Anything Good on TV ?

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  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,751MI6 Agent

    One contingent that's certainly well enough catered for on UK TV is the sports fan. It just seems to have been wall-to-wall sports coverage this summer. Just one thing after another, meaning many regular programmes have to be rescheduled or cancelled altogether.

    That said, I have been enjoying the Secrets of the Spies series on ITV recently. The second and latest episode dealt with Assassination and covered the Georgi Markov, Litvinenko and Skripal poisonings. More of this sort of content on our TV screens, and less sport, would be most welcome.

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,981MI6 Agent
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,751MI6 Agent

    Yes, I think you'd really enjoy that series, N24. I happened across the first episode just by chance one night when flicking through the channels.

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,981MI6 Agent

    I was thinking more of my complete lack of interest in sports, but you're probably right about the "Spies" documentary series too.

  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,751MI6 Agent
    edited August 2022

    Yes, I'd say you're correct on both points. Hopefully it'll end up on YouTube at some point so that you can get a chance to see it too. 🙂

    Edit: The 3-part series is already on there!

    (2637) Secrets Of The Spies Part 1 of 3 - YouTube

    (2637) Secrets Of The Spies Part 2 of 3 - YouTube

    (2637) Secrets Of The Spies Part 3 of 3 - YouTube

    Well worth a watch if you're interested in real world spying!

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,981MI6 Agent

    Oh, I just realised I've seen the series already! I just forgot it's the one narrated by Damian Lewis. It's reccomend.

    Any alligations that I'm interested in real world spies are well-based and true.

  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,751MI6 Agent

    Ah, I see. Maybe it's a repeat on ITV as I see those episodes were uploaded in March. It was the first time I'd seen it on TV, however. I probably missed it first time around. Still have to watch the third episode.

    Spy fact often informs spy fiction so it's useful to be clued up on it.

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Lady RoseLady Rose London,UKPosts: 2,667MI6 Agent


    ITV are currently showing this. I've watched the first two and really enjoyed both episodes.

    I've no idea why anyone would become a spy tbh. 🤣

  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,751MI6 Agent
    edited August 2022

    Yes, I've been enjoying it too and have also seen the first two episodes.

    Yes, real world spying is far from glamorous and can be deadly. I often think it's more akin to that scene in The Ipcress File (1965) where Harry Palmer is making a tape recording of his notes on the surveillance of a house across the street. That sort of boring day to day drudgery is what real spying is often like I'd wager, right down to Palmer's observations about them getting more bottles of milk. His speculation is that there are either more people there or, mundanely, that they are drinking more tea!

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Lady RoseLady Rose London,UKPosts: 2,667MI6 Agent


    The guy who was the spy in Afghanistan? No thanks.

    Also the guy who was saying about when you're given a new identity and have to know everything even down to what the local pub sells.

    My husband had some dealing with Peter Clarke, Head of Counter Terrorism, and said what a good bloke he is.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,981MI6 Agent

    You have such good contacts, Lady Rose!

    You should marry more people to get access to even more information. 👍

  • Lady RoseLady Rose London,UKPosts: 2,667MI6 Agent

    You'd be surprised N24 ... I hope I haven't blown my cover!!

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,981MI6 Agent

    I'm discression itself!

  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,751MI6 Agent

    I'm sure you'll be fine. I mean, who would ever think of looking for a spy on a James Bond forum?

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,637MI6 Agent

    THREADS (1984)

    I hadn’t seen this before and it’s one hell of a shocking piece of TV history. Showing the lead up to a nuclear war and the aftermath of it, the programme follows two families interlinked by the children, the daughter of one family is pregnant by the son of the other family. Written by Barry Hines, of Kes fame, and directed by Mick Jackson (The Bodyguard), this is a bleak, compelling drama, especially pertinent to events going on today. The futility of war has never been so dramatically portrayed and left me depressed after watching it. It’s compelling, powerful and graphic, it’s one of the most important pieces of television I have ever seen. The leaders of all countries should be made to watch it.

    Streamed on BritBox.

    Excellent, even if depressing.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent

    Just watched on Amazon Prime the latest Grand Tour escapade " Scandi Flick ".

    Richard Hammond trying to get on a Ski lift is the funniest thing I've seen in

    Years.

    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,637MI6 Agent

    Season 2 of Professor T starring Ben Miller as the OCD criminologist at Cambridge University is excellent, Miller seems born to play the part. Rising Damp’s Frances de la Tour plays his domineering mother. Professor Tempest aids the police in solving their crimes whilst coping with his OCD and tragedy from his past. Well made and interesting with some great background songs and music.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,637MI6 Agent

    I watched it on the BritBox app @Gymkata on an Amazon Firestick and using a VPN set to the UK - it should arrive on the US version soon, I expect. I didn’t realise it was based on a Belgian series, thanks for the heads up, I will try and locate it.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent

    I'm another fan of Prof T, in fact I watch most Murder mystery shows. Happily, I found on YouTube " Going Straight" the

    Follow up series to Porridge. A very funny show only stopped due to the sudden death of Richard Beckinsdale.

    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 8,751MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    I was watching Richard Beckinsdale just recently in a DVD of the Armchair Theatre episode he appeared in called 'Detective Waiting' (1971). He had a macintosh on just like the one Lt Columbo wore. In fact, he could have passed for a younger Columbo! Interestingly, it first aired on 14th September 1971 which was the day before the first episode of the TV series Columbo, 'Murder by the Book' aired. In the episode, Beckinsdale played a young detective determined to arrest a local gangster suspected of stealing a large consignment of brandy. I was shocked to find when I looked him up afterwards that he had died back in 1979, aged only 31. I knew his face from somewhere and realised it was as the cellmate to Fletcher in Porridge. A sad end to an acting career that was really going places. 😪


    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Lady RoseLady Rose London,UKPosts: 2,667MI6 Agent


    Going Straight. I'd forgotten about that. It never got to the dizzy heights of the the fabulous Porridge as far as I was concerned. Porridge still makes me LOL to this day.

  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent

    I've also revisited "Chef" with Lenny Henry on Britbox, another forgotten comedy. Made before Lenny became a serious actor.

    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Lady RoseLady Rose London,UKPosts: 2,667MI6 Agent

    I was looking forward to this before I saw todays news. Now I'm really looking forward to it.


    https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/ustv/a41622490/yellowstone-1923-timothy-dalton/

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,371MI6 Agent

    The problem with Going Straight - based around Slade prisoner Norman Stanley Fletcher getting out of jail - was that in this he was seen as a loser whereas in Porridge, he was seen as the winner. As the series co-starred a young Nicholas Lynhurst it really could have been a new Only Fools and Horses - which, of course, starred Barker's Porridge co-star David Jason.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,371MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    As season 2 of Industry is being trailed, I thought I'd catch up with Series 1, drawn in by claims of its high-sex count.

    Technically it's not that sexy, only a few minutes each episode, but it throbs promisingly. Industry is about financial trading in London, with a bunch of new graduates for the firm told they are under trial and only half of them will be taken on permanently, so it's all competition, like The Apprentice, I guess.

    While two decades ago the great sex thing was seeing a woman drop to her knees and administer - I don't know if blow-job gets past Barbel's censors or indeed if it's spelt with a hyphen or not, I don't know what the ajb style guide is with this - anyway in this it's all about the bloke going down on a woman, which some would argue is progress of sorts. It's spiced up with a bit of unrelated jeopardy - one guy is in a club and he's due into the office at 7am but is persuaded to pull an all nighter, another time is at the young woman's family home, in the kitchen - so there's other stuff going on to heighten the tension. Ep 2 ends with a shockingly dastardly sex act all the more surprising given the one behind it.

    Reviews on imdb are sniffy but the two episodes I've seen are quite good. It's not joyous - some may recall the legal graduates drama This Life from many years ago... but this lacks the humour or cameraderie of that. It's good at toying with your expectations and sympathies. You 'd never want to be in this situation yourself - the office, not the sex stuff - but some in their 20s might think it's a case of 'watch and learn'. Visually it's not quite noirish, more eternally grim. You never see the office workers see daylight or sunshine or much of the outside at all, they're mostly chained to their desks or in meeting rooms but it's nighttime even when you see them outside, mostly.

    The trailers for season 2 tip you off who gets through which is a drag.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,637MI6 Agent

    I’ve found this on BritBox and placed it on my watch list, thanks for the heads up, TP.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,981MI6 Agent
    edited November 2022

    I'd like to see Richard Ayoade as the next Doctor. He'd be a popular choice as a well-known comedian, and he has tons of charm.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,412MI6 Agent

    Has anyone been watching THE ENGLISH ? It's a western drama currently on the BBC. This thread doesn't really cover it. I'm not impressed at all. It tries hard to be a spaghetti western with a modern twist, but just feels like it's ripping off all the expected motifs. Even the title sequence and the theme tune echo A Fistful of Dollars. The stand-offs are drawn out to such a length as to be yawn inducing. The adventure lacks bite and pace, passing at a dead crawl. It'd be faster to stop slow. Tension is non-existent. The picaresque nature of the piece reminds me of Homeric legend. It's boring, basically. Nice photography. Emily Blunt is gorgeous to look at. That's all the positives I can grant the thing.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,371MI6 Agent
    edited November 2022

    I am watching the rerun of the 1970s wartime drama Secret Army, on Monday nights on Talking Pictures TV.

    Some episodes had been shown on another channel a couple of years ago and it didn't appeal for the simple reason that the French generally had English accents though in time-honoured fashion (see also The Sound of Music) the Nazis had to have German accents as it to keep such unparalleled evil within its own borders. This meant that the spoof of Secret Army, Allo Allo was almost more authentic as in the comedy the French did have French accents.

    Secret Army seems to be about the French Resistance but it isn't really. It's about a group called Lifeline, made up of few members, who come to the aid of downed Allied pilots over France and help them get back to Blighty so they can resume the war effort and continue to fight Germany. It is not quite altruistic. The group is not part of the French Resistance and doesn't go around blowing up trains and stuff. It only touches on the plight of the Jews very tangentially - as a siub plot of just one episode so far.

    It is shocking cynical and downbeat, always favouring the depressing ending over one of triumph. Each episode is broadly standalone but threads emerge. One shocker had a downed pilot who wanted to escape to Switzerland, not to head back to the UK. Often there's suspicion about their identity and whether they're German pilots and so on. In this episode it gradually emerged that the British pilot had no stomach for the fight and just wanted to abscond, do AWOL and sit out the war in neutral sunny territory, in fact that was almost his plan all along. At this time, the cafe from which Lifeline's operations were being run, was under suspicion for being run by a collaborator. In the final scene it become clear that its owner, Albert, had decided to set up the deserter and rat on him to the local secret police, so he got shot leaving the cafe exempt from suspicion. Such morally comprising behaviour comes out of nowhere to shock you from time to time.

    A few points. I was watching David Baddiel's fine documentary Jews Don't Count, based on his book, about how discrimination against Jews is played down as not important, because it's seen as 'punching up'. When SA went out in the late 70s, WWII was but 30 years ago. Pretty much the same time as from Baddiel now to his career defining stint on the comedy series Fantasy Football in the mid 90s. In other words, just not that long ago.

    Because SA did not deal with the plight of the Jews at all, only downed RAF pilots, it made it easier for spoof comedy such as Allo Allo to be made and not appear too tasteless. Then again, one fears that had it been about the plight of the Jews rather than RAF pilots, SA wouldn't have been made at all. Anyway, I don't know the facts behind 'Lifeline' - whether it existed even. It does seem they get to help a pilot just about every episode, like one lands in that particular part of the French countryside every week, which doesn't seem too plausible.

    The star of SA in many ways is the Gestapo head Kessler, played by Clifford Rose who died only last year. He is a hard-hearted piece of work, driven in his cause and most dangerous when he is charming. Yet he is involved in a power struggle with his subordinate who resents his exacting methods. Not every episode features Kessler - he is rather like the Daleks in Doctor Who, you don't want to overuse him.

    Another corker had Kessler quickly hear of a downed Lancaster and whip the dog tags off the charred bodies. His plan? To infiltrate Lifeline by having a German soldier imitate a British crewman who'd parachuted down, so he could be picked up by his rescuers. This leads to a few Red Grant moments when he does get picked up, and they try to ascertain whether he really is who he says he is. It's a time of double cross and betrayal.

    Allo Allo was really a spoof of Secret Army and not the actual work done in wartime. I recall when SA was on telly at the time and its ominous opening credits were the stuff of nightmares, rivalled only by The World At War and the then Doctor Who. The themes did get a bit tiresome as the series went on, a bit depressing for Saturday night viewing. The cafe owner Albert has an infirm wife upstairs whom he can't leave as she'll die, she is rarely seen in the series. He has an affair with a colleague and waitress in the cafe who sings, in Allo Allo this character becomes his tiresome wife who can't carry a tune while the infirm woman upstairs is his mother in law with an ear trumpet. Albert is played by Bernard Hepton who is must be said doesn't exude great sex appeal or romantic chemistry with the younger waitress. Oddly, this doesn't quite harm the series at all but one might wonder if Gordon Kaye's balding, overweight Rene who is found devastatingly attractive by all women in Allo Allo isn't a send-up of all this.

    That said, supporting roles in Secret Army raise eyebrows - one Lifeline member is played by Jan Francis, later star of the long-running John Sullivan sitcom Just Good Friends. Hi-de-Hi's Jeffery Holland, who played Spike, is in one episode as a Resistance member. You'll recognise other faces.

    In a later series, I think Albert's cafe is basically changed/upgraded into a larger restaurant with no real explanation given. I don't know if his ailing wife goes the distance. I roughly know how the series turns out but would prefer to avoid spoilers.

    Monday nights wouldn't be the same without this stark, depressing and austere series to rely on.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Lady RoseLady Rose London,UKPosts: 2,667MI6 Agent

    I remember Secret Army being on but I don't think it was a programme my parents watched so but they did like 'Allo 'Allo which I found totally unfunny and boring.

    However as it is on constant reruns on the Drama channel every time I visit my Dad I catch a couple of episodes and I am not ashamed to say I found some of it very funny!! Am I officially old ??

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