So Downton Abbey is back for another series.
In the interests of marital harmony, we watch Inspector George Gently ‘live’ whilst we eat supper after church on Sunday night, and I record DA for another time when Bob is busy. I am not too bothered, as I also think Martin Shaw is a great actor, and I can catch up with Hugh Bonneville later.
And I adore Maggie Smith’s ascerbic lines – I think Julian Fellowes has very successfully crossed Oscar Wilde with Dorothy Parker for some brilliant ripostes and bon mots. No I am not 100% convinced of its historical veracity – but actually I don’t care – it is entertainment!
I know that Benedict Cumberbatch has been very scathing about Downton - fortunately Julian Fellowes has reacted most graciously to BC’s ‘atrocious’ comment [here] It is not really fair of people to compare DA with BC’s current offering of “Parade’s End” The latter is much more demanding- nay hard-going - to watch.
With DA you can nip out to go to the loo, or pop the kettle on, and not miss too much. With PE I find I have to concentrate on every scrap of plotline and dialogue. But I am utterly gripped by it. The story is about a civil servant, Christopher Tietjen [played by BC] and his wife Sylvia [Rebecca Hall] I confess I have not read anything by Ford Madox Ford [what a daft name – not his original moniker. At least Jerome Klapka Jerome was saddled with his title from birth] Therefore I do not know if the wonderful lines are from FMF or Tom Stoppard’s adaptation.
Tietjen's comparison of the noise on the Western Front to a "wet canvas being shaken out by a giant" is brilliantly evocative
– and I am still grinning about his wife’s description of her rival, the enthusiastic young suffragette Miss Wannop, as “that scrub-faced ladies champion of the Regular Bowel Movement”
And what a stellar cast- Rupert Everett, Rufus Sewell, Miranda Richardson, Geoffrey Palmer...
The final instalment is tonight [if you didn’t watch the first four, don’t bother with this, it will probably make no sense whatsoever] but thus far I have enjoyed it far more than I expected to.
I suspect I shall probably appreciate ITV’s “Mr Selfridge” in the new year a little more. That is another piece set in the Edwardian era. More servants and shopping…
My grandmother was lady’s maid to Lady Gamage – wife of Lord Gamage of Gamage’s – the other big London Department store, situated in Holborn.
Allegedly it was Harry Gordon Selfridge who coined the phrases “Only X shopping days till Christmas” and “The Customer is Always Right”
I suspect I am watching too much TV at the minute! And when not ensconced in the Edwardian Era and WW1, I am stuck in WW2 and its aftermath [The Wartime Farm, and The Bletchley Circle]
What’s your current favourite TV series?