Wednesday, 28 October 2020

The Avengers: What the Butler Saw


 I love this episode, it is like an encapsulation of everything Avengers in one hour! Eccentrics, romance, dastardly plots, and parody of our glorious nation. Actually I was reminded of it when watching Clue (one of my favourite films, along with Murder by Death), when Tim Curry told one of the guests that a butler 'butles'.

There is an irony - Steed understands 'service' so well because of having been brought up on the other side of the counter. He fits in by actually being an obvious fraud and therefore a shifty character - I love that the nobles in his forged references are the names of pubs!

Normally I don't take to familiar faces but like that John le Mesurier turns out to be the baddie here. I love his quote to the effect that his roles were usually of a decent man at sea in a chaos of his own making - which presumably means this isn't a usual role for him. He did actually see himself as a jobbing actor of the sort I'm usually irritated by and has a huge list of roles on IMDB. I was surprised to find not only that he was married to the wonderful Hattie Jacques, but that he also lived in a menage à trois with her younger lover.

Nor is this episode limited to Avengerland but references the spy craze then at its height and the accompanying media. Bond in the use of 00 numbers, The Man from UNCLE in gadgets, and Get Smart in the soundproof bubble thingy.

My absolutely favourite element is Emma in seductive mode.

If you want criticism of this episode - you're not watching it in the right spirit!

That said it is apparent that it can be understood differently by different people - despite not being the sexy heights she shows elsewhere in reading around for this I have found a clip of the fight scene on a fetish site about women fighting men lol.

Image credit: dissolute.com.au

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Shoestring: Private Ear


Apologies for the hiatus in posting, but fortunately I am on leave again so time for some quality TV and some blog posts. I have had Shoestring on my list of shows to write about here for ages.

Usually when I write about 1970s shows I find myself commenting on how dreary the 70s were. This show managers a genius combination of managing the nightmare scenarios of the 1970s with certain dreamy aspirational qualities, which were later taken into the series Bergerac. For example what is not to love about working as a private ear for a radio station? By contrast Shoestring is doing this because he became mentally unwell after working as a computer technician. I believe the 70s to the 1980s were the last time when being a DJ was an aspirational thing, since I have read that it was in the 90s it became a lot about marketing and record deals, leading to it being an increasingly stressful occupation. In retrospect the hero DJs of the 70s have often been investigated if not convicted for sexual activity with underage fans.

This is the first episode which shows how shoestring becomes the fictional stations private ear, and it does draw the seedy underworld of the 1970s, because it is about a prostitute who kills herself on the beach, having stolen a Rolls Royce belonging to a DJ at the station Shoestring ends up working for.

Shoes is an endearing character, one of the things I like best is his habit of drawing sketch of the persons he is talking to leaving sketch with them, which are sometimes shows the mood or something else they have not betrayed in their speech. Obviously this doesn't always go down very well with people. He is also upfront with people about having a "breakdown", and he can give the impression of being too open with people. This hides his power of thinking. It is also endearing that he has a boat to retreat to, since that is something of an exit fantasy of my own. The actual boat in the series was in London, although most of the location shots are in Bristol. It will come as no surprise that I love the clothes, interiors, and cars in this show!

If you wanted to approach this show as a pure whodunnit, I think you would be disappointed. The plot is probably deliberately rather convoluted and is intended to create a sense of uncertainty about what is happening. This it certainly succeeds in. He's part of this shows genius that it could also be watched as a entertainment about shoe strings situation. Otherwise I am finding it very difficult to think of any major criticism, and normally in that situation I look round on the internet for criticism but there isn’t much comment on this show in the blogosphere so it escapes scot free!