Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
not everyone's dish of tea
on 19 March 2012
I couldn't imagine what this series was going to be like, so I bought it based on the mostly-positive reviews and high-level cast. After watching, I am trying to work my way up to mixed emotions about it.
The whole premise takes some getting used to, especially after more high-toned British mystery drama and period pieces. Michael Gambon plays a mystery writer hospitalized due to psoriatic arthritis -- a dreadfully debilitating disease that was also suffered by Dennis Potter, the author of the original, semi-autobiographical material. His appearance is disturbing and, if the truth be known, off-putting.
He escapes from his painful reality by fantasizing about being a noir-ish detective and singer, and his not-so-pleasant childhood. The music is always entertaining, and provides a light break from the difficult story. Interspersed throughout are visits from his ex-wife, played by the wonderful Janet Suzman. As the story progresses and he deals with motivating experiences from his past, their relationship, and his condition, improves along with his mood.
The story is complex and takes some real concentration. The past and present stories are skillfully woven and cleverly developed, which is why I want to watch the series again. I might not have the reactions I did on first viewing (not knowing what to expect) and I should more easily be able to follow the story.
I think it is worth a try.