The Last Post (BBC Series 2017)

Last Post3 Kernels

The Last Post, now streaming on Amazon Prime, is a BBC Drama series set in the mid-1960s regarding a unit of Royal Military Police in Aden, which at the time was British controlled.  It involves not only the officers of the military but their wives and children who live on the base.  It’s a bit of a melodrama soap opera that is overplayed in some aspects with the wives but is worth the watch for historical background on the ever-shrinking British empire colonies.

If you can get past the dramatic wives, there is much enjoyment to be had in the British men in uniform.  There is no lack of good acting, except one huge disappointment in the character Alison Laithwaite, played by Jessica Raine.  You will recognize her as an integral character on Call the Midwife.  In this series, however, she has morphed from the sweet lady birthing babies to a raving hormonal drunk who wants an abortion.  I found her acting in this particular series disappointing but it could be highly attributed to the poor script.  The writers paid far too much attention to her character, which is painfully overplayed, leaving you no sympathy for her plight.

The other characters involve such actors as Jeremy Neumark Jones (who reminds me of a young Henry Cavill) and the seasoned acting of Ben Miles, who does a stellar job as the major.  There are other subplots involving other military men such as one man falling in love with a Muslim woman, newlyweds, and adulterous affairs.

The series consists of six episodes each lasting 59 minutes.  If you’re into another look at the British Empire’s history in Yemen, this is a good series in spite of the slight disturbing scenes of terrorism, the soap opera of the wives, and slightly unbelievable scenes/dialogue.

Penelope Keith’s Hidden Villages (2014-2016)

Villages4 Kernels

I’ve been to England four times and often wished I could rent a car and drive everywhere visiting the little-known villages I haven’t seen.  How many of us have loved the photographs of quaint English country life and wished we could live in such an idyllic place?  I know that I have.

In all honesty, I’m not much for watching traveling shows, but this three-series wonder is an absolute gem.  Currently streaming on Acorn, I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to see the inner workings of these smaller communities.  At the present time, I’m only beginning Season 2 but have much more to see.

What is unique with this particular travel series is that while you’re riding in the car with Penelope to the next location, you know what is down the road is going to be as fascinating as the last.  So far I’ve traveled to Wales, Lancashire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Devon, and Cornwall, among other places.  Penelope immerses the audience not only in the village’s history but its people, architecture, challenges, and sometimes quirky celebrations communities hold together.  It’s a wonderful series that only deepens your longing for England.

The running time for each episode is 47 minutes. So brew a cup of tea, gather some biscuits and sit down for a wonderful tour of beautiful England’s landscape and its villages.

DVD_INLAYSHEET_DISAB001

Another series that is almost as entertaining if you’re interested in things regarding the monarchy, is Penelope Keith at Her Majesty’s Service also streaming on Acorn.  Here she visits the iconic locations and explains the unknown rituals that have continued on for centuries.

Episode 1 is at Windsor Castle, including a ride on the Queen’s barge.  Episode 2 visits Inveraray and Holyroodhouse, locations the royal family frequent. Episode 3 is on location in Northern Ireland at Hillsborough Castle and Episode 4 at Caernarfon Castle in Wales.  It’s another wonderful show for those who love all things English.

 

Vera (ITV 2011-Present)

VeraI cannot believe after searching through my reviews that I haven’t written a review about Vera. It’s probably because after watching seven seasons multiple times and now watching Season 8 on BritBox after it airs in the U.K., that I’m just forgetful, pet.

So let me take a moment to tell you what I think of Vera.  I love Vera.  I love the show.  I love DCI Vera Stanhope and Brenda Blethyn who brings her life.  I love the way she calls people “pet” and “luv” and wanders around the beautiful Northumberland landscape solving murders.  I love the way she barks at everybody on her staff and confronts every suspicious bloke on the block.  Needless to say, it’s a great show.

Based on novels of the same name, written by crime writer Ann Cleeves, Vera in herself is a complex woman.  Excellent in her job and ability to solve murders, on the personal side she is a very private and lone individual who doesn’t care to socialize.  She would rather retreat to her secluded home, once owned by her father, drink, and review case files at night by herself.

She has gone through two DS’s in the years, played by David Leon and Kenny Doughty.  Both have survived Vera’s demanding work schedule and barking orders to solve the mysteries.  Each episode runs 90-minutes in length, so these are deep-dive stories into the multiple suspects until Vera catches her killer.

As usual, British crime shows are the best.

 

Darkest Hour (Movie 2017 Review)

Darkest Hour5 Kernels

To give this film anything less than five kernels or five glowing stars, would be a travesty.  A very short period of history from May 8, 1940 to June 4, 1940 is portrayed on screen.  It focuses on the stubborn and determined man who refused to surrender and those who loved and hated him.

I don’t think I’ve seen a movie that has roused me to such patriotism even though I was born in the USA.  Perhaps it is my ancestral roots in England and the fact that my second great uncle once introduced Churchill at a meeting when he was a young conservative just elected in Manchester.  Whatever the reason, I felt profoundly moved.

The movie begins with the House of Commons calling for the resignation of Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister due to his handling of the war.  Even though he wasn’t their first choice as a replacement, Churchill fills the position and even the King isn’t too keen to see him as Prime Minister. After accepting the position, he displays a much different view as to how Hitler should be handled. He organizes his war cabinet but soon discovers not many of them have the stomach for war and lean toward the idea of negotiating a peace settlement with Hitler.  Churchill balks at the idea but receives mounting pressure to agree or face being replaced.

At this point, I could kick myself that after two trips to London, having not visited the Churchill War Rooms after seeing this movie where much of it takes place.  Joining the cast of characters and giving strong support is Kristin Scott Thomas who plays Churchill’s wife and Lily James who plays Elizabeth his newly hired secretary.

One focused event is how Churchill came up with the idea on how to rescue the majority of British forces stranded at Dunkirk.  Later on, when faced with the decision to negotiate or stand firm, he takes the pulse of the common Londoner to see if they would rather surrender or fight.  Then he goes to Parliament to deliver his famous speech laced with the words below.  At the very end, he storms through the doors and the movie ends, making you wish you could jump to your feet and fight the war in the streets by his side.  At the end, I shudder to think what would have happened had Churchhill not roused England to stand firm.

Gary Oldman’s performance is so brilliant that mere wordy accolades are not enough. His transformation from the man he is in real life into Churchill in looks and mannerisms is astounding.  No doubt he will win many awards.

Though the latest Star Wars movie is the rage at the moment, I recommend you consider the past and the history of real men who fought against the dark side and prevailed.  It’s their character, determination, and courage that should be our true inspiration for the future.

We Shall Fight

%d bloggers like this: