as if he still can't believe he agreed
to take the part,but by golly he'll give it the old College Try.
The women get even shorter shrift,being shown as arm candy for those bad boys in blue.
Easy to see why director Salkow chose to write this trash under a pseudonym.
From somewhere in the Sierra Madre Mr Fred C.Dobbs should be consulting his lawyers.
Mr Newley was aiming for "Citizen Kane"but hit "Myra Breckenridge"
The greatest stage performance I ever saw was Mr Newley in 1962 in his tour - de - force "Stop the world - I want to get off".
Seven years later his star was so far in the ascendant that he was given the keys to Hollywood and told "Help Yourself".
An offer he took very seriously.
The result was what can only be described as extraordinary .
Now whether this is a good "extraordinary" or a bad one is very subjective.
What is certain,however,is the warts and all portrait of the artist that is revealed.
He is by turns crude,witty,self - relevatory,secretive,charming and unpleasant.
And so is the film.
Fifty years ago it might have shocked a pre Harvey Milk America.
Today it merely represents the overindulgence of a huge ego.
But it's a "Big" film with a big budget and big themes already explored by cleverer reviewers than me.
I still admire Mr Newley's work and can indulge his childish ambition to make a T and A picture dressed up as "Art".
The film's main saving grace is that in parts it is very funny.
As a satire on the so - called "Permissive" society and its pernicious after - effects it is unmatched.
Looks like the clippings from the cutting - room floor....
...running just over the hour if you cut out the ads(and this is freeview with ads about every ten minutes),this travesty was shown the other afternoon as a "feature "film and made absolutely no sense.
There was no background for the characters,no explanation of the Poldark/Warleggan feud,clearly huge lumps had been chopped out making the whole thing pointless.
We arrived at a point where the story had obviously been running for some time and left so abruptly it was almost rude- in the middle of Clowance stomping off in high dudgeon with obviously a lot to be done before the end of the story.
It was as if I was watching one episode from a tv series at about the halfway point
in it's run.
It was an insult to both viewers and performers.
The Independent Television Authority needs to look hard at what is being used under it's auspices to sell funeral insurance and stairlifts.
A lot of it's audience may be old - but it's not stupid.
A rather cold but clever English Country House mystery set in Ireland...
This film has the trappings of Doyle but the aura of Christie,all wrapped up in a
blanket of Hustonian braggadacio.
One of the medium's most idiosyncratic directors and hammiest actors(in a good way),Mr Huston apparently lost interest in many of his projects almost as soon as they started to bear fruit.
This is not detectable on screen during "The List of Adrian Messenger" except in the denouement involving his "hidden stars" which proceeds with a haste that is almost rude.
Whether or not it was his idea in the first place I don't know,but clearly he was anxious to get it over with before it could be revealed as a Maguffin to rival any of Hitchcock's.
The story is intriguing despite Mr Scott's English accent which may have ben a template for Mr van Dyke's efforts a little later that year.
Sitting in the three and nines in the "Odeon" in Brighton's West St, I pencilled in my diary the parts I thought were being played by the Big Stars.
The first name I wrote was Kirk Douglas playing George C.Scott's role.
In my defence there did seem to be a close similarity.
Apart from Mr Lancaster who clearly was not playing the Hunt Follower,the others were easy.
Mr Scott - later to play Sherlock Holme - ,was cool and dogged,trying hard to take the rather convoluted plot seriously.
The icily beautiful Miss D.Wynter was perfectly cast,the locations well - chosen
and the whole thing crisply shot in startling black and white.
The English aristos are everything you might expect a man who owned Estates in Ireland to sincerely believe.
None of this stops "The List" from being an atypical Huston film for that stage of his career.
He lifts his foot from the testosterone pedal despite a predominantly male cast
and lets his cinematographer's imagination predominate.
The Hunt scenes - regardless of your taste or otherwise for Foxhunting,are bravura film - making.
Best seen I'm afraid,on the big screen where the interiors and exteriors may distract you from the unlikeliness of it all.
Overall great fun and a worthy example of a Film Craftsman's oeuvre.
Very poor indeed - don't watch it if you're feeling suicidal............
This travesty was on Freeview last night - divided into two 2 hour segments.
It was so bad I can only think - in it's defence that it had been cut to ribbons in order to fit in ads for Old Persons' Funeral Insurance and ambulance chasing lawyers.
I am not an admirer of Miss Steele's oeuvre but she surely didn't deserve this barbarity.
Countess Zoya seemed to have lost a child somewhere along the line between commercials; random characters turned up and disappeared again,accents changed at will,noone seemed to age except in the last reel when huge amounts of make - up were splashed on Miss Gilbert's face and she gamely tried to walk like an old lady.
Miss Diana Rigg and Mr David Warner were awful and he vanished with a speed that was almost rude - for which I was grateful.
The print was faded and scratchy,the soundtrack - thankfully - muffled.
I don't know why I watched it.
Oh yes I do ...there was even worse rubbish on the other 105 channels.
Sweet but rather lightweight tale of a bright but slightly odd young woman.
Part of the post- war Irish Diaspora were large numbers of young women many of whom headed for New York where,as the contemporary song has it "Every street's a boulevard".
Mrs Keogh's brownstone was home for half a dozen such girls who seem to spend most of their time bitching at one another.
Ellis is one such tenant.
She is played by Miss S.Ronan as bright but naïve.
She meets and,in secret,marries a young Italian plumber before returning to Ireland in response to a family crisis.
Subsequently she finds herself on the horns of a dilemma.
How she resolves it is the real let - down of this slight film.
In fact she seems paralysed by her situation and merely marking time when a solution is thrust upon her.
Miss Ronan is fine as Ellis within the limits set by the writer.
She is a bit detached and a trifle smug,neither particularly likeable attributes.
Mr Broadbent is lovely as Father Flood - everybody's dream priest and fellow Brit Miss Walters sometimes staggers on the brink of Stage Oirishness but always manages to right herself at the last moment.
Opinions on "Brooklyn" vary widely,but I believe it's not as good as it's proponents say,nor as bad as it's detractors.
The highpoint for me was the down and outs' Christmas dinner.
"These are the men that dug the tunnels and built the bridges" says Jim Broadbent - the most memorable line in the film.
A film with nothing new to say about love,war or anything else unfortunately.
Cliché watchers will have a field day as conflicted Nazi officer falls in lust with lonely, put - upon Frenchwoman.
He is a composer who left home to join the Wehrmacht and is somehow surprised that his fellow soldiers are not all gentlemen looking for a "good" war but frankly barbarians almost to a man.
"Mein Gott,what am I doing here?"he must have thought.
Too late,pal;get on with the job of killing Jews,Frenchmen,Russians,gypsies,
the mentally ill, the disabled and other such "untermenschen".
He has written a sub - sub Debussy piano piece and plays it.He makes the piano talk -it says "Take your hands off me!"
His easily - impressed French mistress - seemingly in a semi - catatonic state throughout their "affair" spends hours fingering his music lovingly.
Read into that what you will.
Eventually they both remember there's a war on and they're on opposites sides of it.
She tries to smuggle a wanted man to Paris,and is stopped at a sentry post .
Two soldiers end up getting shot.
The officer rides up on his motor bike (the things German composers can do,eh?) and after an unconsciably long time staring at each other open - mouthed lets her drive off.
By this time my eyes were blurred not with tears but with sleep.
Mis K.Scott - Thomas at her ball - breaking best is worth the five stars .
Otherwise if there's a documentary about sugar cane production in China on another channel - watch it.