Sunday 2 December 2018


Not a bad month all in all - 4 TV series completed, a cinema trip, a DVD viewed and a couple of films watched that aired on the small screen in the month... 

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (2018)

Last episode watched and quite faithful to the book. My wife and eldest daughter flagged towards the end of this 10 part adaptation, but I wasn't too bothered. In hindsight it might have been a bit slow with a few episodes where not much seemed to happen, but overall well worth the time invested in my opinion. Patrick Dempsey's my latest man-crush, though I don't think I took to his character. What 30-something year old man, plots a life with a 15 year old?

From Wikipedia......

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is an upcoming American mystery drama television miniseries, based on the novel of the same name by Joël Dicker, that is set to premiere on Epix. The series was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and stars Patrick Dempsey, Ben Schnetzer, Damon Wayans Jr., and Virginia Madsen.


The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair follows "a young writer who heads to Harry Quebert’s home for some inspiration. Instead, he finds that Harry’s been accused of murdering 15-year-old Nola Kellergan, who went missing years prior."

Dark Heart (2018) - 6 part ITV drama series

Not amazing, but enjoyable enough - 3 x 2 part stories viewed. A cop with a troubled history (what cop doesn't have one?) and a sister with a few issues and some secrets she's been keeping from him. Story lines concerned, paedophilia and vigilantism, dodgy illegal organ transplants

From Google....

Whilst devoting his life to his work, DI Will Wagstaffe is a man haunted by his past. With his team in the City of London police force, the investigate a series of horrifying attacks and murders.

Killing Eve (2018) - BBC drama

Took a month off from viewing in October and got back to it in November, caning about 5 or 6 episodes over the space of a few night's viewing. I liked it overall - Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are both exceptional. I don't know whether it didn't feel as frenetic towards the end of the series, because of the length of time it took us between starting and finishing the series, or if there's a natural drop off in the pace. It wasn't quite as amusing when Villanelle has less people to kill.

From Google.....

Eve's life as a spy is not adding up to what she had hoped it would be when she started. She is a bored, very smart, MI5 security officer who is very desk-bound. Villanelle is a very talented killer, mercurial in mood, who clings to the luxuries of her job. Eve and Villanelle go head to head in a fierce game of cat and mouse, each woman equally obsessed with the other as Eve is tasked with hunting down the psychopathic assassin. Sarah Barnett, BBCA president, says, " `Killing Eve' stands out in a sea of scripted stories as refreshingly entertaining and great fun."

Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)

A stop-start film, so-far only part-viewed. Tiredness and a touch of not really feeling it caused us to pause it. It might be one to get back to as I do like a shoot 'em up kind of Westerny-type film and there's a few members of the cast I quite like - Willem Dafoe, Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. Johnny Depp has never really floated my boat. It's interesting seeing them all much younger and fresher-faced.

From Google....

Return of the mythic guitar-slinging hero, El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas), in the final installment of the Mariachi/Desperado trilogy. The saga continues as El Mariachi makes his way across a rugged landscape on the blood trail of Barrillo (Willem Dafoe), a cartel kingpin with one last score to settle who is planning a coup d'etat against the president of Mexico. Enlisted by Sands (Johnny Depp), a corrupt CIA agent, El Mariachi demands retribution.

No Trees in the Street (1959)
An okay film spotted on one of my satellite channels in the month. Probably a London setting and a bit of a hark back to the bad old days as most of the action takes place pre-War in 1938... poverty, unemployment, lack of opportunity and the one man in the district who made good is the criminal with his undue influence on Tommy and his desire for her sister. The only guy I was really familiar with was Tommy - Melvyn Hayes who was instantly recognisable. Last spotted in Burma and It Ain't Half Hot Mum

From IMDB.....

Surrounded by new 1950s East End high-rise flats, a London detective thinks back to how different things were in the late 1930s. Then it was an area of overcrowded tenements teeming with impoverished unemployed people with little or no hope. He relates the story of attractive young Hetty who desperately tried to stop her younger brother descending into crime while her mother was endlessly urging her to take up with Wilkie, a smooth local racketeer, in the belief this would get the family out of poverty.

Red Sparrow (2018)

A DVD viewing and one I really liked. Jennifer Lawrence is pretty convincing as a ballerina turned agent. Plenty of twists and turns and lots of brutality on display. I might give the book from Jason Matthews a go. I did also enjoy seeing Charlotte Rampling and Jeremy Irons in action. Rampling is quite chilling.

From IMDB...

Ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to 'Sparrow School,' a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission, targeting a C.I.A. agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.

The Greasy Strangler (2016)

I taped this one a month or two back when I spotted it on mainstream TV. Started watching with the wife and one of my girls and fair to say they were less than impressed.Turned off el pronto and I finished it at a later date on my own. Filth and depravity sums it up. I liked bits of it and it was very, very funny in places. Hard to recommend and not one I'll be buying on DVD as a present for my mum. Maybe my mother-in-law - ha only joking. Ben Wheatley - who my son is a big fan of - has some involvement in this. None of the actors seemed that familiar.

From IMDB....

Ronnie runs a Disco walking tour with his son, Brayden. When a sexy woman takes the tour, it begins a competition between father and son for her love. It also signals the arrival of an oily strangler who stalks the streets at night.

A Star is Born (2018)

A trip to the cinema with the wife for this one. I can't say I needed any tissues at the end but it was really good. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper were both amazing. I would struggle (with the exception of Hangover) to name anything Bradley Cooper has ever done. I just thought he was famous for being Bradley Cooper and popping up once a year at Wimbledon to have his photo taken with Gerard Butler, but I guess I might be wrong. Haven't seen any of the earlier versions of this film and probably don't need to after enjoying this one. A great night out with my better half.

From Google....

Seasoned musician Jackson Maine discovers -- and falls in love with -- struggling artist Ally. She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer until Jackson coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally's career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jackson fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.

Happy Valley (2014) - BBC drama

One I missed first time around, and always kicked myself over. Binge-watched series 1 with the wife over a couple of nights - six episodes in all and I'm glad I did. I would put it on a par with Line of Duty. Sarah Lancashire is pretty bloody amazing and not just a bit scary too. Highly recommended! I'm looking forward to enjoying the second series this month.

From Wikipedia....

Happy Valley is a British crime drama television series filmed and set in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire in Northern England. The series, starring Sarah Lancashire and Siobhan Finneran, is written and created by Sally Wainwright, and directed by Wainwright, Euros Lyn, and Tim Fywell. The first series debuted on BBC One on 29 April 2014, and the second series debuted on 9 February 2016. In May 2015, Happy Valley won the BAFTA Award for Best Drama Series.

Series 1
Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) is a strong-willed police sergeant in West Yorkshire, still coming to terms with the suicide of her teenage daughter, Becky, eight years earlier. Cawood is now divorced from her husband and living with her sister, Clare (Siobhan Finneran), a recovering alcoholic and heroin addict, who is helping her bring up Becky's young son, Ryan (Rhys Connah), the product of rape. Neither Catherine's ex-husband nor their adult son, Daniel, want anything to do with Ryan. Catherine hears that Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton), the man responsible for the brutal rape that impregnated Becky and drove her to suicide shortly after Ryan was born, is out of prison after serving eight years for drug charges. Catherine soon becomes obsessed with finding Royce, unaware that he is involved in the kidnapping of Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy), a plot instigated by Kevin Weatherill (Steve Pemberton) and orchestrated by Ashley Cowgill (Joe Armstrong). Things quickly take a dark turn as the abductors scramble to keep the kidnapping secret, although Catherine is on to them.

* Blogger is acting the dick again with the refusal to save my black text bits, insisting on keeping them blue. Shan't complain too much it is free after all.


  1. I'm glad you've enjoyed the viewing, Col. A couple of series there that I'd like to catch up on, myself (Happy Valley in particular).

    1. Margot you would enjoy Happy Valley for sure I think. I hope you get the chance to watch it.

  2. I must certainly give Happy Valley and the Ricker adaptation a try. I have to confess I was unimpressed by Red Sparrow and thought Greasy Strangler was a complete stinker.

    1. Happy Valley is highly recommended. Red Sparrow worked well for me, maybe one too many twists perhaps but overall a decent hour and a half's viewing. The Greasy Strangler was funny to begin with, but got a bit tiring after a while. I won't be rushing to re-watch it that's for sure.

  3. Col – I’ve enjoyed a lot of Robert Rodriguez’s films – real popcorn movies – but I don’t think I caught this one …… We saw RED SPARROW in the movies. It had the look of the big, lavish, international pictures they made in the 1960s, but I thought the story was kind of cheesy …… Bradley Cooper was in AMERICAN SNIPER directed by Clint Eastwood, a film I would recommend you see …… And I am going to find HAPPY VALLEY. We both enjoyed LINE OF DUTY, which you recommended …… Thanks!

    1. Haooy Valley should be right up your street, Elgin. I shall keep a look out for American Sniper.

  4. I will have to look into Happy Valley. I read RED SPARROW but have not seen the film. Not sure if I want to or not. I liked the book mostly but too violent, too much sex.

    1. I hope you find Happy Valley, as I think you would enjoy it. There's plenty of sex and violence in Red Sparrow the film, so maybe not one for you, Tracy

  5. I haven't watched any of these though I have had my eye on "The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair" partly because I think Dempsey is a fine actor and deserves more credit than he gets. "Happy Valley" sounds interesting, too, though we don't get BBC dramas in my neck of the woods.

    1. Prashant, I don't know why I'm surprised about the lack of a BBC presence in India, I thought their reach was worldwide. I did enjoy Patrick Dempsey's acting in Harry Quebert. I can't actually recall what else I might have seen him in.

    2. Col, we only get BBC World News via cable. BBC pulled out Entertainment and CBeebies sometime in 2014 due to financial issues. I usually watch some of the earlier BBC dramas on YouTube. Of course, other series such as Blackadder have been telecast on other channels, STAR, I think.

    3. Thanks for the information. It's a shame really, as you miss out on some good stuff. Well you miss some dross as well too!

  6. I watched and enjoyed both Star is Born and Killing Eve. With Eve, like you, I felt it wasn't quite as compelling as the series wore on. But still good.

    1. Yeah, if there's a second series we will probably watch it, but it didn't maintain the amazing standard of the first few episodes.

  7. Thanks to your recommendation, we've watched Happy Valley over the past few nights. You're absolutely right: it's splendid -- one of the best series either of us can recall seeing (and that from my American wife, who stretched at times to pick up the Yorkshire accent/vocabulary).

    Sarah Lancashire is, as you say, a force of nature, but really the entire cast is so fucking good -- not a weak link there, even the kid, even the Vicar of Grantchester. ("That's not him," declared Pam steadfastly, refusing to believe her secret heartthrob could be this utter psycho bastard. But . . . Good for him, I say, that he took such a preconception-shattering role.)

    What a fantastic achievement Happy Valley is. I assume it won lots of UK TV awards.

    Actually, I assume nothing of the kind, and that the awards went to utter pap series instead. I'd love to be told otherwise.

    1. Boom - glad it was a winner for you. As planned we watched and enjoyed the second series this month.

      Funny enough it has scored a few awards.....In May 2015, Happy Valley won the BAFTA Award for Best Drama Series. In 2014, it had won a TV Choice Award for Best New Drama; Sarah Lancashire was named Best Actress at the same time. The series was also voted the best TV programme of 2014 by readers of Radio Times (cheers to Wikipedia)

    2. That's good to learn about the awards: there's some justice in the world after all!