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.
I've also revisited "Chef" with Lenny Henry on Britbox, another forgotten comedy. Made before Lenny became a serious actor.
I was looking forward to this before I saw todays news. Now I'm really looking forward to it.
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.
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.
I’ve found this on BritBox and placed it on my watch list, thanks for the heads up, TP.
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.
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.
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.
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 ??
CRIMINAL JUSTICE Season 1 (2008)
A series of events leads to our own Ben Whishaw being arrested for a murder that he can’t remember doing as he wakes up from a drunken, drug fuelled stupor. His horrifying time in prison is compounded by his refusal to accept a lesser charge as his original solicitor is replaced by an expensive barrister. Reverting to his original solicitor (a great performance by the always reliable Con O’Neill) he attempts to prove his innocence.
This is a good 5-part drama with plenty of tension. A good cast with believable performances.
I’m looking forward to season 2. Streamed on BritBox.
A few people here have watched Vienna Blood.
I've just noticed it's back tonight on BBC2 at 9pm.
Fell short on Xmas telly this year, don't know why. It all seems a bit samey though Some Like It Hot is as welcome as ever.
Some stuff feels like it's on the wrong side of history. I caught the end of My Fair Lady on C5 - a wonderful print - but it feels odd to have Eliza's prize to be married to Higgins played by Rex Harrison, really too old for her; Hepburn did tend to get paired up with these types didn't she - Bogart, Holden, Astaire - I think Finney was one of her few young virile leading men, but in a dud of a film. Higgins' schtick just doesn't seem funny any more even if it's meant to be part of a learning curve, and I'm not sure there are many jolly or lovely anecdotes about Harrison as an actor, certainly not in Roger Moore's Hollywood tales - albeit Moore was in the David Niven camp, and Niven really disliked Harrison.
That is not to say that Rex Harrison doesn't turn in a tour de force performance in this film. He's brilliant.
I never really have sat down to watch Ghostbusters and it seems I didn't miss much. Again, even without allegations of Murray's behaviour lately, it's odd to see his character sort of stalk Signourney Weaver's, it just doesn't seem funny to me then again the film overall just isn't that funny imo. It came out the same week as Gremlins in the UK - now that really is a good movie, wouldn't mind seeing that again.
The late Robbie Coltrane's TV series Tutti Frutti was re-shown and that too had some odd stuff where he refuses to leave Emma Thomposon's flat though she is making it very clear. Perhaps I'm just having a sour Christmas. I think part of it was the really cold Crimbo weather a week or so ago - now THAT felt like Christmas the problem being when the warm or rainy weather resumes the actual week itself falls a bit flat.
In contrast, I watched Die Hard again last night and in terms of sexual politics it holds up very well. Not saying that in itself is what makes it great, of course not, but it helps. A few snags one notices - the changing colour of Willis' vest, and wouldn't have Hans Gruber have taken his own gun on his solo trip to the roof? - but largely forgivable.
The latest Bond is on New Year's Day - as woke as you please but largely joyless.
I saw two episodes of something called WRECK which was on BBC3. A murder mystery set on a cruise ship whose staff are sex obsessed drug couriers. Very peculiar and quite watchable. Apparently, the remaining four episodes are only available on iPlayer.
That's fairly typical of the BBC who really do not have their head on regarding a modern audience's viewing habits. They seem to want to push us - who pay the TV licence - to watch online / streaming services where they are starting to offer live sports and new dramas to binge or documentaries to scan. If you simply want to watch listed television and be held in suspense for a few weeks as a story builds to climax after climax, they really don't care anymore. There are four BBC channels now and during the tennis and the footie world cup, they couldn't resist mucking about with established programming just so they could have a match on BBC1. It doesn't matter which channel the footie or Andy Murray is on, people will watch it; but they hate switching between channels to accommodate the Beeb's thirst for ratings. A world cup quarter final would still be watched by millions even if they put it on BBC3. They just need to advertise where to watch it. Even worse is advertising events on iPlayer [like the recent International Horse Show] and then showing them live on the old Red Button service - which is never listed in the Radio Times and has ceased to be trailed by presenters. My Mum, who was an accomplished equestrian, was gutted to miss it, and worse because she never even knew it was on. Regards BBC4, it is rubbish now. All the good new documentaries and science / history programs which used to be on it are seldom made anymore; it is mostly repeats of things 1 or 2 or 4 have already shown. The corporation seems to have ceded this ground to Sky Arts; only those documentaries tend to be bought in or too slim. As for BBC3, well, they cancelled it, they brought it back, they still show fairly dire 'youth' orientated comedies on it and little else. The BBC has got to sort itself out. If it wants to do streaming, fine, do it and get advertisers in to support it, but don't trail programs on 1/2/3/4. Also decide which channel is going to show sports and use it appropriately. And why are 3 and 4 still only showing stuff from 7pm when they could repeat oodles of old classics [sport, documentaries, dramas, etc] during the day. Rant over. Back to my Dr Who reviews...
I was talking about this with my hubby today. We enjoyed series 1 but bailed after a couple of episodes of series 2.
Do you think we could go straight to S3 without finishing 2?
Brilliant. Actually watched episode 1 tonight and enjoyed it. 🤙
I learned my lesson the hard way with starting a series that never got to a second one. I think it was Alcatraz with Sam Neil. It was definitely set up for a second series which never came. I was fuming.
WHITECHAPEL (2009-2013) 4 Seasons.
Newly installed Detective Inspector Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones) has a hard time getting his team onside as they tackle a Jack The Ripper copycat killer in modern day Whitechapel, London. Phil Davis and Steve Pemberton put in good performances and the rest of the team become interesting characters.
Season 2 involves copycat twins recreating the Kray gangsters and seasons 3 and 4 moved into British style X-Files territory albeit remaining very watchable. I would have liked to have seen more but in their wisdom ITV decided to not renew the series leaving the events of the final story in Season 4 unresolved.
Streamed on BritBox - very enjoyable.
I used to love Whitechapel. It was one of my favourite programmes at the time. Might be worth a rewatch.
@Lady Rose It’s certainly worth a rewatch, I had seen the first two seasons before but not the last two, which were impressive. Steve Pemberton writes one of the stories and you can clearly see a likeness to future series Inside No. 9 that he co-writes with Reece Shearsmith.
Re the rant by @chrisno1 about the BBC, there is an argument that as with all such public-funded institutions - see formerly British Rail and currently the NHS - the plan by the Conservative Party is to deny it funds and run it into the ground so folk will say, this is rubbish, we're getting conned! Hence the mood improves to abolish it altogether. BBC4 is in line for cancelling - not sure when but it's slated - and it tends to show rubbish repeats of Top of the Pops from a pre-Britpop year with zero nostalgic value. But this is likely deliberate - the current director general is a Tory stooge and there to advance Tory plans. The claim has precedent of a kind - BBC DJ Paul Gambaccuni claimed that Matthew Bannister was brought in to wreck Radio 1 by dumping its uncool but generally still popular DJs and replace them with trendier models - all very well but ratings plummeted. It's claimed this was done to stop other radio stations complaining about unfair competition from the BBC due to its licence fee, therefore make the whole thing more competitive by undermining the BBC's radio output, problem solved.
Wasn't there some talk of closing the BBC World Service because the powers-that-be didn't believe people listened to the radio anymore - completely forgetting that many people listen to the World Service through the Beeb's own online Sounds Service. If the World Service became amalgamated with BBC Sounds it would soon deteriorate in the same manner BBC4 and BBC3 have done, a watered down, lowest common denominator type service instead of the insightful version we currently have. An attempt to compete instead of inform.
I'm very sceptical of anything written in the Daily Express, but it does strike me as similarly astounding the execs may have funded to the the tune of £7m the search for and creation of eight new BBC logos which, frankly, look like illustrations by children drawing straight lines with fat nosed crayons.
Yes, but wearing my 'smart Alec' hat, I have to say that's an example of 'elite socialism' which is everyday apparent. Lots of money in the public purse, put it about... If you're not at the top table, your loss. Other examples - Lady Mohne getting her hooks into the PPE farrago; a million or so for a rehash of a No 10 publicity room - used precisely twice I think - not to mention the £30bn Track and Trace stuff - you can bring it close to home with the number of aborted scripts for recent Bond films - Paul Haggis for QoS, Danny Boyle and chum for NTTD - no probs, we don't like your idea but here's some dosh, just spread it around!
No harm in it, just a sense of other folk feeling a bit conned and left out the loop.
That's TV - channel 65 in the UK - began to re-run classic 70s sitcom Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads this week. It's written by Never Say Never Again's Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais who - I'm very pleased to say - are both still alive.
This week the late Margaret Nolan popped up in one episode as an old flame - that's Dink off Goldfinger. Looking a bit taller and more knowingly sexual this time, then again it's 10 years on of course.
It's a great comedy. Til Death Us Do Part is also shown but it hasn't aged as well for some reason. It's odd to have the channel bleep out the offensive words as it's almost the whole point of it, not to approve of it but it is what it is. Oddly, in Likely Lads they showed a really quite risque strip club routine in the opening episode, no cuts, but bleeped a mild swear word later on. Anyway, I the series is a bit depressing when shown night after night, esp the killer line from the downbeat theme song 'the only thing to look forward to... the past.'
New seasons of FATHER BROWN and DEATH IN PARADISE on BBCiPlayer - wonderful !!!
STONEHOUSE was good as well. The true story of the Labour MP who faked his own death in Miami and fled to Australia to be with his sexy secretary. Kevin R McNally as prime minister Harold Wilson is marvellous - his first movie credit was a bit part in TSWLM.
Kevin McNally is marvellous as Tony Hancock in The Lost Hancocks on BBC Radio 😀
Early Doors on iPlayer . https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/m001gzqs/early-doors
Early Doors is also on BBC4, Saturday night, I think.
I have been watching Marie Antoinette. Interesting. Lavish. The first episode was quite harrowing. I feel for the poor girl.
I must chase these up, I was listening to a bunch of original Hancock’s Half Hour a few months ago, a comic genius, aided and abetted by the fabulous Sid James.
I recommend them for any Hancock fan…McNally is spot on as Hancock, gets the tone, weariness, manic joy and timing perfect 🍸
Both series are being re-shown of Early Doors on BBC4 - this really is an outstanding show, a bonafide modern day classic 🍸