lost_spook: (suzanne neve)
[personal profile] lost_spook
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.







Scotland Yard and France's finest amateur detective are baffled!




The only downside was that it was quite hard to get any good shots of Suzanne rather than her hats.

Anyway, that was a thing that I shall no doubt rewatch on several occasions.

Date: 29 Jul 2017 08:44 pm (UTC)
jekesta: Franky Doyle's prisoner picture (Franky)
From: [personal profile] jekesta
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Beatrice/SisterUlrica is my ONE TRUEST OF TRUE slash pairings of all time. They are probably one of only three femslash pairings that I think actually have proper emotion in them and that I love for what they are, not waht they almost are. I can't even get over Stephanie COle and her emotions, I nearly didn't make it through tenko because oh my god, but it's beautiful, and they're just so amazing at love, and they're complicated and real and beautiful, and make me want to tear things up. I will not tell you everything I love about them, but if you ever want pictures and quotes to PROVE THEIR VERY LOVE, I wrote a stupidly long post about them, here.

Date: 29 Jul 2017 09:39 pm (UTC)
jekesta: Peter (from Franklin and Bash) sprinkles sparkling lights over Jared's head (sprinkle)
From: [personal profile] jekesta
I loved all the religion stuff in tenko, and how hard it was for Beatrice. I loved it when Rose was ill, and Beatrice had to kill her, and then everyone else got to be comforted by the idea that God was merciful when actually God was nothing, but Beatrice couldn't say it because she didn't want to give them pain but she just had to have that pain herself, and asdhfoiwejfdsd, I don't know, I just love her so much. She's by far one of the best female characters ever created. I might have to rewatch her.

Date: 29 Jul 2017 08:53 pm (UTC)
john_amend_all: (marple)
From: [personal profile] john_amend_all
In the original story, Miss Mackail's counterpart is Mr Macpherson, and he outwits Valmont and the police in much the same way. But he doesn't flirt with the detectives or wear elaborate hats.

Date: 29 Jul 2017 11:40 pm (UTC)
damzel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] damzel
Your description of Tenko is catnip to me...

Date: 31 Jul 2017 09:58 pm (UTC)
damzel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] damzel
I checked the UK TV player, but it's not up there at the moment. I'll keep an eye out though: Drama do seem to repeat regularly!

Date: 30 Jul 2017 03:07 am (UTC)
hyarrowen: (Swan)
From: [personal profile] hyarrowen
Tenko is brilliant, but hard going... I re-watched the first series a couple of years back and that was all I could cope with. But I used to know a Dutch lady who spent time in a Japanese prison camp when she was a child, and she said it was very true to life.

Date: 30 Jul 2017 01:33 pm (UTC)
liadtbunny: (Bulman fishing)
From: [personal profile] liadtbunny
Well done for watching Tenko: it looks too hard going for me. Melancholic Tudors are my limit. I'm glad you've got something shiny for YT too.

Yay for hats!

Date: 31 Jul 2017 03:44 pm (UTC)
liadtbunny: (Richard III Innocent)
From: [personal profile] liadtbunny
I'm sure there's worse than 'Secret Army' though I might not try to investigate that theory;p

Date: 2 Aug 2017 02:35 pm (UTC)
liadtbunny: (Richard III Innocent)
From: [personal profile] liadtbunny
I can understand not wanting to fall in love again as it can be hard work keeping two obsessions running at once! Not sure about the gloomy, but I'm glad SA's merry character killing ways are keeping you happy;p It is true by the time the black death turned up I didn't think it was that bad in SA terms.

Shakespeare is trying to savage me to death with his comedy. The only comedy I like is in Henry VI;p

EatD is too cheerful for me now!

Date: 30 Jul 2017 06:06 pm (UTC)
aralias: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aralias
the rivals of sherlock holmes sounds intriguing - i await more news on this :)

Date: 31 Jul 2017 02:40 pm (UTC)
whuffle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whuffle
Heya, is there a good way for you and I to have a quick AO3 wrangling chat at some point?

Date: 31 Jul 2017 06:14 pm (UTC)
thisiszircon: The Seventh Doctor admires one of Ace's best features. (doctor who)
From: [personal profile] thisiszircon
Tenko was my very first drama obsession. In the actual eighties. Way before interwebs and fanfic and being able to talk to other fans. I adored the show when I was about 11 (and probably a bit too young, really, to be watching and appreciating storylines like Rose's tragedy). I've never lost my love for Tenko.

The novelisations are worth trying to get your hands on. They aren't spectacularly well written or anything, but some of the plots that were watered down on screen are treated more realistically in the novels.

In the last year or two a brilliant book was brought out on the series, with some fascinating historic detail about just how much work it took to get the series commissioned in the first place. It's called Remembering Tenko and it is by Andy Priestner.

I love Bea. (How can you not love Stephanie Cole in everything she has ever done?) But the character that always intrigued me the most was one quite a bit less likeable. If I ever wrote fic for Tenko, I'd probably make it Dorothy-centric.

Love that you have found and embraced this show!

Oh, and have a smashing visit with your family this week. :)

Date: 1 Aug 2017 06:11 pm (UTC)
arnie1967: (Redflower)
From: [personal profile] arnie1967
Her hats certainly are epic!

I think I saw a bit of Tenko way back when. Stephanie Cole is always awesome.

Date: 1 Aug 2017 11:33 pm (UTC)
clocketpatch: A small, innocent-looking red alarm clock, stuck forever at 10 to 7. (Default)
From: [personal profile] clocketpatch
TENKO!

I watched it a few years ago and was head over heels with how good it is, despite it also being as depressing as all get out, and that thin line it has to walk between drama, respect, and historical accuracy (which as you say, it does a good job with considering when it was made). Bea and Sister Ulrica's interactions were one of my favourite things as well.

I thought about asking for it in Yuletide too, but then I couldn't bring myself to do so, because even though I thoroughly enjoyed the show, asking for fic set in a POW camp felt off.
Edited Date: 1 Aug 2017 11:36 pm (UTC)

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