lost_spook: (suzanne neve)
Another of the things I've watched in the period since May, courtesy of the Drama channel, is the 1980s BBC WWII drama Tenko.

I knew that this featured Stephanie Beacham and Louise Jameson, and was largely written by some of the people who were responsible for Wish Me Luck (and some of The House of Eliott), and was about women PoW in Japanese internee camps in Singapore in WWII. And since I like both WML & HoE (both v female-centric 80s & 90s historical dramas) and also things that feature people trapped in relatively small spaces and ensemble casts, I recorded it.

I would write a sensible review, but what I didn't know was that:

Stephanie Cole is in it as a curmudgeonly lesbian atheist doctor who winds up making fast friends with a fearsome Dutch nun, even though she doesn't understand how that is a thing that is a thing. MY HEART.

But, yeah. It's addictive, your mileage will almost certainly vary, has a high death count (something like 14 regulars, mostly in the first season and a half, die, on or off screen), and MY HEART. I think probably I shall be requesting it for Yuletide.

It walks quite an difficult line and mostly, I felt, pretty well, given the subject matter and the fact that the majority of its main characters are privileged and prejudiced, being British (and Dutch) in Singapore, save for one storyline in The Reunion (which isn't bad as such, but they needed a whole series to tackle it properly if they were going to go there; as it is, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth). But YMMV, and I was a bit distracted by all the HEARTS IN MY EYES for most of it.

Anyway, this is why I'm relieved I can watch Secret Army and mostly just think, "Hmm, after this, I have to rewatch 'Allo 'Allo, don't I?" I can't go round casually giving my heart to every problematic old TV show that comes along, or what would be left of me?


I also bought S2 of ITV's 70s anthology series, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes with my birthday money. As the name implies, this is a set of dramatisations of other late Victorian detectives who aren't Sherlock. I got S2 because it promised me more Douglas Wilmer (BBC 1960s Sherlock), and a guest appearance from Suzanne Neve. I'll talk about the rest sometime, as I've deserted it for Department S for the moment. (Not because it was bad, but because it cries out to be watched in winter, and also I wanted a series to get into as opposed to an anthology.)

Anyway, Suzanne Neve guested in "The Absent-Minded Coterie", featuring Charles Gray as M. Valmont, France's greatest amateur detective (which you can find here at YT if you weren't lucky enough to get it in the Network sale), and I will pause to note it here, because it turned out to be made of all the things I like. I mean, if you combined Inspector Neele/Mary Dove's dynamic with Poirot and Sherlock Holmes and Adam Adamant, this is pretty much what you get, with bonus Suzanne Neve. Anyway, clearly a thing calculated to please me is not going to please everyone else, but I am delighted to inform you that France's premier amateur detective is not up to outwitting Suzanne Neve and that she gets to appear mysteriously out of the fog and commit crimes and then be smug while wearing epic hats. I recced it to [personal profile] john_amend_all because the above things are a lot of where our likes meet, and he informed me that the original story doesn't even have Suzanne Neve's character (Miss Mackail) in it, so sometimes 1970s adaptors take the best liberties with things.

Have some hats )
lost_spook: (writing)
And another [community profile] trope_bingo piece! This one, the huddling for warmth prompt I'd wanted to do for Nina/Jimmy/Vincent since I first watched Manhunt in January. Unlike the other, it should be reasonably comprehensible, although there are some references to the outcome of ep8 (A Different Kind of War). But mainly typical early-series bickering, really.


Midwinter Night (1385 words) by lost_spook
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Manhunt (TV 1969)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jimmy Briggs/Ann-Marie "Nina" Poitiers/Joseph "Vincent" Reynolds
Characters: Joseph "Vincent" Reynolds, Ann-Marie "Nina" Poitiers, Jimmy Briggs (Manhunt TV 1969)
Additional Tags: Community: trope_bingo, Arguing, Huddling For Warmth, World War II, Episode: s01e08 A Different Kind of War, Episode Tag
Summary: Sometimes complaining does help, or that seems to be Jimmy’s philosophy anyway. It’s infuriating.
lost_spook: (james maxwell)
I'm determined to get a line for my [community profile] trope_bingo for amnesty, and I'm so near - I just need to type a couple more things up! So, I went to my notebook and instead typed up this for [community profile] hc_bingo (for "nausea," although mostly the metaphorical kind), because I'm contrary like that.

(I had to rewatch an episode for it. Probably I shouldn't have done it quite so soon after watching the OUaT finale, because in comparison the special Christmas episode where someone has to murder their dearest friend ever felt like a Dementor in TV-form, sucking all the joy out of life. Knowing where it ends up, I have to say Manhunt is the most cynical, bleak, twisted up look at WWII I've ever seen. My experience isn't massive, but even so...)

Anyway, as I may have mentioned, Vincent, one of our Extra Specially Terrible Resistance agents has top Nazis falling over themselves to die for him, one way or another, so I wrote fic about it. Even if old telly means never knowing how to spell anyone's surnames.* Spoilers abound, though, so this will probably be read by no one ever, alas. But I feel accomplished. (I just need to write Nina/Vincent/Jimmy now for my [community profile] trope_bingo "huddling for warmth" square, because if you have a practically canon OT3 who have to hide in barns and hedges in a freezing winter, it would be ungracious not to do it, really. After I've typed up the squares that'll get me an amnesty Bingo.)


War Is Love, Love Is War (1342 words) by lost_spook
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Manhunt (TV 1969)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Joseph "Vincent" Reynolds/Paul Menard, Joseph "Vincent" Reynolds & Wolfgang Gratz, Joseph "Vincent" Reynolds/Ann-Marie "Nina" Poitiers, Joseph "Vincent" Reynolds/Egon
Characters: Joseph "Vincent" Reynolds, Paul Menard, Egon (Manhunt TV 1969), Wolfgang Amadeus Gratz
Additional Tags: Spoilers, Episode: s01e19 The Death-WIsh, Episode: s01e04 What Did You Do in the War Daddy?, Episode: s01e08 A Different Kind of War, Episode: s01e25 What Next?, Canonical Character Death, fathers and sons, World War II
Summary: “What is war? War is love.” Vincent, and the Fascists who love him.

(Or, if you're a fellow old Brit telly lover, this fic is mostly depressing, but partly Peter Barkworth/Julian Glover, and Peter Barkworth/James Maxwell, and Peter Barkworth/Robert Hardy (ish). Blame canon, not me.)


* Why, yes, I have just given myself quite the wrangling tangle to sort. /o\
lost_spook: (b7 - deva)
I decided that since I really like doing Fandom Overviews (or Manifestos, but that implies "everyone should watch" and really, they shouldn't), I should do one for everything I like that I haven't already done one for and it would be fun for me and maybe even useful for other people.

We'll see how that goes, but here's one of my latest in new old TV that I think is still worth watching in the 21st C:


Manhunt (1969/70)

manhunt1
"What is war?"/ "War is love..."



What is it? A one-off WWII drama serial set in Occupied France, consisting of 26 x 50 minute episodes, starring Peter Barkworth, Alfred Lynch and Cyd Hayman, with Robert Hardy, Philip Madoc and Maggie Fitzgibbon.

Nina a.k.a. Ann-Marie Poitiers is the sole survivor of a meeting between the British and representatives of various French Resistance groups. As secretary, she has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the names of the Resistance Leaders. London orders that their agent Vincent get her back to England - or shoot her. Vincent also has a newly crashed British airman called Jimmy Briggs who needs returning to London, so the three of them set out across France, pursued by Karl Lutzig of the SS, who is eventually joined in his mission by Abwehr Sergeant Gratz, while the trio of agents team up with an Australian singer called Adelaide who doesn't seem to have made up her mind which side she's on.

What has a tendency to start out as an occasionally tiresome action runaround soon develops into more of an intense, talky, gripping and powerful piece on love and war, and the price of resistance.


Do you really think I want to go on living, if this is all there's going to be? )
lost_spook: (b7 - deva)
Some Enemy at the Door fic, written for Hyarrowen, who wanted something to do with the Atlantic Wall and who shares my appreciation of Martel and Richter (and Committee Man!). I don't know if this was what was wanted, as it's mainly Martel & Richter discussing some consequences of the Wall for the Islands, but it's what I came up with:

Waiting For the Sky to Fall (1218 words) by lost_spook
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Enemy at the Door (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Philip Martel & Dieter Richter
Characters: Philip Martel, Dieter Richter
Additional Tags: Vignette, World War II, Starvation, Post-Canon, Stealth Friendship
Summary: Autumn 1944, and the situation on Guernsey grows ever more bleak, but there's always some slight consolation to be had, if you look for it hard enough.
lost_spook: (cat)
The commentfest continues! And talking of obscure and British things...

As threatened, a 'trailer' of sorts for ITV's 1978-80 WWII drama, Enemy at the Door. I made this as an experiment, because I thought I'd solved my issues with sound-editing on my vidding software. Guess what? I haven't, so this is not entirely a success - there are some sound issues, especially at the start, and it was getting worse with every edit. You may take it as read that I'm not doing anything else like this in a hurry. Still, that's what experiments are for, yes?

However, that said, it is still better than anything Network or Acorn have bothered to do for it and maybe it will explain something of why I like it so much. Or just bore everybody, I'm not sure at this point. Inevitably, there are some spoilers (especially for 1.13), but hopefully not too bad out of context (& not beyond 2.1 because Network wouldn't let me rip 2.2-2.13).

Enemy at the Door Trailer )
lost_spook: (dw - amy)
I made various icons for NaArMaMo, but halfway through the month, I started on an utterly pointless large set for Enemy at the Door. (NaArMaMo is just for having fun and experimenting, so I did.)

Teaser:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic


A lot of people need help - they don't know how to fight or even what to fight sometimes )
lost_spook: (Default)
I've been watching a very old TV series called Espionage (ITC 1963/4) (as I've mentioned a few times lately). It is an anthology series about spies, so each episode is a different story. I'm not sure what to make of it, to be honest, but I am enjoying watching it. It's an odd mix - ITC pretty and stellar casting, coupled with dollops of sentimentality, and occasional hackneyed dialogue, but with some interesting storylines and - which I think is its saving grace for me - a rather surprising cynicism and disapproval of espionage, war, and violence - and it's very critical about 'necessary' sacrifices - most episodes seem to conclude the cost is too high for both those who die and those required to be responsible for such decisions. With 1960s b&w pretty and amazing casts. So, I can't complain too much, even if for the first few episodes everyone cried so much it was bordering on overwrought.

So far I've watched about 9 episodes and have 13 more to go, so I reserve the right to change my mind.

Here are some not too long (and, as ever, not terribly serious) picspams for Alfred Burke in "Covenant With Death", James Maxwell in "The Final Question" and also some of "Light of a Friendly Star".


In which Alfred Burke is a speedy undresser in times of trouble )

In which nobody wants to see James Maxwell... )


Light of a Friendly Star )
lost_spook: (I Capture - writing)
I am only linking this here because a) [community profile] snowflake_challenge, because maybe icons you made ages ago is cheating a bit and b) this is what I did with the future fic square for [community profile] trope_bingo. Hence I'm skipping it this time. If I'm going to write unnecessarily long and gloomy fic, at least I can do it for [community profile] hc_bingo where you'd expect this sort of thing.

Outcomes of War (5430 words) by lost_spook
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Enemy at the Door (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Philip Martel & Dieter Richter, Ernst Freidel & Dieter Richter
Characters: Dieter Richter, Ernst Freidel, Philip Martel, Olive Martel
Additional Tags: War, World War II, Suicide, Execution, Starvation, Post-Series, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, 5 Times
Summary: "Whatever may be the abuse of man, that is the use of nature - first survive.” Three things that may have happened to Major Richter and two that definitely didn’t.

(This is what happens when people go and leave a TV show unfinished and I start looking at the history books for answers. I wasn't going to finish this, being far too late for the bingo, but it nagged at me. It's surprisingly unspoilery, but I can't imagine it'd have any appeal to anyone who hasn't seen the series. And limited appeal even then.)

I fear my next fic may only be better by virtue of being shorter, but after that I solemnly vow to try and write things that people might actually want to read. (Or, in short, I have a lot of 500 Prompts left... ;-D)
lost_spook: (cat)
I said I'd made a post about Enemy at the Door, and here it is. (I'm thinking of doing some more fandom manifesto type posts for old TV I've watched, because they're fun and possibly even useful, if only to inform people of things to avoid. :-D)

So, what is it? Enemy at the Door is a 1978-80 UK drama series about the German Occupation of the (British) Channel Islands in WWII, focusing on Guernsey (and the fictional Martel family). It stars Alfred Burke, Bernard Horsfall and Simon Cadell with Antonia Pemberton, Emily Richard, Simon Lack, John Malcolm, Richard Heffer, Helen Shingler and David Waller. It was created and script-edited by Michael Chapman, produced by Tony Wharmby and written by Michael Chapman, James Doran, NJ Crisp, Kenneth Clark and John Kershaw. There are 2 series of 13x 50 min episodes (26 in all). It is out on DVD (definitely in Regions 1 &2); it is not on YouTube at the moment, though. (It was repeated on Yesterday, a freeview channel here in the UK last year, so it may get another turn.)

If you're not keen on old UK TV, then this obviously isn't for you. If, however, you are, and you are interested in well-written, well-played, low-key drama, WWII generally, or what happened to the Channel Islands in particular, then it may well be. Sadly, it was cancelled before they reached the end of the War, but what there is of it is well worth watching. Also, while it was shown pre-Watershed over 30 years ago (so there's very little they can actually show in terms of blood, violence etc.), it does deal with a lot of difficult subjects (very well generally): execution, imprisonment, depression, multiple suicide attempts, shooting, murder, possible rape, and beatings/interrogations.

Why, you may ask, especially after that cheery list of warnings? Well, it depends. If you want a lot of action and battles and other such fast-moving set-pieces, again, it's not going to deliver. But it explores its historical subject pretty accurately and also takes advantage of that situation to explore the ethical dilemmas of occupation from both sides with subtlety and intelligence and three-dimensional characters, and that's what's so great about it.

You chaps have commandeered my kitchen! )

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