29 Jul 2017

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 )

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