Filed under: Arts, bbc, books, creativity, photography, tv | Tags: BBC, bbc costume drama, BBC Drama, Chris O'Dowd, michel faber, romola garai, the crimson petal and the white
I love Michel Faber’s writing and it’s a toss up between this and Under The Skin for his greatest work. The two could be no more different; Under the Skin is a taught contemporary sci fi horror set in Scotland and this; an 800 page monstrous take on Dickensian Victorian London.
Both are really great books and consequently both run the risk of taking a good pasting when put on screen.
There has been many year’s of talk that TCPATW would be Hollywood-made and for a while rumour had it that Kirsten Dunst was to be the heroine, Sugar. However it fell eventually to the BBC to make this near epic adaptation. I say near epic because big and bold as it was I think it had even greater potential.
The previews did not make great reading; the panel on Newsnight Review, with the honourable exception of Maureen Lipman, annihilated it, so I approached fearing the worst.
I needn’t have worried.
The, at times, over tricksy focus pulling in the camera work was a bit heavy handed but this was overcome on balance because otherwise it was excellent (moody, creepy, almost surreal in places and beautifully emphasised by a particularly odd (in a good way) score written by newcomer Cristobal Tapai de Veer).
The set and costumes are astounding and the acting of the entire cast, but Particularly Chris O’Dowd (the IT team) and Romola Garai were of BAFTA winning standards, and had to be to pull it off.
In particular O’Dowd’s tortured portrayal of sappy rich boy William Rackham is magnificent. It’s as if he can’t decide how to play the role, but that’s just how Faber wrote it. In the end he comes across as merely a weak sap who is only in it for himself. Perhaps he cannot help it as we frequently see when he is led astray by his particularly vulgar “friends”.
Romola Garai, by contrast, is nailed to the tracks in the conviction of her character, as the upwardly mobile Sugar; pulling herself out of the stench thanks to the interest of Rackham who gradually exalts her social profile in a London where status was everything (and boy did she have status in the underworld, starting off as the top prostitute in London). Her gritty but sometimes tender performance is the beating heart of the book and this ultimately excellent adaptation.
It’s still on iplayer but I’d wait for the DVD and splash out.
For me it would play out better as an epic four hour movie rather than a four part TV series.
Wonderful. Bring on the BAFTAs. (And the Emmys).
Filed under: humour, politics, Scotland, life, stories, UK election, Labour, conservative, liberal | Tags: BBC, SNP, alex salmon, leaders debate
Salmond’s challenging of the SNP’s right to be in the leadership debate is at the very least entertaining and at best an interesting constitutional call. I’m in favour of him winning the court case I have to say.
He has two reasons for justifying his claim;
- He has managed a coalition with little fuss for three years
- He governs 10% of the country
Filed under: Rants, tv | Tags: BBC, john humphries, mastermind, Question Time
He is a poor imitation of Magnuss Magnusson and now he is a parlous imitation of David Dimbleby.
Please BBC, spare us this torment.
Filed under: Arts, humour, jokes, life, movies, politics, Rants, stories | Tags: Afghanistan, Alistair campbell, armando iannucci, BBC, in the loop, iraq, Peter Capaldi, political correctness, the crossest man in Scotland
In the Loop is a quite extraordinary political romp. I say romp because the film does 0 -60 in three seconds and then stays in top gear to the end, smashing through red lights, taboo barriers, and political incorrectness like a deranged Starsky and Hutch.
It’s a political satire, sure, and so in that respect it should be compared to West Wing or Yes Minister, but both of these are so relatively genteel that they occupy very different spaces.
The central character, The Minister for Development played beautifully by Tom Hollander, bumbles his way deeper and deeper into an international crisis that is a nod and a wink to Bush and Blair’s hapless invasion of Iraq. The star of the movie though, is Peter Capaldi, unquestionably lampooning Alistair Campbell with a ferociousness that makes your eyes bleed. At one point he threatens to sever hapless Toby Wright’s leg off at the knee, break his shin bone in two and stab him to death with it.
You get the drift?
Capaldi puts in a career best performance as a complete and utter bastard. Power mad and every second he is on screen is gold dust.
Armando Iannucci’s script is packed full of foul one-liners that serve up belly laugh after belly laugh. It actually makes In Bruges look restrained.
9 out of 10.
This clip pretty much sums the movie up. But beware, it is wholly intended to offend and features that C word that many of you find most unappealing.
Or try this. It’s misogynistic, foul mouthed in the extreme, rude, violent, sexist and with a reference to bestiality thrown in.
Apart from that it’s perfectly innocent.
Filed under: Arts, humour, jokes, politics, Scotland, stories, Uncategorized | Tags: alex salmond, BBC, salmond. children in need, terry wogan
Political leaders do not usually demonstrate this level of humour. His critics will call it a stunt. Me? I call it personality. The fritters gag’s sweet.
Filed under: books, humour, life, Rants, stories | Tags: andrew sachs, BBC, Brand and Ross, jonathon ross, my booky wook, Ross and brand, russel brand, the jonathon ross show
The furore over the childish prank fashioned by Jonathon Ross as guest presenter on the Russel Brand show is appropriate.
As it happens, I am currently reading Brand’s autobiography and in it (early days so far) he comes across as not far short of mentally ill. He has conquered drink and drug addiction but his sex addiction is far from cured.
And, actually, it’s not funny.
It seems to stem from a childlife immersed in porn and the overseeing of his father’s sexual proclivity. In this paragraph, recounting an experience from a holiday at Pontins as a seven year old where he spies his father about to ‘have it off’ with the mother of the girl Brand is hanging about with you can see the complexity of Brand’s relationship with sex. It’s great material because the metaphor that forms the basis of this tale is sad, but outstanding…
“…at that point the woman walked out of the bathroom naked and shrieked. She tried to cover herself up – all knockers and skin everywhere almost independently trying to escape her – like she was a vet’s assistant bungling her way through her first day, mishandling a litter of recalcitrant piglets…Intriguing I thought.”
I think my point is that Brand almost can’t help himself. He has a problem that perhaps needs to be understood as opposed to vilified. It’s the basis of much of his humour, but we all know how many comedians are tortured souls (no question Brand is).
Ross, on the other hand, is a trumped up chance-taker. He revels in titillation of a homo or hetero style. He flirts outrageously with every single guest on his much overrated TV show whilst declaring undying love to his long suffering wife. (His radio programme is far superior.)
It was Ross that initiated the badness, in my view spiced up by the frisson of danger that hosting Brand’s, The BBC’s enfent terrible, show might have afforded him. It was him that told poor old Andrew Sachs that Brand had had sexual relations with his granddaughter. I believe Brand just went with the flow, (not that I’m endorsing his behaviour I have to say).
It’s all rather sad. And I do think both of them need a bollocking. Brand for being stupid. But Ross in particular, the perhaps calculating ringleader and school bully.
But you just know, don’t you, that a bit of grovelling, a charity cheque or two will smooth the whole thing over.
Filed under: music, tv, videos, Youtube | Tags: BBC, Jools, jools holland, sia
I really hope Sia’s second album is
a) as good as her first and
b) as good as the lead single.
Filed under: Arts, family, humour, life, music, Scotland | Tags: BBC, bbc 6 music bbc radio 6, freakzone, radio, stuat maconie
I was well chuffed last night as Stuart Maconie read out my two emails to him the week before. You can listen if you like here. I was mentioned at 6.36 which is, I think, 1 hour 36 minutes in.
Filed under: Arts, humour, jokes, life, politics, stories, tv | Tags: BBC, britain, comed, David Walliams, little britain USA, matt Lucas, tv, UK, usa
Well, that’ll never work.
Actually it did.
Crude. Shocking. Outrageous. Hilarious.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: BBC, bbc 6 music, electronica, experimental music, freakzone, stuart maconie
Is it just me or is Stuart Maconie’s Freakzone not the best programme on the radio. There is ALWAYS something new and interesting to hear. He’s not afraid to play 30 minute tracks every now and then. He is knowledgeable, likeable and tasteful
6 Music. Every Sunday at 5pm.
Tune in or drop out.
Filed under: Arts, life, stories | Tags: BBC, BBC Drama, Fiona's Story, Gina McKee
Give the BBC their due. I know I’ve ranted a bit about their Olympic bias but they sure can do drama and despite mixed notices in front of tonight’s Fiona’s Story I thought it was outstanding.
Mind you, it had Gina McKee as the lead and she cannot put a foot wrong in my book. An A-class actress indeed and she carried off a very difficult and sensitive role with great subtlety.
It was a complex emotional plot, based on McKee’s husband being nobbled (no pun intended) for downloading child porn and then gradually attempting to take the emotional high ground by assuming the position of victim as opposed to perpetrator. McKee’s character, the wife, got landed with all the emotional shit and painted into the bad corner at every turn, despite being as sympathetic as one could possibly tolerate.
A very fine performance (BAFTA anyone?) in a very fine production.
Filed under: bieijing olympics, humour, jokes, life, olympics, Rants, sports, stories, tv | Tags: BBC, michael johnson, michael phelps, sue barker, usain bolt
Usain Bolt once again bolted up, this time in the 200m final, becoming the only man ever to set world records in the 100 and 200m Olympic finals in the same year. He destroyed the field again. What an incredible pair of performances.
In doing so he robbed Michael Johnson of his 200m World Record and Johnson responded, when asked by Sue Barker on the BBC tonight how he thought Bolt compared to Phelps (if one can even make a genuine comparison ) by saying, and I kid you not that (and I paraphrase) “Bolt had a far greater impact because Phelps never ‘rewrote’ anything.”
Och man. Have a word with yourself
He won eight gold medals, more than any other human being EVER. To add to his six from the last Olympics. That’s 14 Gold medals. What’s more he broke six world records.
Now, I’m not comparing the two but to say Phelps never rewrote anything smacks of a collosal ego.
What the subscript says is this.
“Bolt is great because he beat MY long standing world record.”
Filed under: life, olympics, politics, Rants, sports, stories, tv | Tags: BBC, london 2012, olympics
Why oh why oh why does every event in Beijing have to allude to 2012 in London. Please just let us enjoy these Olympics.
You know what it is. It’s Britain’s endless ability to see itself as superior to the rest of the world. And they’re scared. These Olympics have been astoundingly good. Forget the politics for a moment. It has been a feast of sport in magnificent facilities with an opening ceremony that you simply could not have conceived of. So what does the BBC do? It projects forward to 2012 in such a way that makes this Olympiad seem of secondary importance.
It insults me.
It insults Britain’s Olympic team.
It insults Beijing.
Filed under: humour, life, sports, stories | Tags: asymetric bars, BBC, Beijing olympics, beth downie, beth tweddle, Christine Still, gymnastics, gymnastics at olympics, olympics, women's gymnastics
We watched Beth Tweddle kick the lower bar in her qualifying routine but still qualify. ( i think it was a secret part of her routine that added to the degree of difficulty. I mean, it would have been much easier to miss it!)
But the thing that gets me is those blokes that dive in and about the poor lassies’ feet in case they fall off
It’s my contention that it’s not despite these crazy guys that they fall off it’s because of them.
GET OUT OF THE FLIPPIN’ WAY YOU BIG GALLOOTS!
You didn’t see that big British lass, Becky Downie, using one of those ‘catchers’ – she’d have flattened the poor gadgey. And she never fell off.
The highlight of the competition was listening to that female English commentator (Christine Still) willing, really willing, the French to fall over on every piece of apparatus so that England could qualify.
The sense of hollow compliments as time and again the French did a bit better than they needed to was hilarious.
“Yes (I suppose) that was very good (bitch)” She’d proclaim through teeth more gritted than the M8 in a snowstorm as another French burd got a 14.3 or thereabouts.
“We only need one of them to have a cardiac and the English are through.” she said at one point. (Nah, she didn’t but she might as well.)
Filed under: Arts, life, photography | Tags: august sander, BBC, BBC4, Germanic, germany, history of photography, portraits, Portraiture, war, war photography, World War 2, WWII
BBC4 is running an unbelievably good series on the history of photography called “the Genius of Photography”.
It is unmissable.
And this week one of the featured photographers was new to me (I’m ashamed to say)
Nevertheless he is wonderful and I’d like to share his work with you.
A German called August Sander who shot some of the most stunning portraits of the inter-war years.
Here are just a few.
This man is focussed.
I love the humour in this shot.
I believe this is the seminal Sander shot and I can see why…
And so is this…
I found this and love it…