Splitting the Audience

Television

So we begin with something that seems to have divided viewers from the comments I have seen…

Personally I thoroughly enjoyed this but I can see where people who had not watched all the previous series struggled with it. The idea of him taking a Victorian case to act as a form of mind palace was inspired and my only complaint is damn that Moffat and I hold Mark Gatiss equally responsible that I might have to wait a while year for another episode. I appreciate it involves scheduling these big name stars together but come on boys you could have at least had it written by now instead of being about to just start work on it. I do enjoy the way they play with the modern and canon views of Holmes and the juxtaposition of other characters both as plot devices and reflections of the roles they would have been expected to maintain in the the Victorian era fascinating.  One bonus feature was the inclusion of a quick clip of The Woman aka Irene Adler and for those who are interested I had read a very interesting article you can find here speculating as to whether she could have in fact been based on a real person.

Film

This week there is no film, I sat racking my brains trying to think of one I have watched this week but the truth is there hasn’t been one. However you still get a clip, this was on over Christmas and though I didn’t watch it I, like a while generation or two probably know the whole thing more or less word for word, when it was on a friend commented on Facebook just how amazing to think this film is now over 75 years old and it just goes to show you cannot reproduce true star quality, no matter how many remakes, reboots or spin offs they try to make only one person will ever truly be Dorothy.

Youtube

I love these even when they are picking at songs I quite like lol

Song

I love both the song and the video for this

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Television Tuesday – What have you been watching?

It has been a strange week and at first I thought I had watched nothing then realised I had lol but I am curious to know what show are you loving at the minute? The monster had been counting down to the return of the Doctor and you just know that is going to feature in future weeks but as the first one is a two parter I shall leave it to discuss both parts together…

Television

So this week I needed to catch up on some recorded programmes…

First sorry I could not find a trailer or a clip but I am pretty sure you will either have turned off fairly quickly or had a good rant at the television. I have only had one issue with neighbours and it was short lived, I cannot believe the depths some people will sink to in order to deliberately intimidate and destroy their neighbours and at the same time am amazed by others who cannot see they have done anything wrong.

So many times we seem to witness actions where we point out if you had written it in a book no one would find it believable, you cannot fathom the rational where a person spends their time obsessing over how to make their neighbours lives a misery but this seems to be something that is becoming increasingly the case.  I guess it is one of the downsides to technology that it gives people more ways to stalk, harass and persecute other people be it by social media or installing cameras to spy, yes it can be good and provide the evidence of wrong doing but it is sad we find ourselves increasingly in a world where people are always on the offensive or defensive and seems to forget that life is too short for worrying about someone else’s life and to get on with making the best of their own.

Film

Now lots of you will remember my bitching about Maleficent , so it might surprise you my daughter got me to watch this..

I actually quite enjoyed it but my one real gripe, was the attempt to give the evil stepmother justification for her ill feeling towards Cinderella.  Now I totally understand the need for understanding behaviour in characters, especially in true murder and thriller but this is a fairy tale, the bitch is just supposed to be ‘evil’, we don’t need to understand her, feel sorry for her or understand in depth layers of her personality, it is not her story.  Okay rant over, overall I enjoyed it, I confess I am curious to see how they manage the ‘live’ action version of Beauty and the Beast am guessing that the way we are going with this needing to justify everyone’s actions the Beast will be lying on a couch with Lumiere acting as his shrink though.

Youtube

If you don’t follow rugby league you might not understand the emotion of this one…

Danny Jones played for a team local to me, a former Huddersfield Giants player Paul March was his coach at Keighley Cougars.  I know Paul from his Giants day he is a really nice bloke and it is through knowing him that his becomes even more real to me than if it had been a player there were not tenuous connections to. You see what the connection gave me was the opportunity to see real outpourings of grief, not just for a young man who died while playing a sport but for his family, for twin babies who will never know their dad.  In a time when people are becoming increasingly selfish and more worried about their own it has been amazing to see the community pull together, buckets appeared at grounds all over not just his home ground, people threw in their change and even a few pennies has made a difference to create a trust fund for the twins. There is not the money in rugby that you see in football, the careers are often shorter and leave longer lasting injury problems but in terms of heart there is no comparison, you don’t have to worry about taking your kids to a rugby match, you don’t have to worry about being in town on a match day, family is everything to the rugby community. You can read more about the story here, but what I find most heartwarming is in the face of her own grief Lizzie’s priority is making heart test mandatory for every semi-pro player up and making sure that another family never has to go through her heartache if it can be prevented.

Television Tuesday – Rewatching but still ending up in tears.

Television

This week it seems there is a theme as everything I have watched that I decided to talk about here is something I have watched before and yes blubbed over more than once.  So the television programme this week was…

I purposely only included a clip because I don’t want you to hold me accountable for you spending an hours sitting watching it but most episodes are up on Youtube.  I love this show! Now as someone researching their family tree, I know that no way is it this easy for us mere mortals to find our family records but it is interesting to see the different resources available and to see what they find out.  The clip I included was one that did make me tear up, knowing the stories is one thing seeing the evidence in black and white is totally different, and knowing that had it not been for one quirk of fate your own existence would have never been, must have been incredibly difficult to think about.  The thing is it is the same for every single one of us, had my granddad not been a prisoner of war he would not have contracted TB then my grandma would never have met him, bang one side of my family gone and there are similar what ifs at every stage.  The same is true for the characters we create, and while our readers may not need to know every single thing about their back stories I do believe it makes us write better characters if we know why they act the way they do.

Film

I am pretty sure this film needs no introduction…

My daughter made me rewatch this and for the millionth time the tears flowed as the King dies, ooopps spoilers!

The thing about this story is really about the complexities of characters, the King is what we would consider a barbarian, his way of life is different to our own but more than that the values he upholds are ones we cannot condone.  When you think about it is is a debate which still rages through the world today, in some countries it is caste systems, in others religion and in many gender is still the main cause for sections of certain societies being mistreated.  The King and I is a story about hope and redemption, proof even the barbarian has his endearing qualities and can be prevailed upon and hope that younger generations will step forward and make changes for the better.  In writing it would be easy to write a bad guy who is simply that, bad with no redeeming qualities, someone born evil.  But what is more interesting is the guy who does bad things, the guy who could have been the hero had things taken a different path.

Youtube

Okay this may have a few of you scratching your head, how can a video of someone’s shopping in a Lush store relate to writing well bear with me, I promise you it is not just that I love their bath products…

The reason I picked this is when it comes to writing there is one thing we often forget to go into and that is smell. we talk about what our characters can feel, see and hear in almost every sentence but it is the addition of the two remaining senses taste and smell that often get neglected.  Taste is harder to convey unless a character is eating or drinking and then it has to be done by using basics such as sweet, sour, or by referring to foods which everyone is likely to have tasted but smell allows for much more.  If you mention Lily of the Valley to anyone my age most of us will think of two things, grandmas and childhood perfumes, the smell evokes certain memories and many people will automatically understand our meaning.  But it is not just floral scents if you talk about the acrid smell of burning rubber immediately the reader identifies and can almost smell it themselves.  The sense of smell can be one of the most provocative and as a writer it can be a powerful tool for drawing your readers into a story.

Television Tuesday – A Parents Worst Nightmare

First you will notice a new name and new header for this post and new headers for a few other posts, these are still a work in progress and any feedback is greatly appreciated, I am trying to make the blog look more professional ready for when I start publishing but anyway on with the shows…

Television

The series I am going for today is The Crimes That Shook Britain series and more specifically the episode featuring Beverley Allitt…

Those in the UK are more than likely familiar with the case for those in other countries the case may be less well known.  What is really horrifying about this case is not that she killed children, though of course that is horrible it is sadly not uncommon, no what makes this shocking is that she does it as she is supposed to be caring for them.  When your child is ill you are a mess, when that illness takes them to hospital you feel doubly helpless, you have to rely and trust the professionals around you to do what is needed to make your child better.  I know there will be people who will say that they would not leave their childs side but until you have been in that position let me tell you you have no idea.  As much as you want to you have to step away, be it to make calls letting the rest of the family know what is happening, to go to the bathroom or to run and grab a coffee or something to eat, there are those few minutes when you nip out believing your child is in the best hands possible.  That was when this woman struck.

If you were writing this character it would be hard to make it believable, why would someone with no feelings for the suffering of others go into a caring profession? It has been suggested mental illness but then you have to wonder why no one picked it up quicker given she worked in a hospital.  The truth is sometimes not matter what explanations are given, what reasoning is used, you cannot understand another persons actions, sometimes you have to accept evil is simply evil no matter what label is hung on it.

Film

This is a film I watched with my daughter when she was younger so it was fitting she was here when we watched it the other day.  I have heard suggestions that it is going to be remade but I hope not there are far to many remakes for my liking at the minute especially given the abundance of creativity and originality out there if someone would just take a chance.

Now unless you were or had a teenage daughter in the 90’s there is a good chance you will not have watched this, but it is basically a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma. Now as you know I am not a fan of reworkings of other stories but this one takes the plot outline and uses it to tell a basic story but transforms it to a modern setting.  It works because of the amount of changes made and the elements of the story it has used are not forced into the story but are so subtle that if you do not know the original you lose nothing.  Yes it is dated now and will probably be remade but it is a classic film of its age.

Youtube

I am a huge fan of supporting kickstarter campaigns for truly innovative ideas whenever possible and I got to know my FB friend Clare Eden through the Minister of Chance project so when she sent out the word of a new project I was just as thrilled to get involved. The project Strangeness in Space features Trev & Simon who those from the UK will be acquainted with and Sophie Aldred who played Ace in the classic series of Doctor Who.  The clip that follows was a little bit of fun at Brit Con but for those interested in learning more about the project you can click here.

Tellybox Tuesday – is TiVo Effecting Viewing?

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It has been a strange week between housework, writing and feeling sorry for myself because the monster shared his cold with me I have hardly watched any TV.  The thing is that I will not actually miss out on watching the shows I love thanks to TiVo recording them but is this actually always a good thing?  I remember certain shows in that past that my friends and I would never miss, Friends is actually a good example, we would frequently try to arrange to meet up at one house to watch it so the discussions could start straight away but if not there would be excuses to chat and catch up for several days after.  Today unless it is a live event then you can often find yourself starting a conversation only for another person to ask you to stop as they haven’t watched it yet. “Spoilers!” now has to be added at the start of many online conversations for certain programmes.  I do wonder whether if the invention of catch up TV and recordable cable boxes is always a good thing, on the one hand I can watch what I want when I want but on the other hand does the fact that you don’t have to rush home to get the TV on for a certain time take away part of the excitement about a show?  Anyway enough waffling from me so what have I watched this week…

Amanda Burton’s Killer Forensic’s

I have to be honest was really disappointed by this, it portrays itself as a programme focusing mainly on the forensics however I did not feel that it was any different from a hundred other crime shows, I had high hopes given the level of detail that was featured in Prime Suspect when Amanda starred in it.  As crime shows go it is okay and does feature lesser known crimes that you probably have not heard of but nothing special.

Autopsy

I have watched a couple of episode of this previously examining the deaths of Elvis and Michael Jackson, this week was the turn of Karen Carpenter.  I like this series because it does not just accept that is written on the death certificate but actually examines all the medical evidence plus witness evidence to the events leading up to a death and explains how the contributed.  You probably won’t find any shock revelations watching this series but you will find out things that are interesting for example a few weeks before her death Karen was admitted to hospital and force fed intravenously, her family thought she was doing okay but traces of drugs that are used to purge the body were found and something I did not realise was that despite the persistent rumours of eating disorders that laxatives were not tested for at her autopsy.

I am going to leave it there for this week as I want to go do my February round up and get a couple of other posts ready for you, the Vlog will have to wait until Friday as I kept sneezing and coughing while trying to film it, which was not good lol

Telly Box Tuesday – Survival

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This week I am going to just concentrate on two of the programmes I have been watching, partly as after a busy week I have had to watch on catch up and secondly because I did not realise that one of the programmes had multiple episodes within the week.

First up Wolf Hall…

The end of last week saw Cromwell fall into the arms of his late wife’s sister who is also married this week they must end the relationship as her mother has discovered the truth but his personal life is nothing to the intrigue which is beginning to grip the court.

Allegations are made against Anne Boleyn by an ex admirer Henry Percy, who claims they were betrothed, Anne would eventually fall foul of the rumours when she failed to produce a son, but for now it is Cromwell who comes to her aid.

It is interesting watching the portrayal of Anne of Cleeves, watching a woman fight for her marriage, unable to see that fate is against her. One wonders if she had known the fate which awaited her successors she would have accepted her own fate of banishment more easily.  It is so easy for us to forget at times that what we watch as a drama and history was once the real lives of those involved.  We are again entering an age where religion is focused more on being divisive than uniting people, sadly maybe it reflects that certain elements of society have not developed and still believe their belief in their own deity gives them the right to judge and inflict pain and suffering on others be that pain mental or physical. We watch historical dramas for pleasure but possibly we should look to take more from them and be reminded of the horrors of the past to remind us from where we have come.

Next up 10000BC

There were two programmes this week, not sure if that will be the same every week or if this is just because it is early days…

I really like the idea of this while fully accepting I could not do it.  Only a couple of days in and the squabbling as started, there are people who believe they know better than the instructors and rather than following the advice they have been given decide to hunt large animals straight away rather than getting to grips with smaller animals first.  Some of the arguments are to really be expected when you put a group of strangers together but it does not bode well that they cannot discuss and resolve a simple issue such as talking too loudly at night without it threatening to boil over.

The camp already is divided between the huts but the one issue they are united on is the desire for food. Some have already started consuming more than there fair share. The one issue that made me feel queasy was that someone had actually defecated in camp rather than going to the assigned toilet area, this is only four days in to the eight week stay and does not show either the respect for their camp mates or consideration for the general health of the group.

The second episode of the week sees them reach breaking point, a fishing party fails to add to their meagre resources and the lack of food takes it toll on morale.  I think that in some ways is the part that most of us would find hard initially, after all most of us only have to walk to the kitchen to grab something to eat, the increase in urban foxes and seagulls in land is a testament to the amount of food we throw away on a daily basis. I know that the human body can obviously survive on far less than most of us eat each day but the fact in this show they are having to switch to an almost starvation diet and do more physical labour than most are used to does seem a little bit of a failing, maybe they should have been holed up somewhere for a week or two first and had their food intake gradually reduced, it would have made the social experiment more valid though of course made less exciting TV.  Personally remove my caffeine cold turkey and I would probably have beaten a fellow camp mate to death with a tree branch Fawlty Towers style.

Telly Box Tuesday – Entering the Stone Age

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Once more I have been watching more murder programmes but rather than bore you discussing those again there are three other programmes I have been watching this week…

First up The Voice…

This is another one of those talent shows where many times I find the auditions more exciting than the actual competition at times, I do like it that it is based on talent rather than a cute smile, the right look or a sob story, at least initially though of course they do play a part when the public get involved and start voting.  I am not convinced by new judge Rita Ora yet, I should imagine we will see what she is really made of when she starts the actual coaching process, right now she seems a little too laid back for my liking especially given her lack of experience compared to her competitors.  I think she is really going to need to tough up to get the best out of her team and to cope with the process of watching them leave.  The clip I have picked is not from this weeks show but from what may be my favourite to go through so far this year…

Next up Wolf Hall…

Last week I found Cromwell more human than history normally portrays him but this week we see him being to emerge as someone determined to protect his own position when the chips are down.  To be fair he does stand by his friend Cardinal Wolsey for as long as possible and far longer than many others, but realistically he could do no more.  I think having a more personal depiction of him makes it far easier to understand why he is so determined to become someone and hold an exulted position, though of course his lowly birth is frequently thrown back at him and this week we learn exactly what he was escaping when he fled abroad.  It would be hard enough to acknowledge a father of low birth but that his was also a drunken bully as well, I found the scene showing one of his fathers attacks quite hard to watch.  Here is one of the trailers for next week…

I just want to say a quick word about casting, I could never understand the appeal of Henry VIII, he had all these wives and mistresses and I understand that marriage could be political and saying no to a king was not easy but many history books play up his appeal and I just never saw it but the portrayal by Damien Lewis sort of has me starting to get it.  It is not about looks I do not fancy the actor but rather the way he plays the king makes you understand how that balance of power and charisma could charm the ladies at court and make him a catch.

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Finally for the writers out there a quick Q & A but the writer of the novels which the series is based on as well as a couple of others involved in the production…

The final show for this week 10000BC

This is a new reality show/social experiment and the reason this post is late as I was watching it last night.  I am fascinated by these type of living history programmes and it will be interesting to see how modern man copes living like our stone age counterparts, the first episode they are given a head start with experts on hand to help and some food and shelter provided but already they are two people down.  It certainly promises to get more intense as the programme continues so I shall let you know next week if I am hooked by it.