The classic 70s sitcom It Aint Half Hot Mum is showing late evenings on That's TV aka channel 65. This is a hot potato as it's said to be one of those hit comedies that is very unPC or even racist so it can't be shown on the BBC, unlike others by the same writers, such as the omniscient Dad's Army, also Hi-di-Hi and so on.
The thing is, two episodes in and It Aint Half Hot Mum is brilliant. I can't see how it is racist so far. I mean, you have some guy black up as a native but it doesn't seem racist to me because a) It's convincing b) The actor came from the area in question so has the accent down pat and c) It's comedy genius. I enjoy the hierarchy between the characters, the way some get bullied only to turn their fire on others they can bully in turn. However, the mainstay is Windsor Davies as the company sergeant who takes a dim view of the entertainment troupe is he meant to oversee. Again, it's his bullying conduct that I find hilarious. He was written as a cockney and you could imagine Warren Mitchell doing a version of Alf Garnett in the role - in fact some expressions of barely contained outrage by Davies do put me in mind of Garnett trying to hold himself back from attacking his prospective left-wing son in law while in an argument. But Davies is Welsh and does it brilliantly.
That's TV tend to show these things nightly until they run out of gas so it will be on again tonight at about 9.30pm.
Of course there isn't anything good on TV - it's summer! Silly question ..... 🥱
If you don't like sport you're screwed. It seems to be on every channel at the minute.
I don't like sports at all ....
No, nor do I.
ITV are showing their online hit A SPY AMONG FRIENDS. It's rather good in a Le Carre 'let's sit down and talk the arse of everyone' way.
well I saw something good on telly over the weekend:
Joni Mitchell being awarded the Gershwin prize and for the event an all star lineup of musicians performing her songs, including Annie Lenox Cyndi Lauper, Diana Krall, James Taylor, Graham Nash, Herbie Hancock and many others. Mitchell is 79 and survived a brain aneurism, and required two caregivers to escort her onstage where she performed an epic rendition of Summertime, outsinging several of the younger singers who'd tried to perform her toons. a fine tribute to a lifes work now honored at the highest levels of official culture, and a good ninety minutes of entertainment
I gotta say Neil Young was conspicuous in his absence, they were friends since the early days and he's still active. maybe he's too much of an anarchist for such an event?
A miracle is happing! I'm watching a great TV program in the summer. It's the first episode of "Michael Palin into Iraq" and it is what it says on the tin. Palin is extraordinary as always. I feel like I did back in the 80' when "North & south" was shown one year in the middle of the summer. I seriously thought "the TV channel must've made a mistake - they never show anything exciting in the summer!"
We got it last year
Business negotiator Idris Elba has to use all his skills in negotiating a hijack situation on a flight from Dubai to London, Heathrow. This 7-episode mini-series is tense and exciting with good support from Neil Maskell as the terrorist in charge and Max Beesley as a detective on the ground. Plot intricacies are woven in with good effect and it is nothing less than excellent entertainment. There are a lot of well known faces that crop up as guest stars in other series that most will know facially but not by name.
We watched this over three evenings which is unusual because we would normally watch one episode per night, which shows how good it is.
I'll also recommend Hijack. Best thing I've seen in ages.
Probably been mentioned before, but I only just got around to watching my recorded copies of the 2022 repeat of this:
OUR FRIENDS IN THE NORTH (1996)
For maximum impact, I watched this rerun, over two nights. Epic stints of 7½ and 3½ hours made me feel as if I had absorbed it in one swoop, rather like the German movie Heimat, originally a fifteen hour television series that was sliced down to nine hours for cinema consumption.
Since its original debut in 1996, this BBC production has taken on an almost legendary status as one of the channel’s and one of British telly’s best ever serials. Nine episodes of highly intense drama set among the working class of Newcastle, explaining how four friends, their families and associates live, work, learn, develop and die among the political and societal changes of Britain c.1965 – 1996. That’s thirty-one years of near tear-stained misery and an awful lot of anger. This show was the talk of the pubs and the work place when I was in my mid-twenties. Later youngsters had Game of Thrones to fantasise about; we got grit, grim disappointment and marital strife.
There is something wholly disheartening watching OFITN in 2023, as you realise – and not for the first time – that political cultures really do turn in cycles and what is happening now was happening in the sixties and the eighties: corruption, greed, societal unrest, political stalemate, a world where words mean nothing and actions result in horrendous mistakes, the misuse of power or the failure of people to protect those they love.
Peter Flannery’s hugely expansive and multi-layered script is based on his own three-hour play which sensibly stopped when Margaret Thatcher came to power. The additional action here has the narrative teetering on the edge of sentimentality and cliché, wrapping up the personalities’ familial roles and concentrating less on the damaging political and business landscapes. The bribery, skulduggery and left-leaning emphasis of the first sections are forsaken, rearing their head in less emphatic style. I suppose that matches the more audience friendly nature of those businesses. At one point Alun Armstrong’s building tycoon points at a television and states: “That’s the future, Nicky!” And as the story progresses we can see the old incentives of regular work, fair pay and a pension – the boon of Felix Hutchinson’s Jarrow Marchers – being worn away in favour of a lifestyle of ease and tragic disharmony. The enemy is as smooth, svelte and swift as a whippet and makes its bed inside your very own, seeping into the pores of the world, nominally via the interests of a controlled televisual media.
Well, enough about politics and all that, let’s talk talent. Christopher Eccleston’s Nicky is nowhere near as good as I remember him. The first incarnation, when he’s young and inspired, I enjoy his anger and energy. By half way, when he’s running with anarchists, he starts to look out-of-place and by the last, I couldn’t imagine what Gina McKee’s Mary saw in him. She is excellent, but doesn’t age. Mark Strong is phenomenal as Tosker Cox, bringing a believability to his struggles, first as a singer, then husband and father, lastly a burgeoning businessman. His failures and successes were identifiable; the others felt more of a writer’s convenience. His forays into slum tenancies, karaoke bars and the Masonic Lodge gathered interest while everything else was drying up. Daniel Craig is hot and cold as Geordie Peacock; never better than in the wilds of 1970s Soho, but less so when down on his luck. His anger, while entirely understandable given his character’s horrendous upbringing, is never explained sufficiently. He isn’t given a chance at redemption either, walking away from his friends, who all appear to be mending their bridges.
Excellent support comes from Peter Vaughn and Freda Dowie as Nicky’s mum and dad, David Bradley as the firebrand MP Eddie Wells, Alun Armstrong as Austin Donohue and Malcolm McDowell as porn king Benny Barrett. The whole serial is well-structured and excellently directed, but over-all, as a first time rewatch twenty-five years or so on, it didn’t sparkle as I expected.
It’s good and worth a look, but ultimately it’s a story about failure, for even if the central foursome are on their way to an emotionally better place – and that isn’t assured – the litany of disasters they leave behind or around them, either personally or by association, is entirely discouraging.
THE CHELSEA DETECTIVE (2022-2023) 2 Seasons
Filmed on location within Chelsea and Fulham area this is a very nice detective series aired by Acorn TV. Middle-aged detective Max Arnold solves crimes within the area with the help of his team. His recently deceased father ran an antiquarian bookshop (the exact opposite of mine 😆) and he is in the throes of a divorce with his wife that he still obviously loves. It’s great to see locations that I know so well and the stories are all solid and interesting with a good back up cast to Adrian Scarborough’s lead detective who cycles everywhere and lives on a houseboat. Well worth watching and I hope a third season gets the green light.
THE RECKONING (2023)
Steve Coogan does a masterful job in recreating sex offender, British disc jockey and television personality Jimmy Savile. He has his looks, voice and mannerisms absolutely perfect, it’s a stunning performance worthy of a BAFTA. But the four-part drama about the “national treasure” tells us nothing that we didn’t know. It should have shown how BBC executives covered up for the monster. Instead, we get a few people talking about “rumours” and nothing to substantiate them. Savile ingratiated himself into the government and royalty (no blame there, to be honest), as he took everyone in. Most of the nation, including me, thought he was a lovable eccentric who did sterling work raising millions for charity. He came across as odd, certainly, sometimes as a ‘dirty old man’ in the Steptoe mould, but only those who he abused really knew the truth.
The Reckoning ends with Savile’s death, completely ignoring any reckoning whatsoever. For the BBC, for the police who covered for him, for the hospital officials and numerous others who have got off scot-free.
Not an easy watch, but this is as good as any “true-life” drama ever made.
Anybody looking for a gritty Crime drama should check out Crime ITV starring Dougray Scott & Ken Stott , second season is out now . Created by Irvine Welsh & Dean Cavanagh some of the dialogue will have you in stitches very funny . Dougray is on top form running the gamut of emotions just watching him clench his fists trying to keep calm brilliant .
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER on Netflix is quite good. If you're a fan of the prior Mike Flanagan Netflix shows, you'll probably like this. I'd put this in roughly the same league as MIDNIGHT MASS or THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE.
THE WALKING DEAD (2010-2022) 11 Seasons 177 Episodes.
I finally completed the final episode last night having watched the first one way back in March.
A worldwide zombie apocalypse sees a disparate group of people join together to fight the ensuing hordes of “walkers” whilst also fending off other groups of survivors who attack them. Throughout the series main cast members are killed at various points which makes the programme tense as you don’t know who may well be next.
The special effects are gruesomely brilliant and the storyline follows the comic book that it’s based upon fairly accurately, but at the same time adding to it ingeniously. The acting is never less than very good and at times it is spectacularly excellent, on a par with anything that has been produced in the annals of television history.
Actors of note include Andrew Lincoln (deputy sheriff), Jeffrey DeMunn (elderly voice of reason), Norman Reedus (backwoods hunter), Melissa McBride (abused housewife who turns into a skilled fighter), Danai Gurira (katana expert), Scott Wilson (veterinarian and homesteader), David Morrisey (leader of a rival group), Josh McDermitt (intellect), Seth Gilliam (priest), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (sociopathic leader of a rival group - a stunning performance), Khary Payton (former zookeeper) and Cooper Andrews (the zookeepers bodyguard who becomes an integral character). There are many more I could mention but over the series it was a huge ever changing cast as the main characters were killed off and new characters took their place. What was amazing was that as the new cast members were introduced they instantly became like old friends and you were caught up in their plight.
Norman Reedus deserves a special mention - he debuted in season 2 as a minor character, as the brother of another character from season 1, he was only supposed to be in it for a handful of episodes but his performances were so good that the producers kept him in. He began season 2 earning 9k USD per episode and ended up leading the cast earning 350k USD per episode!
There is a whole Walking Dead universe now with several spin-offs, I will be trying these out after a break from watching zombies being slaughtered.
Definitely in my top ten favourite TV series of all-time.
After a heavy day on Friday it was a pleasure to flick through the TV guide and find The Persuaders had just begin, with a kind of pre-credits so I got to hear John Barry's marvellous theme song which really does kickstart every episode, without it I don't think it would work so well, mind you you could say the same of The Avengers' theme.
This episode - S1 Ep 3 'Greensleeves' - was a prototype Bond movie. It had Roger Moore's Brett Sinclair heading back to his family pile which had been mothballed while he was a way, tended to only by the only retainer (whom I think I recognised as the old gent in Grace Brothers' Department Store in 1970s sitcom Are You Being Served?) Anyway, so far so Skyfall.
Turns out Sinclair's country house has been usurped for some nefarious types for nefarious ends and Sinclair is determined to find out what for, which means infiltrating the place with Tony Curtis as his downtrodden butler - very A View to a Kill, and there's even a Jenny Flex character there too. Two black actors appear, the man plays the head of an African State about to be turned over by the infiltrators, both are treated very well for the time even if there's a touch of Philip and his girlfriend from Rising Damp, the head is an old school chum of Sinclair's. Ironically what I find disappointing is the way Curtis is made the butt of the joke too often, it seems a bit patronising.
Anyway, Sinclair uses his inside knowledge and secret tunnels of his old mansion to run rings around the villains, as in Skyfall.
After this we had Return of the Saint, so good I watched to the end, not least because - and after a few drinks earlier in the day you can see how confusing this was - it starred none other than Persuaders and Diamonds are Forever star Laurence Naismith as a vengeful father whose daughter has taken an OD of drugs. Starring opposite not Moore's Saint but Ogilviy's, it's like a pleasing alternative universe where TV just had seemingly a handful of actors to choose from, an impression enhanced by having a bowler hatted drug pusher in Barbican played by a peroxide Christopher Timothy, star of All Creatures Great and Small.
Good stuff even if Ogilvy did look a bit too pleased with himself. Jenny Hanley as the female lead, was she in the Likely Lads? I've seen her somewhere, will have to check. Another great theme tune too.
You were lucky @Napoleon Plural to catch two decent episodes of those shows in the same night !
Guess you're right. I also caught two episodes of Scrublands, an eerie Australian-set thriller. It's one of those thrillers that is both compelling and somewhat preposterous. It starts with a priest in a small deserted town going postal with a machine gun and randomly going on a shooting spree. One year on, as somewhat washed up but handsome journalist is despatched to do a puff piece on the town as an kind of update but starts to find there may be more to the story than meets the eye, or has been reported.
It's good stuff, part old in flashback - what makes it preposterous is that the journalist - who looks like a cross between a young Russell Crowe and Michael Hutchence, so no bad thing - seems like a rubbish journalist, just asking point blank questions of the locals, not even attempting the usual tricks of lulling someone into conversation in a natural way - and being surprised he gets the bum's rush a lot of the time. Still, I will watch the final two episodes next Saturday night.
I watched this show from Day 1….thought it excellent, then for the final season they switched channels in the UK, and I don’t subscribe to that channel so haven’t seen it…🙄😡
I’m halfway through the ITV show The Long Shadow…a program looking at the Yorkshire Ripper…well, it’s all to do with how the police (mis)handled the case and the women that were attacked and murdered. This drama at least tries to treat the women with sympathy - which is FAR more than the police do…although I’m glad the writers don’t try and cover this up.
It’s very difficult to say I’m enjoying it, because that would be wrong in light of what happens…but I appreciate the writing & acting and getting a sense of what happened.
BLUE EYE SAMURAI (Netflix)
This animated series follows a Japanese/Anglo warrior in feudal Japan during the Edo period when all Anglos have been kicked out of the country. This warrior is seeking vengeance against 4 Anglo men who have remained in Japan illegally, one of whom may be the warrior's father.
This is fantastic, one of the very best things I've ever watched on Netflix. Even if animation isn't your thing, consider giving this a try...the animation, the characters, the storytelling, the voice acting, the action...all of it is absolutely amazing. The level of talent and skill involved in bringing this to life cannot be overstated.
10/10. Bring on season 2 immediately, please.
A revamp of Murder is Easy but it's rubbish. Twitter or X is up in arms because they've made the lead a black guy from Nigeria I think, about to work in Whitehall, and on top of the likes of Call the Midwife and the new Doctor Who, this seems to trigger some folk and trigger those who get triggered by such folk but the first half really wasn't any good, and none of it convinced. It was almost a comedy but no jokes. Made Midsomer Murders look like The Wire. Tonight I watched the (TV comic) Bob Monkhouse evening instead - 20 years since he died.
The 2023 Christmas Specials of Death In Paradise and Beyond Paradise. Two perfect examples of the “cosy mystery” genre. I’m looking forward to the new series of both in the new year.
I see THE TOURIST is back for a second series. As mind numbingly convoluted and bizarre as the last one.
S3 of SLOW HORSES wrapped up the other day and we binged it over the last few days. Just fantastic. Indeed, S3 may have been the best season yet.
The good news is that S4 is already in the can and S5 just got greenlit.
Mr Bates v the Post Office - I only watched snippets, it's a bit upsetting as it's comparable to the way the public are often treated nowadays. If you wrong them, double down and brazen it out, no accountability.
Here's a petition to get the Post Office then head Paul Venells to give her CBE back. Sign if you're interested...
Post Office Scandal: Strip Paula Vennells of her CBE | 38 Degrees
I'd agree that series 3 was the best season of Slow Horses thus far. I think they've got better with each series, which mirrors the way that I felt about the books - they got better and better and then peaked with 'Spook Street', which is the novel that will be the basis for series 4 of the Apple show. I think a re-read of Spook Street is in order before the next series comes out. I'd like to go into the next series with the book fresh in my mind so that I can play a bit of 'spot the difference'.
I'm watching the documentary "America and the holocaust". One of the producers is Ken Burns and the quality is as high as one might expect. Thought provoking, intelligent and moving.