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J. R. Turner "Jenny" (Wales)

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Jonathan Creek - The Clue of the Savant's Thumb [DVD]
Jonathan Creek - The Clue of the Savant's Thumb [DVD]
Dvd ~ Alan Davies
Price: £5.00

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Verity Lambert... sorely missed..., 12 April 2013
I'm a long-time Jonathan Creek fan, it's my all-time favourite programme and I really wanted to love this latest offering. I didn't. I didn't even like it. The mystery and mystique have all but disappeared from the series. The last 'acceptable' episode was 'The Judas Tree' and even that showed signs of a downward spiral.

What possessed the producers to make Jonathan married to a woman like that? Move him out of his windmill? Take away any reference to magicians and smoke and mirrors? Insane!

I know it's too much to ask to get Caroline Quentin back in a reprised role as Maddie, I'm fond of Sheridan Smith. Julia Sawalha/Ade Edmonson are an annoying combination. Even the undoubted talents of Sheridan Smith couldn't pull this storyline together. It goes without saying that Alan Davies is a genuis and the only one for the JC role but with the best will in the world, what was he supposed to do with THIS?

The story was so odd, implausible and quite pointless. I just don't understand what's happened and am so disappointed. Surely the whole concept can't have hinged on Verity Lambert?

I understand that three more episodes have been commissioned. I hope to goodness they are better than this. The winning formula worked... why meddle with it? Please, producers, if you have any thought for your viewers, re-watch Series 1-4 and see if you can recreate the magic that's still there...

Regrettably, I won't be buying 'The Savant's Thumb', I don't want to watch it again.

Vexed - Complete BBC Series One [DVD]
Vexed - Complete BBC Series One [DVD]
Dvd ~ Toby Stephens
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £7.63

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VEXED beyond limits...!!!, 4 Jun 2012
I absolutely adored this show when it was on; I can't believe that it was 'axed' after three episodes due to the production company folding. Vexed wasn't the word for it - I fumed, cried and railed at the unfairness of the programme's untimely demise.

Toby Stephens and Lucy Punch are the quintessential 'dream team', working together to solve crimes with the most unbelievable luck and masses of friction. There are side stories to keep the view entertained, such as Kate's failing marriage, in which she spars with her chauvenistic and dismissive husband (brilliantly played by Rory Kinnear) to ridiculous - and humourous - end.

'Vexed' has everything a great show should have; wit, humour, darkness and a tremendous plot delivered at a cracking pace. I'm so sorry that Lucy Punch won't be in the latest production (now picked up by another company), I believe it's Miranda Raison. She may be excellent as the female sidekick, but that remains to be seen. I personally don't think Lucy Punch can be bettered. The casting for series one was truly genius, the roles totally believable and the results seemingly effortless.

I'm so thrilled that this fantastic show has been picked up again; there's nothing like it on tv now nor has there been since. No wonder I watch so many dvds...

Hooray!!! I've placed my order for the compete series one right now. I hope series two doesn't disappoint - and is screened very soon. I'll be waiting...
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 13, 2012 7:21 PM BST

Jemima Shore Investigates - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983]
Jemima Shore Investigates - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983]
Dvd ~ Patricia Hodge
Price: £12.30

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nostaligic visit to the Eighties, 24 Oct 2011
I've seen the low starred reviews for this dvd set but don't agree. The Eighties were a different time and it's a bit silly to make pointed references to violence against women in a story on this dvd when this has been endemic in every time period throughout history. The 'Splash of Red' wasn't my favourite story but I really enjoyed each of the self-contained mysteries and think that Patricia Hodge is perfectly cast as the aloof, dismissive private detective who seems to be running some kind of ad-agency at the same time. I very much enjoyed the series and would recommend it.

The 1900 House [DVD] [1999]
The 1900 House [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Barbara Flynn
Offered by games
Price: £22.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Victorian Era in bite-sized pieces, 22 April 2009
This review is from: The 1900 House [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
I have rated this production with a '3 star' rating; this is for the excellent work and historical information that is evident here. Were I to rate the family and their participation, they would be getting a '1 star'. Personally, I think the production has suffered greatly from having such an inappropriate, whiney and downright boring family and, whilst I love Victoriana in general, I don't watch this often because the family spoils it for me.

The house is just beautiful - the reproduction of items like the range is sheer genius, and the decoration and inclusion of antiques is marvellous, exactly typical of the era and you can appreciate the work that went into sourcing exactly what was required.

Each sourced item was explained within the context of its use in Victorian life and the historical information given to the viewer is incredibly interesting with excerpts from books and newspaper articles of the day and explanations provided as to why life was the way it was back then.

I disliked the mother intensely, all she did was cry and complain throughout the programme. It made for very uncomfortable viewing.

I can't leave this review without detailing some good points about the rest of the family - so here we go - the little boy was cute and the other children didn't speak much. In addition, the father was 'out at work' mostly.

Daru Rooke was excellent - he is a naturally gifted story-teller and with a wealth of knowledge at this fingertips - so much so that you could actually believe he was there in Victorian times...
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 29, 2014 8:48 PM BST

1940s House [DVD]
1940s House [DVD]
Offered by games
Price: £22.99

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wartime History of the 1940s brought to life, 22 April 2009
This review is from: 1940s House [DVD] (DVD)
I absolutely love this Channel 4 production and I watch the dvd quite often. There is something quite fascinating about survival through the war years and what made the 1940s arguably Britain's finest era.

Our men went off to war, women stayed at home and did 'war work' outside the home if they were able. Every person did their bit and what's more - was expected to do so. This production is a fast-moving yet comprehensive snapshot of what it must have been like on the 'Home Front', with interesting archives and news footage on all other aspects of war time.

The family were certainly well-selected, comprising of an older Mother and Father, with their single daughter in her mid-twenties with her two young boys. The Father, who was the most keen to undertake the project, was not a fundamental part of the filming as he 'went off to work' as wartime husbands did - whilst the REAL work was done at home by the Mother and her daughter, who had to learn how to work together to make the home run smoothly, without the labour-saving devices available nowadays and no 'takeaways' available.

An excellent inclusion is the visit to the ladies by Marguerite Patten, an advisor to the Ministry of Food during the war, who calls at the house for afternoon tea... a series of culinary delights.

I loved the authenticity of the air raid sirens, the sleepless nights in the air raid shelter, the drudgery and the need for the ladies' 'red badge of courage (lipstick)' to get them through the days. The boys' performance is magical, of their childlike acceptance without full understanding of what was happening, but a willingness to participate regardless.

You can't watch this programme without stopping to think what life must have been like for the family - and for the real wartime familities who also had to combat real loneliness and the never-ending waiting for news of loved ones. No programme could adequately convey how awful this must have been but this production gives, in my view, an excellent perspective and real sense of history of how things were, in addition to an unavoidable realisation of the sacrifices that were made by the men, women and children of Great Britain during those war years.

We Shall Not Forget.

Factory Girl [DVD]
Factory Girl [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sienna Miller
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.93

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Would Edie Sedgewick be pleased? I doubt it., 31 Dec 2008
This review is from: Factory Girl [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this film as I love watching films set in the 60s era, added to which Edie Sedgewick became something of a legend after her death and I was intrigued to see what was so special about this woman.

Despite a fantastic performance by Guy Pearce, who played the fickle and (in my opinion) largely talentless Andy Warhol, I was truly disappointed in the lack-lustre performances of the 'supporting cast' and, I am sorry to say, in Sienna Miller's portrayal of the leading lady. One of the cover recommendations is that, "Sienna Miller's performance cannot be bettered". I would wholeheartedly agree with that statement - I think the part was far too big for her and she failed to capture the complex character that Edie Sedgewick undoubtedly was. I think a good effort was made but the character was over-played and there seemed to be a complete lack of empathy in the acting with what Edie Sedgewick must have felt.

Perhaps it was in the writing, or the direction (or lack thereof), but the story seemed to rumble onwards to the inevitable conclusion of Edie's overdose without ever explaining how or why the events transpired in the way they did.

The supporting cast of the 'musician' and associated hangers on were entirely forgettable and didn't add to the storyline in any way.

I'm not surprised that the film 'flopped', a biopic should focus on the characters involved, not attempt to prop up a weak storyline with countless 'arty' diversions and unnecessary sex scenes between people who didn't matter to the plot.

The subject was poignant and would have made a good and thought-provoking story - a child abused by its father and the adverse impact of this... if the other characters had been developed to support the story, it might have worked.

As it was, without Guy Pearce, the film wouldn't merit even one star, in my view. Guy Pearce's portrayal of Andy Warhol was enigmatic and believable - I always thought that Andy Warhol was vapid, self-absorbed, sycophantic and lacking any kind of talent... except that of a Svengali-type manipulator - and Guy Pearce played the part to perfection.

Soldier Soldier : The Complete Series 1 - 7 (23 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
Soldier Soldier : The Complete Series 1 - 7 (23 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Soldier Soldier
Offered by 101Trading
Price: £48.99

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The closest you'll get to Army life without joining up...., 26 Feb 2008
This series made Robson and Jerome famous and sparked off a short but sweet pop career for both of them. However, Soldier Soldier is so much more than just Robson and Jerome - this is what I loved about the series:

1. There are a range of interesting characters across all levels of seniority in the Army and normal day to day problems are no respecters of rank and position, from the top brass to the lowliest Fusillier, everyone has their place and their job to do and it's not always easy to forget what's going on at home.

2. There are as many women in the series as men - not in the Army as such - save but a few highly determined individuals - but the wives and girlfriends themselves. These ladies bring the strength and humour to each of the episodes and I found myself laughing and crying with them through their celebrations, trials and tribuations.

3. I loved the early glimpses of actors and actresses who've developed their careers since - it's great to see Philip Glennister, Denise Welch, Danny Cunningham and Dougray Scott to name but a few.

4. The great storylines... I think this is the closest you can get to finding out what Army life is like - for th soldiers and their wives - the huge decisoins to make in terms of whether to take up postings in foreign climbs when you can't take the family with you; the temptations of the wives and girlfriends when your man is away for months at a time and for nearly everyone - struggling to find their own sense of identity amidst the feeling that the Army owns them, body and soul.

5. The truly touching point of the whole series for me was the camaraderie; the unbreakable bonds of friendship and the selfless acts of individuals for their friends, colleagues and family.

This is a great set to own if you are a fan of military dramas, Robson and Jerome or just despair of the quality of today's television programmes. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it very highly.

Ballet Shoes (BBC) [DVD]
Ballet Shoes (BBC) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Emma Watson
Price: £5.00

78 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An all-time classic story, modernised just a little...., 31 Dec 2007
This review is from: Ballet Shoes (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
I love the Ballet Shoes book written by Noel Streatfeild and read it at least once a year. I also have the original dvd based on the original book, which is a charming period drama if a little short.

So it was with bated breath and great expectation that I watched the newly adapted Ballet Shoes on Boxing Day...

I thought the story was fairly true to the book, with the exception of the confusing relationship between Garnie, Theo Dane and John Simpson. In the book, no such relationship was even hinted at as Mr Simpson was married and conducted himself far more as a family friend. Nana and Garnie were very well cast in my view, Richard Griffiths as Great Uncle Matthew was not and didn't seem comfortable in his two cameo appearances. The lodgers however, had far more interaction with the girls in the book than they do in this dramatisation, which was a great shame as much of the girls' characters, such as strengths and weaknesses and aspirations were explored more fully in their relationships with these 'extended family' members.

Some parts of this drama were too modern for me; Garnie never would have given way in front of the girls the way she (Emilia Fox) portrayed. The girls in the book were brought up well and did not need such obvious indicators to gauge that all was not well. The individual selfishness and tendency to tantrums evident in the book had consequences for the girls that taught them valuable life lessons yet this wasn't very clear in the dramatisation and therefore the girls appeared slightly 'brattish' at times, particularly Posy during the illness of Madame Fidolia.

I think the producers of this dramatisation frantically tried to pick up all the individual pieces of the book and tethered them together as best they could. Unfortunately, in doing so, much of the period magic has been lost along with a great deal of the detail, which would have explained better to the viewer the trials and tribulations experienced by the Fossil household and the necessity of working together as a family which pulled them through to win through in the end. I think that because this key point of the story really was missing, the plot took a direction which may have disappointed Ballet Shoes fans as the halfway point of the drama started picking up speed in a great rush towards the end and this haste came at a terrible cost.

Perhaps I would have rated this dramatisation with 'three stars' but I really couldn't do it. I know and love the story so much that I was able to fill in the many blanks and I've given this 'four stars' because the actors were charming, the story mostly true to the book and I enjoyed it in spite of its foibles.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2008 11:02 PM GMT

The Queen [DVD] [2006]
The Queen [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Helen Mirren
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.73

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superlative drama with a host of real Stars....., 27 Dec 2007
This review is from: The Queen [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I have rated this film with 4 stars; not because it isn't an excellent example of a great British film, but because it made uncomfortable viewing in parts, dealing as it does with the death of Princess Diana in 1997.

I agree with the comments made about Helen Mirren in the other reviews of this film. To add to them, I think she is certainly a national treasure and very versatile an actress. The actors playing Prince Phillip and Prince Charles are exactly as I would imagine their real counterparts to be. Prince Phillip demonstrates quite a compassionate side and great loyalty to the Queen, and it would be nice to think that this is how he conducts himself in reality. Sylvia Sims plays the Queen Mother and very ably too. The Queen Mother's role in the film appears to be to lend gravitas to the very real burden that our Queen, as the reigning Monarch, must experience on a day to day basis.

The behaviour of 'Tony Blair and Cherie' made me laugh out loud. I wonder how true to form it actually was. In particular, the actor playing Tony Blair was extremely capable and several times during the film I forgot that he wasn't the Prime Minister.

The most uncomfortable part of the film for me was the public hysteria emanating immediately after the death of the princess. I thought the film handled this aspect very sensitively but oh how I wish this could have been changed to NOT reflect actual events before, during and after the funeral. I wish that the Queen had remained steadfast in her original position to keep the funeral a private matter, particularly for her grandsons who were very young.

Alas, the public appetite for gratuitous involvement at that time resulted in an unprecedented and very public demonstration of 'grief' and this has obviously been incorporated as a primary focus of the film.

In summary, I think this is an excellent film but its tragic event - and the hystrionics that followed - made me truly ashamed to be British.

Agatha Christie's Poirot: Five Little Pigs [DVD] [2003] [1989]
Agatha Christie's Poirot: Five Little Pigs [DVD] [2003] [1989]
Dvd ~ David Suchet

5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing is as it seems...., 27 Dec 2007
Of the series of recent Poirot dramatisations with David Suchet - this is one of my favourites. It stayed true to the book and the acting and settings are period perfect.

David Suchet is perfect in the role of Poirot. The rest of the cast fit perfectly too, like a well-worn and comfortable glove. The dialogue is sparkling and the settings of this particular story are breath-taking.

For all those who must see justice prevail - in the end at least - if not at the beginning.

I never get tired of watching these dramas, hopefully David Suchet and the plethora of super-talented actors also casted, will continue until all the stories are done.

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