It was impressive to see Carrie Crowley on The View last week on RTE1 as she entertained knowledgeably about Sex and the City 2 and more arty topics. She looked beautiful and at ease and why oh why don’t we see more of her on television?
The two episodes by two houses each of Terry Pratchett’s discoworld novel, Going Postal, was a howl full of wonderful characters, great effects and some glorious parallels with the battle between the postal service and the clacks service as sort of internet with light. This was much better than the two previous Pratchett’s televised for Sky1 – Hogfather(even with David Jason) and The Colour of Magic.
Going Postal is about a conman who is hanged but survives to be conned himself into running an almost defunct post office. The satire on bureaucracy is a howl and the characters names a load of fun. There was the smiling hero Moist von Lipwig played with verve by Richard Coyle from Couplings. Reacher Gut the baddie almost unrecognisable as David Suchet and the most wonderful spikey female Adora Belle Dearheart played with relish by Claire Foy. You also had Mustrum Ridcully, Gryle a Vampire, Howler, a pin collector who invented the perforations on stamps, Groat and a clay golem Mr.Pump. There were 300,000 letters made up to create just one setting out of nearly a million used and the effects of Moist being carried along on a sea of envelopes and the haunted, undelivered letters burning up the vampire were great cinematic effects. Great television folks!
Clever of BBC2 to take on a period costume story of the Regency period, famous for Jane Austen stories and give us a novel twist with the fascinating story of the first modern lesbian – Anne Lister.
The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister told an aristocratic tale of a scholar in history and algebra, a landowner and a coal mining industrialist, who married into money and created a small empire in Halifax. Maxine Peake brought the headstrong and dogged to be different Anne Lister to life with a love story, full of romance, adversity against men who despised her and undercut her coal prices. There was furtive groping on the moors as Lister saw her love Mariana marry for social position and class so Lister rolled up her sleeves and got on with life.
Female friends gave her books on industry and coalmining and she gave them volumes of Byron’s poetry. During her life she kept a set of diaries where she wrote in Greek and algebraic code and it is those diaries that kept her name in the feminist histories. If she hadn’t money and property I suspect the story wouldn’t have been half as interesting.
What a visual disappointment the new RTE1 series Limits of Liberty about the big topics of Irish history. Diarmaid Ferriter comes across so well on the radio and yet this archive footage plus talking heads was a mishmash of facts out of context clips and a crazy choice of settings. You had lots of shots of seats and chairs and why oh why have real people sit in these chairs in a bare room with a broken sofa? This was hard work and came across as the history lesson it actually was. Pity.
To go with the drama of Anne Lister, BBC2 made a documentary to go with the drama – revealing Anne Lister with celebrity lesbian Sue Perkins exploring a more fascinating life than the drama revealed. Perkins has a waspish sarcastic tone and she showed us the diaries that came to four million words and symbols and painted a picture of the first woman to climb Mount Perdido and bettering a Russian Prince and running a casino. You could see the feminist attraction for a regency super self-sufficient woman who sadly was bitten by an insect and died abroad. It took her wife Anne Walker six months to bring the embalmed body back to Yorkshire. Her school girl lover Eliza Raine died in an asylum. Lister was only 49 when she died – a remarkable woman indeed.
After 37 years and 31 series the BBC have announced that the Last of the Summer Wine has run dry or run out. At least they have decided to end it after the next series, where I think Peter Sallis as Norman Clegg is the longest serving regular cast member. Foggy, Compo and Nora batty have gone to a more celestial vineyard. Some wit has suggested that in the last episode we will discover they were on an island in heaven all along. (Lost of the ……). so with fond affection let’s enjoy the truly last of the old brigade.