Desperate Romantics (2009 BBC)

Desperate Romantics4 Kernels

Artistic license – to watch this six-part series, you absolutely need to know the meaning behind that term because at the beginning of each episode you will read:

In the mid-19th century, a group of young men challenged the art establishment of the day. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were inspired by the real world about them, yet took imaginative license in their art. This story, based on their lives and loves, follows in that inventive spirit.”

Desperate Romantics is an interesting look into the young lives of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, and John Everett Millais, who were a group of English painters (and poets).  To learn about their painting and inspiration, you might want to read the article on Wikipedia.

This particular series is a bit raunchy, to say the least, with explicit sex scenes and lots of nudity.  Definitely in the “R-Rated” category.  However, beyond the bare skin and sex, is a complex set of characters from painters, models, art critics, prostitutes, and admirers of these three talented men who go about London with their radical ideas of artwork.  If you’ve seen the movie and read my review of Effie Gray you’ll see a semi-repeat of the story of John Ruskin (played by Tom Hollander) and his wife who eventually has their marriage annulled because her husband would not consummate it.

The rakish of rakes is Rossetti, played by Aidan Turner, who is quite the character (and often copulating and nude).  He’s lazy, a womanizer, unrepentant liar, and disloyal to close friends, yet eventually becomes a brilliant artist in his own right. His love affair and subsequent marriage to his model, Lizzie Siddal, is heartbreaking.  Here is her true story on Wikipedia.  One of his art pieces is below.

Lady Lilth
“Lady Lilith” (1866) Dante Gabriel Rossetti

John Everett Millais’ story (played by Samuel Barnett), who painted Ophelia is quite interesting. Lizzie Siddal models for him while floating in a bathtub of water. Millais is so engrossed in his work that he doesn’t realize the water has gone cold and she nearly drowns and later becomes ill.  Millais is the youngest of the three, innocent, and endearing in nature.  His career is launched early but falls into ill favor with his former patron, Ruskin, because he marries Effie.  His famous painting of “Ohpelia” is below.

“Ophelia” (1852) John Everett Millais

William Holman Hunt (played by Rafe Spall) is attracted to fallen women but wrestles with his spiritual beliefs and subsequent guilt. He’s an odd character to say the least, having attempted to reform a prostitute that he wants to marry. When she breaks his heart, he’s so pathetically sad that it’s quite funny.  One of his works is below.

“His Rienzi” 1848 – William Holman Hunt

Then there is a fourth character, Fred Walters, who is excited to hang around these talented individuals. He finds Lizzie Siddal by accident and approaches the brotherhood to introduce a perfect model.  Throughout the story he struggles with his emotions and love for Lizzie, and is constantly at odds with Rossetti and for good reason.

The series is delightful, to say the least, and well acted.  Unfortunately, it didn’t fair very well in the eyes of the critics and dwindling audiences while it aired.  It’s a shame, frankly, because I think it could have gone on for a few more seasons with an entertaining story line. The last episode brought me to tears of sorrow but then led me to laugh at the final declaration from Fred Walters, who narrates the story as well.

I’m not quite sure why this series tickled my fancy.  It is rather scathingly risque in many scenes, but the characters are all so vastly interesting and intriguing with their nuances. I suppose as an author, I’m always fascinated with human behavior and this series is filled with characters and their oddities.

You may or may not like this BBC release, which is now streaming on Britbox.  It’s not for the sexually faint, but if you like complex characters with their many foibles with incredible talent, you may like it quite a bit.

Poldark – Season 2, Ep. 1 (2016)


5 Fluffy Kernels

Riding into our lives returns Ross Poldark. Finally, the U.S. had been given the opportunity through PBS to tune into Series 2.  We had been waiting patiently or impatiently for Aidan Turner to once again fill our media devices and set our female hearts aflutter.  He returned, and we were not disappointed.

The U.K. has been given a head start on Series 2, but now it’s our turn.  At last, we can inhale the fresh air of the Cornwall coast.  The scenery is breathtaking – he’s handsome, smoldering, and well-built.   Yes, the backdrop of crashing waves, barren cliffs, and gorgeous sunsets have also caught our eyes in spite of the obvious draw of our attention.

Series 2 begins with Ross in trouble, having been charged with inciting a riot, among other things.  His arch enemy, George Warleggan, is out to get Ross hung. As an author, I often like writing antagonists, because they are the necessary evil to cause drama and conflict.  However, George is a piece of work.

Ross isn’t too worried, until the realization that a noose could be his future finally sinks into his mind.  Let’s face it.  Ross Poldark is an interesting character.  He is stubborn and proud.  Respected by the poor and hated by his upper class peers, he has a knack of rubbing the establishment the wrong way.  As we heard in his rousing speech in his defense, he is obstinate and stands for what he believes in regardless of the potential outcome.  Nevertheless, underneath those sharp edges is a man who is a kind husband and tender lover that attracts the starving female audience.

Then we have the women in his life – Demelza and Elizabeth.  Demelza captures our hearts with her innocent sweetness once again.  She is more of a lady than most, but still brokenhearted over the loss of their daughter. Obviously, she adores him unconditionally. Episode one (spoiler alert) reveals she is pregnant again, but Ross as he fights for his life, is unaware.

Elizabeth on the other hand, continues to silently regret her choice and pines for Ross.  She has a way of playing with the hearts of men either knowingly or unknowingly.  With a word or glance, she stirs up the male emotions of Ross, Francis, and George.  It makes it difficult to find her as endearing of a character, when you know that she alone can bring heartache to the marriage we all love.

Francis returns, showing a regained strength one moment, only to be tempered by his usual weakness in another.  Finally, he tells off George in spite of the dire consequences it could bring.  Afterward, he wants to toss in the towel and end it all.  Everyone respects Ross – no one respects him.  Ross has Elizabeth’s heart, and he bears the grief of unrequited love.  One moment he feels like an utter failure, and the next he pulls it together.  The man needs counseling.

Then we have George Warleggan who irritates us all.  There is nothing redeemable about this man.  He’s to be despised and not pitied for his unrelenting desire to destroy human lives.  Every time he opens his mouth, I want to nail it shut.  The man doesn’t use violence, nor does he rant or rave.  He just calmly and quietly goes about his destructive tendencies like a psychopath with no conscience.poldark

Episode 1, was filled with emotion and nail biting drama that did not disappoint.  Once again we enjoyed all the characters, along with new ones.  Our Midsomer murder detective John Nettles is back on the screen wearing a cravat.  And let us not forget, Horace the pug, sharing the limelight with a new aristocratic heiress and her intended.  In addition, I see love ahead for the doctor.

So yes, this episode and the entire series deserves a fluffy 5-kernel review, for drama, excellent acting, and a classy masterpiece without blood, gore, and graphic sexual scenes.

However, I recently learned on Facebook that it took twenty-four minutes into the episode before Ross took his shirt off.  Ladies, we need to control ourselves.



P.S. Here are some great GIFs on PBS of Episode 1 – CLICK HERE

Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson on Aidan Turner and why they can’t stop laughing during sex scenes

Heavy breathing, smouldering looks, heaving chests…

Source: Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson on Aidan Turner and why they can’t stop laughing during sex scenes

‘Poldark’ Filming For Season 3 All Set Without Show’s Confirmed Renewal

You must admit this is a hilarious picture!  Looking very cool in their period clothing on set, Aidan Turner is looking at his cell phone, and the man on the table next to him has his paper coffee cup.  Definitely not keeping in character! A perfect picture of 18th-century smartphone users.  🙂


The eminent success of “Poldark” prompts series to schedule filming for a third season despite Season 2 not being aired yet. Season 2 will be a challenging time for Ross and Demelza as they are tested with many difficulties in life. Reports reveal that BBC One has not yet officially announced renewal for “Poldark” but […]

Source: ‘Poldark’ Filming For Season 3 All Set Without Show’s Confirmed Renewal

Poldark Series 2 – Aidan Turner on what to expect for the second BBC series

What’s next for Ross and Demelza? The Irish actor reveals all…

Source: Poldark series 2 – Aidan Turner on what to expect for the second BBC series

Clear your Sunday evenings!