Mapp & Lucia – BBC (2014)

Mapp & Lucia_1

Episode 1 – Miss Elizabeth Mapp reigns supreme in the picturesque town of Tilling, and has even more reason to gloat than usual when she lets her house for the summer to a very desirable tenant – Mrs Emmeline Lucas, known to her friends as Lucia. However, when the newcomer proves more popular with the locals than expected, Mapp is left out in the cold, leading to a constant battle for supremacy over bridge parties, garden fetes, art competitions and even the odd yoga class.

Mapp & Lucia_2

Episode 2 – Mapp is still reeling from Lucia’s victory at the summer fete and is left to watch disconsolately as the locals flock to her rival’s little dinner parties across the street. Before long, however, she sees her chance for revenge. As the townsfolk busy themselves preparing their entries for the summer art exhibition, one of the highlights of the social calendar, Lucia and Georgie lay out their intentions to submit their sketches – giving Mapp a rather wicked idea to keep them out altogether. But it turns out that subterfuge rarely likes being hidden for long in a place like Tilling.

Mapp & Lucia_3

Episode 3 – Miss Lucia decides to take Tilling’s cultural welfare in hand by beginning a series of musical evenings, although Mapp is curious to notice the odd moan from the locals – could they be tiring of her high-handed ways? Mapp is keen to encourage a revolt, convinced her rival is a fraud since learning she traced her sketch for the art exhibition. Now all she needs is a way to show her up once and for all. Meanwhile, Miss Mapp and Diva are engaged in their own skirmish, this time over the season’s latest fashions, and the rest of the townsfolk are trying to quell their excitement as news arrives that the Prince of Wales is to pass through the station.

Period comedy, starring Miranda Richardson, Anna Chancellor, Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss, Pippa Haywood, Poppy Miller, Felicity Montagu, Paul Ritter, Gemma Whelan, Nicholas Woodeson, Katy Brand, Harish Patel, Joanna Scanlan and Frances Barber.

Based on E.F. Benson’s novels, this mini series written by Steve Pemberton is exquisite – from the scenery to the perfect performance of the cast. It’s was a pure pleasure to watch … Now, I’m so looking forward to reading the books.

Blackpool (2004)

Blackpool1

Episode 1 – Local entrepreneur, Ripley Holden, holds a lavish opening for his new state of the art amusement arcade in Blackpool. But his fortunes look set to change for the worse when one morning he discovers the dead body of a young man on the premises. He attempts to co-operate with the investigating officer, but DI Carlisle has clearly taken a dislike to Ripley.

Episode 2 – The murder investigation begins to make Ripley’s life very difficult indeed. Carlisle calls Ripley’s son, Danny in for questioning – he’s convinced that Danny knows something about the body in the arcade and that he’s covering up for his father. When a huge tax bill surfaces and puts pressure on Ripley’s finances, his friends, who have invested in the arcade, start to get twitchy .

Blackpool2

Episode 3 – Forensic evidence links Ripley to the murder. To make matters worse, his application for planning permission for his Vegas style hotel is turned down and investors are beginning to ask for their money back. Meanwhile, Natalie is devastated to find out that Carlisle is a police officer and that he has been investigating her family.

Episode 4 – Carlisle doesn’t believe Danny’s murder confession and remains convinced that Danny’s just covering up for his father. Natalie warns him to keep away from her family but Carlisle is determined to get his man. Ripley is forced to drop everything and take drastic measures when Danny, traumatised by recent events, reaches breaking point.

Blackpool3

Episode 5 – Natalie provides Ripley with a watertight alibi for the night of the murder. Carlisle knows she’s lying but there’s nothing he can do about it. Meanwhile, the business Ripley has been building for so long is falling down around his ears. And Marr, Ripley’s friend and trusted advisor, reveals his true colours and a mean trick that he’s been storing up his sleeve.

Episode 6 – The final strands of Ripley’s life star to unravel. On the morning of Shyanne’s wedding, he tells Natalie that their marriage is over. Carlisle turns up at the ceremony to arrest him for murder. But Ripley reminds Carlisle about a small matter of his compromising affair with s suspect’s wife. As he sets out to do the right thing by his family, while clinging on to his lifelong dream of joining the big players, Ripley faces his biggest challenge yet.

Musical drama, starring David Morrissey, Sarah Parish, David Tennant, Thomas Morrison, Georgia Taylor, John Thomson, Steve Pemberton, Bryan Dick, Kevin Doyle and David Bradley.

This mini series was a complete shock to me as soon as I watched the first episode – I just loved it right away till the very end. The actors are excellent, the story is original and the choice of songs is perfect all along the storyline.

The Politician’s Husband (2013)

The Politician’s Husband

Part 1 : Aiden Hoynes and Freya Gardner are the “golden couple of British politics” as the drama opens. But Aiden is about to torpedo his career with one rash move. He resigns from the Cabinet after his bid for leadership is thwarted by his best friend Bruce Babbish. In the reshuffle, Freya is appointed a minister, while he returns to the back benches and a life of political obscurity. Finally out of her husband’s shadow, Freya is forced to choose between her own career ambitions and publicly supporting her spouse.

Part 2 : After his fall from grace, Aiden is spending more time at home looking after the children and becomes increasingly consumed with jealousy and paranoia as he sits on the sidelines watching Freya’s rise to prominence. Unable to accept his wife’s new-found success or forgive her betrayal, he begins to plot her downfall as well as his old friend Bruce’s.

The Politician’s Husband

Part 3 : Aiden has to defend himself when a sex scandal threatens to derail any chance of a political comeback, as well as doing further damage to his marriage. He discovers Freya has been less than honest about her whereabouts and the time she is spending with Bruce, and decides to gamble everything to ensure he comes out on top.

Political drama, starring David Tennant, Emily Watson, Jack Shepherd, Roger Allam, Ed Stoppard, Anamaria Marinca, Oscar Kennedy and Lucy Hutchinson.

This three part drama is Paula Milne’s companion piece to her 1995 drama The Politician’s Wife, starring Juliet Stevenson, Trevor Eve and Minnie Driver. David Tennant is as usual excellent in this part of jealous and revanchist husband who can’t stand to be left in the background. I first watched him in 2005 drama Secret Smile based on Nicci French’s thriller, and I remember not liking him in the first place as he was good at being bad. In any case, what I prefer in this drama is the two minutes conclusion with Freya’s last stare at her husband.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012)

Edwin Drood

This drama is an adaptation and completion of Charles Dickens’ last novel by screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes.

Part 1: Opium addict and choirmaster at Cloisterham cathedral John Jasper, lusts after schoolgirl orphan Rosa Bud. But she is betrothed to his nephew Edwin Drood, who will inherit a fortune if the mariage goes through. However, when two exotic strangers, twins Helena and Neville Landless, arrive in town, Jasper sees an opportunity to get what he always wanted. But will he allow his dark desires to take shape, and will he get away with it if he does?

Part 2 : With Edwin Drood feared dead, Jasper tries desperately to remember events of the night before. While Neville protests his innocence in the whole affair, Jasper begins to pursue Rosa with an intensity that pushes him to the edge of sanity. But revelations from Helena and Neville point ominously towards the cathedral crypt, where a discovery will surprise everyone involved.

Period drama, starring Matthew Rhys, Rory Kinnear, Freddie Fox, Tamzin Merchant, Alun Armstrong, Julia McKenzie, David Dawson, Ron Cook, Sacha Dhawan, Amber Rose Revah and Alfie Davis.

I wonder if Charles Dickens would have written the same moralistic ending to this dark drama. The cast is great , especially Matthew Rhys is rather terrifying as Jasper.

House Of Cards (1990)

House Of Cards1

Episode 1 – Francis Urquhart is the perfect politician. Impeccably diplomatic, charming, admired, trusted and respected by all. He has faithfully served his party without question, but events are about to spark his ambition. When the long-standing Prime Minister dies, the hunt is on to find a replacement.

Episode 2 – Urquhart is furious when the new Prime Minister, Collingringe, tells him that he is far too valuable in his current post, Chief Whip, to be offered a ministerial position. Hiding his contempt of the man behind his usual urbane smile, he believes the new PM will not last long, and perhaps something can be arranged to hasten his departure?

HouseOfCards2

Episode 3 – As scandals and leaked stories gain momentum, Collingringe find himself in deep political trouble, and he has no alternative but to step down as Prime Minister. The only man whom he feels he can still trust is Urquhart. Meanwhile, political journalst Mattie Storin begins to suspect that Collingringe has been framed. But who is the culprit?

Episode 4 – Urquhart’s ruthless scheming is working. As the leadership election looms, all his leading rivals have been discredited. But even though the obstacles in his way have been erased, there is still no guarantee of his winning. Meanwhile, the truth is beginning to dawn on Mattie. As for Urquhart, he has too much to lose to let sentiment stand in his way.

Political drama, starring Ian Richardson, Susannah Harker, Miles Anderson, Alphonsia Emmanuel, Malcolm Tierney, Diane Fletcher, Colin Jeavons, David Lyon and James Villiers.

House_of_Cards_Season_1_Poster

Being a fan of Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in the American version of House of Cards, I wanted to watch the first adaptation of Michael Dobbs’ trilogy. In the new version the characters are far more developed since each season lasts 13 episodes against 4 for the British drama. I have to confess that I do not really understand how the British politics work and watching documentaries on Margaret Thatcher or this drama don’t enlighten me. Nonetheless, Ian Richardson, beautiful Susannah Harker ( she will play five years later Jane Bennett in Pride and Prejudice) and the rest of the cast are excellent and I’m looking forward to watching the sequel, To Play The King.

Under the Greenwood Tree (2005)

under the greenwood tree

Under The Greenwood Tree was the first of Hardy’s great Wessex novels. Part love story, part comedy, the tale evokes the richness of village life tinged with melancholy for a rural world that Hardy saw fast disappearing.

Amongst the surrounding farms and woodlands of the idyllic village of Mellstock, Dorset, a bond grows between local boy Dick Dewy and a new arrival, the beautiful schoolteacher Fancy Day. The Reverend Maybold creates a furor among the village’s musicians with his decision to abolish the church’s stringed instruments choir and replace it with a new mechanical organ. But Miss Day causes an upheaval of a more romantic nature, as she steals the hearts of three very different men — the wealthy but older Farmer Shiner, the penniless young laborer and musician Dick Dewy, and the Reverend Maybold himself.

Through a maze of intrigue and passion across four seasons, Fancy is torn; she must make a decision of either head or heart. Will true love win out or will the social traditions of Victorian England determine Fancy’s future? Meanwhile, the men’s choir is restless and in open revolt about the new organ, spurred by their choirmaster, Reuben Dewy, who is Dick’s father.

Period drama, starring Keeley Hawes, James Murray, Steve Pemberton, Ben Miles and Tony Haygarth.

I appreciated this romance and I was glad that this story ended well. I have to say that I was traumatized by the ends of Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. So now I know I can read a happy story by Thomas Hardy. I’m looking forward to do so.

Broadchurch (2013)

Broadchurch

Episode 1 : Out-of-town DI Alec Hardy investigates the mysterious death of an 11-year-old boy in an idyllic seaside community, aided by local girl DS Ellie Miller, who has her work cut out dealing with her unyielding new boss. Meanwhile, the sadness of losing their child consumes Beth and Mark Latimer as they and the other residents of Broadchurch try to cope with the media frenzy surrounding the case.

Episode 2 : The detectives have their work cut out identifying key suspects, especially as the location of Danny’s murder is still a mystery, but Miller discovers some suspicious items taped under the victim’s bed and in his sister Chloe’s room, which could help them get closer to the truth. Meanwhile, Hardy finds an isolated clifftop hut that arouses his curiosity, the Latimers struggle to cope with their grief and the Rev Paul Coates decides to address the local media.

Broadchurch2

Episode 3 : Fingerprints at the crime scene lead DI Hardy and DS Miller to a shocking suspect in Danny’s murder – his father. When questioned, Mark explains he had been there recently to repair a boiler, but his alibi for the night of the murder quickly falls apart. Meanwhile, Steve Connelly approaches Beth claiming to have a message – from her dead son.

Episode 4 : Local journalist Olly investigates Jack, the newsagent for whom Danny did a paper round – and discovers a suspicious previous conviction. Meanwhile, Beth and Mark try to get more national press coverage of their son’s death in an attempt to find his killer, and Hardy goes for dinner with Miller and her husband, but blacks out in his hotel room later that evening.

Broadchurch4

Episode 5 : Miller realises the evidence Jack handed over does not tally with her knowledge of Danny’s possessions, while Olly and Karen work together on an article about the newsagent’s past. However, the next morning when they read the paper, they discover the piece has been rewritten to make Jack look like a sex offender – and the police can offer little protection.

Episode 6 : Files are piling up at the police station but, with no fresh leads or witnesses, the case is stalling and morale is low. Hardy is stunned when he’s told to scale back resources and feels his hope of catching Danny’s killer is slipping away. However, at the Broadchurch Echo, Maggie grows determined to solve a mystery that has taken a very personal turn for her. How will her efforts affect the official investigation?

Broadchurch5

Episode 7 : Following recent events, Miller is more isolated than ever before as she tries to find out what happened at the clifftop hut. Meanwhile, the police are circling Susan as Nige grows increasingly desperate for her to leave Broadchurch. What is she hiding? And which members of the local community hold the key to Danny’s death?

Episode 8 : After weeks of speculation, the Broadchurch community struggles to come to terms with the truth about the events surrounding Danny Latimer’s death, and the revelations threaten to prevent the dead boy from being allowed to rest in peace.

Crime drama, starring David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker, Arthur Darvill, Vicky McClure, Pauline Quirke, Will Mellor, Carolyn Pickles, Jonathan Bailey, Matthew Gravelle, Simone McAullay, Charlotte Beaumont, Adam Wilson, David Bradley, Joe Sims, Susan Brown and Oskar McNamara.

I already knew who was the killer when I began to watch this drama thanks to all the spoilers on the web and the british press. Well, I thought it was not too important as I decided to follow the killer through the story to see if there were clues. I do believe that the actor concerned didn’t even know till the end. In my opinion, even if I liked that drama as all the actors were excellent in it, the ending is rather shaky. Anyway, I’m looking forward to watch the next series. ** SPOILERS **  For those who haven’t seen it yet, do not watch the following video …