Showing posts from August, 2022

Sapphire and Steel: Assignment 3 Episode 6

Episode 6: In which the mystery is resolved with a leg of pork Warning: This post contains spoilers for the resolution of this assignment. Not to beat about the bush here, I'm going to try to be as gentle as I can but I honestly think the assignment falls on its face with this episode, largely because the complexities that have been invoked already would be formidably difficult to resolve tidily for anyone. Two specific parts seem to me to fall particularly flat. The first is the scene where Eldred won't access the bedroom of the other study pod. He gives as the reason that it has taken humanity that long to evolve to the point of having enough privacy and decency not to go into someone else's bedroom. We have gained certain moral standards, he says. This falls completely flat because it's complete nonsense. Except in situations of complete poverty you don't randomly go into someone else's bedroom. I also suspect that at times and situations in the past, such as

Sapphire and Steel: Assignment 3 Episodes 4 and 5

Episode 4: In which nobody knows what's going on My sense of dissatisfaction with this assignment has rather grown with this episode. Surely nobody was in any illusion that the three experimental pods and also the top flat of the block all having the same layout was as a cost-cutting exercise? It's also bizarre, because if you're doing an experiment in the past and take the layout of an actual flat as one experimental pod do you then repeat it for all the others? Are they really that cheap in the future, when they can power things with jolly old Time? It's used a device for Sapphire to guide Steel around the rural research project where she is, but probably wasn't really necessary for that because she would just have described it while we watched Steel looking soulful. Sapphire gets all smiley when she finds out that Silver has turned up, but of course that may simply be to make Steel jealous, and I'm going to have to say that this assignment is, I think, alone

Sapphire and Steel: Assignment 3 Episodes 2 and 3

Episode 2: In which everyone gets thoroughly confused If you read up on what people think of this episode you tend to get lots of comments about how seeing Steel sabotaging a lift isn't the most exciting television ever. And of course that would be right. But I think this episode's main function is to underline with the subtlety of a sledgehammer how everything is wrong with time here, how everyone is out of kilter, and nobody is thinking straight. The wife tells the husband that she's worried about her thoughts. Let me tell you, when your spouse says that to you the only possible response is, are you taking your medication. Steel thinks he's been attacked by the swan/pillow, but finds he hasn't. It's never good when you start perceiving things that may well not be happening. Meanwhile the baby goes through puberty about four times during the episode, so to be fair he's probably the most confused of them all. I think this is the point of the lift sequence. I

Sapphire and Steel: Assignment 3 Episode 1

Next for Television (to destress) for a Time of Strife of course we have to have some complete unreality in the shape of Sapphire and Steel. I am shocked, nay disgusterated at myself to find that it has been a full eight years since these two so much as made an appearance here, and I went through Assignment 2 in 2014, and Assignment 5 in 2013. I'm actually shocked that I haven't touched it. I'm also shocked that I've managed to choose (and am otherwise very pleased with) a template for the blog which doesn't show the dates of posts. What kind of blog doesn't put dates on the posts? So I have been forced to change templates again because there was no way of putting dates on the posts. This is a Sapphire and Steel which I have been thinking of writing about before but wasn't really sure of how to go about it. I feel that individual posts for each episode of a Sapphire and Steel tends to result in a too slight a blog entry but a single post for the whole show d

This Country: Threatening Letters

You wouldn't believe the difficulty I am having finding programmes to blog about which would be suitable as Television for a Time of Strife. So many programmes, when you come to look at them, include references to plagues, government corruption, espionage, poverty, injustice, that they really aren't suitable. For that reason here I am blogging about this wonderful mockumentary about a Cotswolds village with a character heavily based on serial killer Fred West . All I can say is that strange things will start to be entertaining as the level of strife increases, and writing this post is how I found on that there is a thing called Comedic Sociopathy. Perhaps I should mention that this show has a Uk rating of 15 for Strong Language and Sex References. The show is made by  real life siblings (Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper as Kerry and Kurtan Mucklowe), playing members of their fictional family the Mucklowes, and based on real events in Cirencester, although filmed

At Last the 1948 Show: Series 1 Episode 4 (8th March 1967)

I have been looking around for what to do next since as you know I find that themed posts seem to suit me quite well and so the current theme is Television for a Time of Strife. Heaven knows we're in a time of strife and television was always intended to be entertaining so for a while from now I am solely going to focus on shows that we can watch as re-creation in a world which is crashing and burning. In case the title of this post seems unusually detailed, indeed accurate, that's because I've copied it straight from the handy booklet that comes from the BFI box set of what remains on this show, and that's what the episode is actually called. In fact you really ought to get the box set this instant and also really don't need me to explain it to you. In case you haven't heard of this show, despite its restoration and publication being trumpeted all over the classic TV internet, I'll list some names and you'll see why it needs no justification: Tim Brooke

The Specials

Since my last post I've been sounding like a sweary version of Robin (holy nuclear codes, Batman!) and was going to do a Batman post but have added Batman to my list of shows which are well nigh impossible to blog about, for reasons which I'm not entirely sure about. So anyway, instead a post about The Specials, a show which started off as an internet streaming thing and moved to TV. You can see the whole thing for free on their youtube channel  here. It's about five adults with learning disabilities, who all went to the same school, became friends, and decided that they wanted to live together independently in a house. The logistics of doing this with their care needs turned out to be incredibly difficult and ultimately the parents of one of them had to set up a company to run the house. And this is of course the point, because if you don't have care needs or a learning disability, and you want to share a house, you just find a place and work out the finances and so on

The X-Files: Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

Surely the FBI is on the minds of the whole world this week? It's no use, us setting the collapse of our banana republic government to the chase music from Benny Hill doesn't compare, and obviously we're going to have to have a General Strike (click the link in the menu to join the resistance). So what else was I going to move straight on to but a bit of X-Files. I've chosen this one for a rather idiosyncratic reason which is that I like the particular sequence set in the hotel, and in fact have found that I'm tending to find these Series 10 episodes rather difficult to get my head round. I have identified a couple of reasons for this: they have complex, layered plots, and tend to be very self-referential to the previous history of The X-Files. Which is fine, obviously. What makes it difficult is that this season frequently pokes fun at the growth of conspiracy theories and increase in people believing utter nonsense since the original show aired. Since 2020 this ha

Birmingham on TV: The One Game

A friend recently had IT trouble and lost access to years of photographs and notes on his interest in urban exploration. He was bemoaning that he didn't understand the explanation of what had happened given to him by the IT person who was dealing with it. I gave my jaundiced opinion that if you can't explain something in a way that a non-specialist will understand what is happening, you don't understand it yourself. Of course you already know that I'm saying that as the prelude to saying that I have had some difficulty understanding this show. Not for the first time blogging has forced me to get my head round a show which I have been allowing to wash over me, so that I can talk about it here and allow for any readers who haven't watched the show. If you've watched it you probably understand it better than me anyway, it's HUGELY ambitious and naturally I tend to get distracted by the sights of eighties Birmingham. The One Game is a mini series of four episode

Birmingham on TV: Public Eye - The Bromsgrove Venus

This is the only remaining episode of the third series of Public Eye, and the last episode set during Marker's sojourn in Birmingham for me to blog about here. It is intended to be a depiction of the ins and outs of a particular relationship, however what most strikes me about it is the depiction of Marker's work. To come straight out with it, if  I was professionally approached by both a husband and a wife who just plain will not talk to each other, I would find myself very hard pressed not to slap them. The husband can't ask his wife why she appears nude in a photograph which has appeared in a photography competition in the library where he is chief librarian. The wife can't ask her husband what he knows about this and can't tell him that she has been blackmailed for absurdly small amounts for years. Most of the commentary on the internet focuses on the ins and outs of this relationship between Ainsworth and his young, beautiful, French wife Marie. In quite a go a

Birmingham on TV: The Game

I see that I wrote about this series in a general post ( here ) in 2016, in which I expatiated at length about its gorgeous setting of the former Birmingham Central Library. Having got that out of the way, I'm intrigued that it has struck me very differently this time. This post might come across a bit apocalyptic, and I'm not sorry in the slightest.  I seem to have missed much of the point of this show when I wrote about it before (silly me). There is a recurring motif that the world of Cold War era espionage depicted in The Game is, indeed, a game and one that is played by the characters. You could of course interpret that idea several ways, including it meaning that you might have to follow rules or use tactics or strategy to win. However I think it is much more clear that The Game is somewhat unreal. You play the game regardless of the impact on the players, and another recurring motif is the different ways people react to things like deaths which carry out in the course of

Birmingham on TV: Screen Two - The Firm

This series of posts about TV related in some way to Birmingham prods me to blog about The Firm (by Alan Clarke for the Screen Two series) which I will happily admit I have been wanting to write about but have been rather avoiding. The connection with Birmingham is simply a scene set in the city. Strangely for a city with five universities, three cathedrals (and there used to be an additional Liberal Catholic pro-cathedral) and three rivers, Birmingham only has one football team, Birmimgham City Football Club, which had its start in the winter of 1875, when the choir cricket team of Holy Trinity church Bordesley thought they would try the new sport of Association Football. BCFC has or had a firm of hooligans called Zulus, which started as a derogatory name for them because of their multicultural nature. In a sense there is very little to be said about this show because the internet is replete with reviews and commentary, so I will just say whatever happens to go through my mind about i