Yes - what is easy to omit is that this is a very quirky conspiracy thriller, for me one of the oddest things I've ever seen on telly. Peck's performance really underpins it while his rapport with his daughter played by Joanne Whalley - she's dropped off the radar [Edit: No she hasn't, on imdb she's done loads of recent things!] - is quite moving. The last episodes move into Bond territory - especially with the grim tone of recent films - but it stays really quite surreal at times; objectively it's not credible but it's just so odd you go with it.
'Listen to me! Listen to me!
'Next Saturday BBC2 is showing an afternoon double bill of Harry Palmer films The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin.
'This is to mark Sir Michael Caine's upcoming 90th birthday. Message ends.'
Back in the day, this would have been one to set the video for, to get two films without ad breaks on one cassette tape!
Absolutely, 100% - it’s a comedy masterpiece 🍸
Even the stage show was brilliant 👏🏻🙌🏻
I didn’t see the stage show - did it have the same cast?
BBC2's We Need To Talk About Cosby - I think it's called that - is an excellent first part of a documentary looking at the Bill Cosby revelations thought it's an odd one because his conviction has been overturned but you've got a lot of women naturally testifying against him on camera - isn't that actionable now? How does that work?
It's very well done and worth a watch because it's not just about Cosby but the sexual mores of the era, very neatly and slickly packaged and presented, a real history lesson, one in which I have to say our man Bond makes a couple of appearances (two clips from Goldfinger, you can guess them) that put him in a bad light.
UK viewers can catch it on iPlayer I daresay.
I shall definitely be watching these NP, for the umpteenth time I might add!
I always rated Ipcress best, but in my older years I tend to reach first for Billion Dollar Brain. I absolutely love Richard Rodney Bennet’s s score!
Whenever you hear @Napoleon Plural say "Now listen to me" you shall obey. 🙂
Unfortunately not all of them were available…but many were 👍🏻
Some time a go I recorded the Proms John Williams Concert. Watched it today, at last. Williams himself wasn't conducting, it was some American I have never heard of. Some good choices of music. Very impressed with the suite from Memoirs of a Geisha. Some of it was a bit dull and the choices seemed to reflect a need to be inclusive rather than simply going for a greatest or bestest hits, which meant certain unfamiliar tracks didn't quite work for this viewer. I could also have done with less of Katie Durham gabbling away in between performances which took up a quarter of the two hour runtime. In most Prom Concerts you just get a program, sit and listen, why did this have to be any different?
BBC4 in the UK is repeating THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII - probably on the iPlayer as well. Powerful stuff. Each episode concentrates on one of the Queens. The stories veer to the individual and personal during marriage, so there isn't any background information and contextual characters come and go with little explanation. A basic knowledge of Tudor history, or a Google search quick to hand, helps clarification. Or you can just sit back and watch some marvellous performances. I like the way the production doesn't go overboard, it is very spare, almost resembling an Elizabethan stage play. Some of the head-to-heads are quite brilliant and the scripting on point, erring just the right side of archaic. Excellent.
THE PACT (2021-2022) 2 Seasons
Season One concerns the workers in a Welsh brewery who play a prank on the loathsome boss’s son but who ends up dead. The group declare a pact to hide their involvement but with one off the women being married to a detective on the case, this isn’t going to be easy. This is a pretty decent thriller with some well known faces.
Season Two is a new story involving a social worker’s family who are grieving the loss of a drug addict sibling. When a stranger turns up who looks exactly like the deceased sibling and claims to be part of the family things get hostile and the family form a pact when one of the siblings accidentally kills him at a wedding. The mother and eldest son are extremely unlikable and because of this it is difficult to garner any sympathy for their plight. The big reveal at the end is unexpected but ultimately ridiculous.
GOODNIGHT SWEETHEART (1993-1999) 6 Seasons
Im rewatching this brilliant comedy series on BritBox. A TV repairman accidentally finds a time portal which transports him into WW2 London where he begins an affair with a barmaid. Juggling his present day life with his newfound double life in the past provides plenty of comic situations. His printer friend supplies him with paperwork and alibis as he negotiates life in two eras. Nicholas Lyndhurst is excellent as Gary Sparrow the accidental time traveller, and Christopher Ettridge is hilarious as the gormless policeman. The series suffered from two major cast changes in Season 4 as both female leads were replaced, it still works well but not quite as good because Gary’s present day wife becomes the more physically attractive of the two women, reversing the trend of the first three seasons. Gary starts his wartime life as a songwriter, using later famous songs and passing them off to be his own, before coming involved in the wartime effort. Along the way he meets several historical figures including Churchill, Atlee, Noel Coward and George Formby.
One of the best sitcoms ever made.
As I write, I am watching something on Sky Arts called The Art of the Album Cover. It's rubbish. I am an hour in and we are already into the 1980s.What happened to the fifties, sixties, seventies - the interviews are so random, the artists equally so, hardly a decent cover featured, often the art directors are talking about videos and posters. One of those Sky docs that frankly tells you something and nothing. Mostly nothing.
Yet another Great Expectations adaptation aired on the BBC tonight. However - this one is brilliant. I understand it's by the Peaky Blinder guy so it's a bit more hard-hitting and violent, it grabs you from the beginning - mind you, so did the David Lean one back in its day - yet more unexpected is the terrific cinematography where - being set at Christmas in its opening episode - much of it is startlingly like a old-school Christmas card, it is really quite eerie and affecting.
The Who's Roger Daltrey has been itching to do a bio of Keith Moon - the actor who plays young Pip might be in with a shout if he's still up for it.
UK viewers might wish to be aware that the excellent 50s comedy School For Scoundrels is on BBC4 around 9pm Thursday (20th April) night. They usually serve up a newly minted print.
Some of the one-upmanship techniques were surely employed by Fraulein Maria in The Sound of Music, if you read my review on another thread.
I also recommend Simon Schama's History of Britain episode 'The Two Winstons' which compares the careers of Eric Blair aka writer George Orwell and Winston Churchill in parallel and in relation to the rise of Hitler, shown last night and probably on iPlayer.
School for Scoundrels is fabulous…a good, strong cast lead by the great Alastair Sim - who is always highly watchable 👏🏻
I am catching re-runs of Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads on channel 65 - it seems BBC4 only served up two episodes albeit in hi-def. These comedies are written by Ian Le Frenais and Dick Clement who also penned the classic sitcom Porridge, and also Auf Wiedersehn Pet in the next decade. Bond fans know they script doctored Connery's Never Say Never Again but here's the problem - they tend to do comedy for life's losers and underdogs - Terry Collier and Fletch. It may explain why Connery seems so put upon in that film, they're not used to writing for life's winners. They also did movies that were a bit whimsical, like Water - you get the sense they're not meant to be two hours long, or rather they're not used to writing that kind of length.
BILLY THE KID (2022)
An excellent series about the western legend Billy The Kid. It’s been renewed for a second season and season one traces the story of the Kid from a young age up to the beginning of the Lincoln County Wars. A lot of care has been taken to make the series look authentic and the shootouts are particularly well done. English actor Tom Blyth plays Billy and Australian actor Daniel Webber plays his friend Jesse Evans and English actor Alex Roe plays Pat Garrett who would become a major part in Billy’s short life. A lot of non-American actors are in American productions nowadays, I wonder why that is?
Well worth watching if you can find it on a channel near you. It’s on Epix in the USA and on Paramount+ elsewhere, apparently.
PENNYWORTH Season 3 (2022)
The origin of Batman’s butler Alfred Pennyworth continues into a third season. Alfred’s security firm is going strong and has links with the PM and MI5. There are multi-layers of plots but it’s all handled very well and well acted. The action comes thick and fast and the leading characters keep you interested in their fates. Special mention to Ryan Fletcher as Daveboy and Jack Bannon as Alfred. The more I see of Bannon and the more I think he would be a good James Bond. He has charisma and handles the action and romantic scenes with aplomb. Unfortunately the series has been cancelled but it does leave him open to be 007…but it seems no one has noticed him…more’s the pity.
VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (1964-1968)
I’ve added this to my viewing list, so at 110 episodes at about 2 episodes a week I should finish it in a year 😁
I remember the series from my childhood but not with much recollection, so am looking forward to this. Whatever critics say about producer Irwin Allen at least he had the energy to get things done and put onscreen some spectacular sets and imaginative scenarios.
The first episode is very good, concerning a potential catastrophic polar earthquake and some of the sets are reminiscent to DN. Episode 2 has a Blofeld like megalomaniac set on world domination, it even has a scene where he discusses the latest plan in a TB like set - all a year ahead of that actual movie.
Bond alumni David Hedison pairs with Richard Basehart as the leads. It’s good stuff, so far.
BONANZA (1959-1973) 14 Seasons
Another one added to my weekly viewing list and this one will take over 4 years to complete at my regular 2 episodes per week schedule. I have little recollection of this series when I used to watch a few episodes in the 60’s. Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene) runs the huge Ponderosa ranch with his three sons, each born by a different wife. Each son has a different characteristic; serious, affable, impetuous. The brothers fight a lot between themselves but are ultimately loyal to each other. The first episode concerns the hanging of a man who is latterly judged to be innocent. The series tends to lean towards social issues rather than the usual shoot up adventures of the western series of the time. The mood is serious, interspersed with comedic scenes of the family arguing with each other. Whether I last the whole run remains to be seen.
CREEPSHOW (2019 - )
There are 3 seasons so far with more to come. This series is in the same vein as the two CREEPSHOW movies from the 80’s. Two stories lifted from a comicbook called Creepshow are told in each episode beginning with pictures of the comic and morphing into real-life action. Most of the stories are excellent and the production is high quality.
I watched the US version of Ghosts on BBC1 tonight. I never got one with the original homegrown one - give me 70s comedy Rentaghost any day - but this one worked for me, even if moving it to America makes the Beetlejuice theme more obvious. Not quite sure how an American haunted house totally works, they don't go back that far do they, I mean how come a Viking warrior is there? How would he get to visit a mansion - he would have preceded it, obviously. All the same, I liked it.
That's a good point. I think the Americans fall back on the house having been built on a Native American burial ground, for one example. I know that was one of the explanations for the paranormal happenings in the house in the rather haphazard film The Amityville Horror (1979).
77 SUNSET STRIP (1958) Season 1
Continuing my look back at vintage TV series I’m watching this excellent film noir-ish series starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Roger Smith working as private eyes from offices on the famous Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. In the programme the offices are located next door to the real life Dino’s Lodge, a real lounge bar owned by Dean Martin. Edward Byrnes stars as Kookie who begins as a car valet with private eye aspirations. He was the breakout character of the series with his penchant for endlessly combing his hair and “hip” language. They take on cases of missing persons and insurance fraud and the like. It’s all done stylishly and the stories are good.
It went on for 6 seasons and if it continues the way it’s going then I will see it through.
I’ve accidental added this picture below and can’t remove it so don’t take any notice of it…
I think Kingsley Amis mentions that show in passing in an early chapter of The James Bond Dossier (1965) but sadly I've never seen any of it.
On Saturday's Talking pictures will be reshowing FIREBALL XL5, which for those of a certain age will bring back misty-eyed memories of Steve Zodiac and Dr Venus and puppets on strings.
Just bumping this review. I’ve now finished the 3 seasons and I really cannot recommend this series high enough. It is simply stunning. Those who have smart tv’s or an Amazon Firestick can download the SHUDDER app and get a 7 day free trial so you can binge-watch the series free of charge. One episode morphs present day actors into the classic horror movie Horror Express and they interact with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and other cast members - it’s so well done it has to be seen to be believed. Recommended to all portmanteau horror fans and Stephen King fans (who has an input in some segments) and fans of EC horror comics.
The fourth season debuts later this year - I cannot wait!
In the UK version it's the grounds they roam about on, not just the house, so the Viking would have been there before the house.
Van Der Valk is back on ITV1 tonight 😃😃😃 don't worry @Number24 I won't be reviewing all series of VDW - yet....
It takes time. I understand ....