The Last Post (BBC Series 2017)

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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.

Our World War (BBC Series 2014)

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5 Stars for Bravery

Yeah, yeah, I know most of you don’t like documentaries.  This one is a little bit different because it’s a well-acted re-enactment of three significant events for the British Army during World War I.  The episodes are based on written accounts by the soldiers who lived and survived to tell their stories and the men with which they served.

What can say about it? It’s emotional. It’s heartwrenching.  It’s shocking.  Well done, except for the oddity of the rock music in some of the scenes. The series actually puts you — the viewer — into the battles as if you were with the men and hearing the bullets whiz by your head.  The tension prior to and in engagement with the enemy is palpable. Perhaps that is why this program will undoubtedly leave an impression on you.  And if you lost distant cousins in the war like I did — six of them the ages of 18 to 42 — you will appreciate their sacrifice and you will draw closer to their memory as the young lads who served their country.

The first episode focuses on the first day that the British army encounters the German army in August 1914. Unprepared for the onslaught of Germans and their brutal advance, it’s difficult to watch the slaughter.  The second episode is about the Manchester Pals, as they called them, who served at Somme.  A few of my cousins were from Manchester.  The third episode is about the invention of the tank, and how the British turned the tide of the war toward victory by these new machines.

As a caution before you watch, you might find the lads extremely difficult to understand with the myriad of different British accidents, along with Irish and Scottish.  Hang in there and don’t surrender.  Keep calm and carry on through the end.

If you possess a soul, you might end up a bit tearful watching this series.  As the trailer says, “Modern warfare is brutal. 100 years ago it was unimaginable.”

Check it out – now streaming on Netflix. Read about the series at BBC. (Especially the pages of Interactive Episodes.)

Doctor Foster (BBC 2015)

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Spending Christmas Eve alone can lead to binge watching on Netflix.  Hence was the case yesterday between The OA and Doctor Foster, which I devoured last evening for hours on end.  BBC has done it again with top-notch acting, great drama, and stories that tear your heart.

Meet Dr. Foster, an intelligent, beautiful woman who discovers her husband has been cheating on her with a younger woman.  Suranne Jones plays Gemma Foster, giving a performance that truly proves that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

At first glance, you think that Dr. Foster is going to go off the deep end after she learns of her husband’s infidelity. In fact, you almost expect her to go “Gone Girl.”  However, Dr. Foster has the ability to reign in her emotions to seek revenge against her lying husband, played by Bertie Carvel.  You really want to see the man get his due punishment as Gemma continually drops the hint for him to tell her the truth that he’s been cheating.  Instead, throughout the entire show, until confronted in the last episode, he lies to her face like a coward and dirtbag that he is.

What makes this drama works is that Suranne Jones does two things in her portrayal of Gemma – she tears your viewing heart with her brokenness over her husband’s betrayal, but also takes you along as the woman scorned who intelligently plots her revenge.  Along the way of dealing with a failing marriage, her professional life crumbles around her as those she thought to be friends, turn against her in spite.

If you are a viewer who has experienced the agony of dealing with a cheating boyfriend or husband, these five episodes of season one may resurrect painful reminders of the agony you’ve endured.  Having been cheated upon in my first marriage by a conniving husband who got another woman pregnant, I related to her pain and gloated at the end over her expertly wielded revenge.  Unfortunately, I never had the guts to do what Gemma did — devise a plot in order to unleash the fury of hell. That’s the difference between a weak and strong woman who decides not to turn the other cheek because she knows she deserves better.

For more information, here is a good write-up on Digital Spy about the show, its rewards, and an upcoming second season.  I highly recommend this great drama because the Brits know how to do them best.  The awards prove it for the series and acting.

2016 – National Television Awards – New Drama – Won

2016 – National Television Awards – Drama Performance Suranne Jones – Won

2016 – Broadcasting Press Build Awards – Best Actress Suranne Jones – Won

2016 – Royal Television Society Awards – Best Actress Suranne Jones – Won

2016 – British Academy Television Wards – Best Actress Suranne Jones – Won

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!