Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

Last night we were supposed to go out to a movie. An old-fashioned date night, before I began a two-week on-call stint.

The plan was to go see a screening of the National Theatre’s 2016 production of Hamlet, but it had been one of those loooong weeks, where I was sure it was Friday but it was only Wednesday, and so on. My wife was just as exhausted, and there was no way she was going to make it through a four-hour play in a darkened room. I might have made it to Act IV, but she would have been snoring before the first body hit the floor.

Not to be completely deterred, we opted instead to stay in and watch a movie at home. No primp-n-prep, no travel, no finding a place to park. Plus, we had better lighting, a shorter duration, and cheaper snacks.

We kept with the Shakespearean theme, and opted to screen a play that we hadn’t before seen staged.

“What?!” you say (complete with interrobang). “There’s a Shakespeare play you haven’t seen?”

Yes.  It’s true, it’s true. Even though I love Shakespeare’s works, I must admit that I haven’t seen every play. Since production companies usually concentrate on the popular titles, there’s a fair number of plays I’ve never seen on stage or film.  (more…)


Read Full Post »

You want a strong female character? I’ll give you a strong female character.

Catherine Caewood (played by Sarah Lancashire) is the lead role in BBC’s Happy Valley, a crime drama set in working-class West Yorkshire; it’s a valley, but it isn’t happy.

This character is perhaps the most conflicted, complex, and yet utterly understandable creations I’ve seen in a while. Caewood, a sergeant with the local police, is forty-seven, divorced, with two kids—one dead, one that won’t talk to her—and a grandson. She lives with her sister, a recovering heroin addict and, well, you get the picture. Her life’s a mess.

Except it isn’t. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Gentlefolk, start your DVRs.

Ripper Street is back with Series 3 (that’s “Season” 3, for us here in the States), airing on BBC America beginning April 29.

BBC canceled the show after its second season, citing low viewership in the UK, but when an online petition garnered over 50,000 signatures, the production company was able to reach a deal with (what is now) Amazon Prime Instant Video to fund a third season.

UK residents have already seen this third season, and reports I’ve read state that it’s the strongest, most viscerally charged season to date. The show’s creator, Richard Warlow, was more cautious about future seasons this time, and gave the end of Season 3 a sense of closure while still leaving sufficient loose threads with which to weave a Season 4, should it get picked up again. Here’s hoping on that score! (more…)


Read Full Post »

Last year, I brought to your attention Ripper Street, the BBC  crime drama set in Whitechapel (London) in the years after the Jack the Ripper murders. Last year, the premiere season was showing on BBC America, and I was all atwitter about it.

It’s back for a second season–a good bit of news–but it’s also back in the news.

You see, Ripper Street was canceled at the end of its second season. Even The Guardian was gobsmacked by the news, calling it “Dreadful news for fans of quality drama.”

And I agree. But all is not lost.



Read Full Post »

Do you moue and roll your eyes when someone mentions Shakespeare? (If so, then I don’t know why you read this blog.) But if you do, if you think Shakespeare is nothing but a collection of thee’s and thou’s, if you find it all just stuffy and boring and completely incomprehensible, then I have the perfect entrée for you.

As the centerpiece of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the UK (in the form of the BBC) have created a new version of Shakespeare’s royal tetralogy collectively known as The Hollow Crown, and it is wonderful. More than that, though, it is accessible, it is totally comprehensible (both in plot and in language), and it is a joy.

The Hollow Crown comprises four of Shakespeare’s histories–Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II, and Henry V–and in these you will not find any star-crossed lovers, any intricate plots. You won’t find women disguised as men nor any twins separated at birth. You’ll find no trickery gone awry and no semblance of death. None of that, here.

In The Hollow Crown, you’ll only find clean lines of action, kings trying to rule, subjects in revolt. You’ll find wenching and drinking, smooching and smiting, usurpations, successions, and war.

Easy peasy. (more…)


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: