Lucan (2013)


This two-part drama written by Jeff Pope is based on the life of flamboyant aristocrat Lord Lucan.

In 1974, with escalating gambling debts and his marriage collapsing, Lucan becomes obsessed with regaining custody of his children. On one fateful night in November that year, the youngsters’ nanny Sandra Rivett is bludgeoned to death in the basement of the family home in London’s Belgravia district – and his wife Veronica is also attacked , but she fights back and alerts the police. As the earl goes on the run, Aspinall calls together Lucan’s cronies from the Clermont Club to establish the facts, and a national manhunt is launched for the fugitive. Veronica testifies against her husband to the authorities and the story quickly becomes a media sensation.

Drama starring Rory Kinnear, Christopher Eccleston, Catherine McCormack, Michael Gambon, Paul Freeman, Rupert Evans, Gemma Jones and Leanne Best.

A rather sordid affair in my opinion. Jeff Pope speculated mostly in the second part, because even now nobody knows what happened to ‘Lucky’ Lucan. He just disappeared, leaving his own children without support. His heir was refused permission to take his title and seat in the House of Lords. The worst in that story is that, even during the trial, the battle between Veronica and ‘Lucky’ was more important than Sandra Rivett’s poor fate.

The Great Train Robbery (2013)


This two-part drama was written by Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall telling the story of the most infamous heist in British history.

Part 1 A Robber’s Tale : After a robbery at Heathrow Airport in 1962, Bruce Reynolds sets his sights on another target – the plan being to rob the overnight mail train from Glasgow to Euston. A team is assembled, schemes are laid out and rehearsals begin. But despite their meticulous planning, the operation is compromised by an attack on the train driver and a botched getaway. Before long, the gang have become the most wanted men in Britain.

Part 2 A Copper’s Tale : The police wake to the news of a robbery, but the full extent of the crime and its haul – £2.6million – only becomes evident over the following days. It’s clear the local CID is ill-equipped to solve a case of such magnitude, so Scotland Yard is called in, with a six-strong team of detectives headed by the Flying Squad’s enigmatic chief Tommy Butler. In a race against time, they set out to identify every criminal involved and bring them to justice before they flee the country – but even if they can, will they find the money?

Drama, starring Luke Evans, Paul Anderson, Martin Compston, Jack Roth, Neil Maskell, Jack Roth, Bethany Muir, Jim Broadbent, George Costigan, Robert Glenister, Tim Pigott-Smith, Nick Moran, James Fox and James Wilby.

Before watching this drama, I didn’t know the details of this true story. Both parts are brilliantly written and played by a great cast. Since the forties, so many movies showed us bad guys succeeding in escaping the justice, “unfortunately”, in real life they usually always get caught.

Richard II with David Tennant – RSC Production Diaries (2013)


Richard II plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from 10 October to 16 November 2013. It transfers to the Barbican 9 December to 25 January.

Here are the Production Diaries released this fall by the Royal Shakespeare Company. They are quite interesting for anybody who loves plays. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to watch David Tennant in this production on stage nor on screen since it will not be released in theatres in France, I hope there will be a DVD.

Gregory Doran explains how he’s approaching the play, ideas for the design, and introduces the cast, talking about working with David Tennant in the title role.

Emma Hamilton, who plays the Queen, describes the first day of rehearsals, including the welcome games they play to help break the ice and build rapport between the actors. She explains how the show’s Director Gregory Doran is beginning to help them explore their characters and also explains some of the historical truth behind Richard’s Queen.

Historian Helen Castor visits Westminster Hall, one of the last surviving parts of the Palace of Westminster, with the cast and creatives of Richard II. She explains how Richard II transformed Westminster Hall, and talks about we can understand Richard the man, and Shakespeare’s vision of him.

RSC head of Voice Lyn Darnley shows how she helps the actors in Richard II develop their posture, breathing and articulation, as well as bringing together the physical voice with the language and text of the play.

Professor Jim Shapiro sits in on week five of rehearsals for Richard II. He talks about treason, censorship and seditious material in ‘a radioactive play’, which was both shocking and highly topical for audiences when it was written, and six years later sparked an uprising. Professor Shapiro explains connections between Richard II and the reigning monarch, Elizabeth I, which Elizabeth herself, then a childless and ageing monarch, saw all too clearly. Like Richard, she had problems with Ireland, taxed her people and had no heir.

Alistair McArthur, Head of Costume, shows the process of making costumes for Richard II. ‘There aren’t many things that we can’t turn our hands to here,’ he says. And the team prove it as they talk through design, fittings, sleeve adjustments, velvet breastplates and travel-crowns. Alistair leads a tour of the costume department, through painting and dyeing, on to footwear and armoury and finally into the hats and jewellery team. Everyone is busy working on the outfits that our company will wear in the performances. With plenty of last minute changes and refinements it is an interesting time for the costume department.

Simon Ash, Senior Production Manager for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, describes the last week of technical work before Richard II opens. ‘Are we going to be ready to get the actors on stage on Monday evening at 6 o’clock?’ he asks. His explanation of the process of bringing the show to stage makes clear it’s not an easy question to answer. Simon and the team have been planning this work for at least three months. In the week before the show opens, six departments – 40 to 50 people – will be working in the forestage, auditorium and backstage of the the theatre for 12 hours a day. Transport, facilities, equipment and scenery all come together.

You can hear the music of the court of Richard II as imagined by Bruce O’Neil, Head of Music, and Paul Englishby, composer. They’ve created the musical landscape for this production and share a few of its ‘divine and angelic’ musical moments. “We always have musicians playing live in the theatre for our performances because” as Bruce says, ‘It really gives you a special atmosphere that you can’t reproduce in any other way.’

Richard II has now opened in Stratford-upon-Avon to positive audience reactions and reviews. In this diary we go behind the scene in the lead-up to a preview show. Keith Osborn, who plays Sir Stephen Scroop, meets us at the stage door and takes us into the dressing rooms for pre-show preparations. James Kitto, the duty manager, greets us front of house as the team prepare to welcome the public. The doors open and theatre-goers arrive. Backstage, Klare Roger from the stage management team begins the count down to curtain up with a thirty minute call …

Find out how designer Stephen Brimson Lewis created the critically acclaimed design for the world of Richard II. “What’s the best place that an actor can be for each moment?” he asks. He describes how the design for the play came about, starting with the unique opportunity that the Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s shape offers to a designer. Making full use of the depth and height of the space was a priority for the team who have developed the automated set, lighting projections and costumes for the play.

David Tennant talks about his excitement in the lead-up to his first ever live theatre performance to audiences in cinemas across the world. Richard II is broadcast to cinemas worldwide from 13 November 2013.

Producer of the Live broadcast of Richard II, John Wyver, talks on the eve of the broadcast about the technical preparations involved in bringing the production to cinemas across the world.

The RSC final production diary focuses on the schools broadcast that happened on Friday 15 November 2013. Jayne Welsh, the director of language for learning at St Albans Academy talks about the reasons why she’d decided that all 300 students in years 7, 8 and 9 were included in the broadcast.

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A Very British Murder with Lucy Worsley


Part One – The New Taste for Blood – Dr Lucy Worsley examines the dark history behind Britain’s fascination with murder. In the first edition, she explores how notorious killings were transformed into popular entertainment in the first half of the 19th century: Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811, Suffolk’s notorious 1827 Red Barn murder, and the so-called “Bermondsey horror” of 1849.

Part Two – Detection Most Ingenious – The historian explores how science and detection influenced the popular culture of murder during Victorian times. She talks with Kate Summerscale about the case of the Murder at Road Hill House.

Writers including Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins were fascinated by grisly crimes, and the literary genre that came out of it captured the imagination of readers. The presenter also reveals that when Jack the Ripper began his reign of terror in London at the same time Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was published, the idea of the serial killer was introduced to the British public.

Part Three – The Golden Age – In this last part,  the historian tells the story of one of the first high-profile killers – Dr Crippen, who was hanged in 1910 for poisoning and dismembering his wife – before turning her attention to the interwar period, when detective fiction reached the peak of its popularity at the hands of authors Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers. After undergoing the elaborate initiation ceremony of the Detection Club, which was set up by a group of British writers in 1930, Lucy considers how Alfred Hitchcock’s films and Graham Greene’s books eclipsed the traditional murder-mystery story in the depiction of homicide.

A very interesting  three part documentary in which I heard for the first time about very famous murder cases in the UK.

I’ve seen months ago both TV Dramas  with Paddy Considine as Mr Whicher, the first case was fascinating; the second was pretty boring and lacked credibility – maybe because it was fictional.

Personally, I can’t read true crime stories. I’m an Agatha Christie fan and I usually like those whodunits knowing that it’s fiction. Anyhow, Lucy Worsley gave me the wish to discover Dorothy L. Sayers’ novels and her characters – Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.

Mary Boleyn ‘The Great and Infamous Whore’ by Alison Weir


“Among the illustrious descendants of Mary Boleyn are numbered Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Nelson, Charles Darwin, … , Lady Antonia Fraser, … , PG Wodehouse, Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall, Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and Queen Elizabeth II.”

The true story of the other Boleyn girl.

The Wipers Times


In the bombed-out ruins of the Belgian town of Ypres in 1916, Captain Fred Roberts and Lieutenant Jack Pearson discover a printing press and decide to start a satirical newspaper to raise the spirits of the British troops. It proves hugely popular with the men in the trenches – but their superior officers see it as an act of insubordination and subversion and call for a ban.

Factual drama by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, starring Ben Chaplin, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Michael Palin, Ben Daniels and Emilia Fox.

One of my great-grandfathers fought during WWI, in which he lost one of his lungs. I remember him being a nice old man, trying to make me laugh when I was a kid. He never talked about the war and died at 82 of chronic pneumonia.

I’m glad that some soldiers found a way to help others to be entertained during those horrible times.

The Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir

“Modern writers on the subject of the Princes in the Tower have tended to fall into two categories: those who believe Richard III guilty of murder of the Princes but are afraid to commit themselves to any confident conclusions, and those would like to see Richard more or less canonised .”

After watching the BBC Drama “The White Queen” based on Philippa Gregory’s best sellers, I wanted to know more about the famous War of the Roses. I just couldn’t put it down.