Vera returns for Series 10 in 2020. Yeah! Four episodes coming our way. Season 10 begins airing January 12 in the UK and January 21 on BritBox for us USA folks. Read more below.
Although now likely, ITV’s cancellation doesn’t necessarily mean Sanditon will be forever lost at sea. As Davies told us: “The American co-producers are very keen to do a second series – we’re still living in hope.”
Dangling more carrots in front of our nose.
ITV’s dramatisation of the unfinished novel has offended the sensibilities of many Janeites. Alison Flood wonders if this makes sense
Soon Sanditon will be coming to PBS and those of you in the USA will be able to watch this production (January 12, 2020). Having seen it myself, I can say there is much to enjoy and much to cry about as well.
Sanditon is a continuation of Jane Austen’s novel, but you’ll only see the first episode cover the eleven chapters she wrote. From there, the story unfolds from another pen — well many pens from book adaptation to screen. It’s an engrossing story, not only about the main love interests of Sidney and Charlotte, but a story of endeavor, greed, foolishness, love, jealousy, and a myriad of other emotions all rolled up into wonderful characters. It will eventually grab onto you, hold your interest, and then break your heart cruelly at the end. It has nudity, sexuality, and a few shocking scenes.
Those who enjoyed the series have ranted and raved about the ending, and are now campaigning, insisting, and stalking ITV, the stars, writers, and producers to finish the story in Season 2. My gut tells me they won’t, but we’ll see.
The story is grossly unfinished, just as Jane died before finishing the book. Is it worth watching? Sidney and Charlotte’s journey is definitely worth the watch, the changing of a hurt man’s personality, the growing into womanhood of a young girl, laced with touching and beautiful scenes that will sweep you away in Episode 7 and early in Episode 8. There will be characters you love, hate, and could punch for their foolish ways. It’s heartbreakingly lovely altogether, and Sidney Parker definitely gives Mr. Darcy a run for his money.
The screenwriter says he used all the material from Austen’s work in the first half of the first episode.
(but throwing my tub of popcorn at Becky Sharp)
Vanity Fair, a classic story written by William Makepeace Thackeray in 1847-48, is back on the screen…again…as a TV mini-series, now streaming on Amazon Prime. This production is an ITV and Amazon Studios remake that includes seven parts.
Let’s be clear. This story has been portrayed in film and television more times than you can change your channel. Film versions: 1915, 1922, 1923, 1932, 1935, and 2004. Television versions: 1967, 1987, 1998, and 2018. I ask you, did we really need another remake?
To be honest, I find no fault in this production as it is lavish and well-acted. They’ve gone to great lengths on settings, war scenes, costumes, and outrageous hats to make this appear authentic to the time period.
Nevertheless, the character of Becky Sharp, in my opinion, doesn’t need to be memorialized again on screen. By the end of the story, I’ve had enough of this selfish, soulless, money hungry, and unempathetic woman as one can stomach. Having to watch her seven hours is pure torture. I find Becky Sharp as annoying as Lily Langtry when it comes to female leads in a book or film production. If you haven’t watched Lillie a 1978 TV series production, you’re missing out on another interesting female climbing the social ladder in English society who by the end of the story you grow to despise.
Okay, so putting aside my dislike of the main character, I cannot fault this new series to any great extent. The storyline, if you know nothing about the infamous Becky Sharp, is about a poor woman who is determined to climb the ladder of success through hook or crook. She hooks her victims, hoards her money, takes advantage of others to their financial ruin, and cares nothing deeply for the human beings around her to any great extent.
The characters in the story make their fortunes, lose their fortunes, die of strokes and heart attacks, and leave to their wealth and inheritance to the next person. Of course, what makes Becky tick as a human being is somewhat understandable. Orphaned at an early age, with an art teacher as a father and dancer as her mother, she hasn’t had the best of life so far. She suggests to her best friend in one of the last scenes she became a woman at eight years of age. Naturally, you do try to find a bit of sympathy for her plight that has her turned her into such a cold-hearted, money-hungry creature, filled with vanity.
Having seen the 2004 Movie with Reese Witherspoon, I thought the runtime of 141 minutes was enough of Becky for me to get the picture. Any screentime with James Purefoy is worth the watch as he looked especially dapper in his English military uniform as Captain Crawley.
If you’ve not seen any Vanity Fair renditions, I would recommend you tune into this longer version. Should the idea of watching seven, forty-seven-minute episodes (or 5.48 hours) of Becky Sharp’s personality rubbing you the wrong way, check out the movie version instead.
I 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.
I’m really frustrated! Thirty-five years ago I visited the Valley of the Kings in Egypt and walked into Tutankhamun’s burial vault. I’ve been trying to find the slides from that trip that I’ve been hauling around for thirty-five years to no avail! Of course, I’ve moved probably twenty times since then. I know they are somewhere stuffed in a closet, and I’m going to find them one way or another! Nevertheless…
My first Britbox watch – Tutankhamun from ITV – a four-part series about the discovery of the tomb in that vast dusty desert of the Valley of the Kings. It’s based on the archaeologist Howard Carter, played by Max Irons, who is convinced the valley still holds wonderful discoveries, while his peers are packing up and leaving out of frustration.
On the other hand, we have Lord Carnarvon, played by Sam Neill, who has the funds and enthusiasm to find a tomb filled with riches. If you have no idea who this English Lord happens to be, think of Downton Abbey and the manor house you’ve been enjoying for years. It’s the family home of the Carnarvon’s at Highclere Castle, who was the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Some believe he was the first to succumb to the so-called curse, having died from an infected mosquito bite he accidently cut with his razor. It turned into blood poisoning, and he passed away in Cairo after the discovery of the tomb.
The story begins pre-World War I when Carnarvon arrives excited to dig and discover wonders from the past. He hires Howard Carter, who recently finds himself without support to further his own digs. As a result, they head off to the dusty sands but their endeavors are cut short by the beginning of World War I. Finally after it’s ended, the story resumes and so does their search.
Carnarvon insists that Carter dig in a particular area, but Carter believes it’s in the wrong spot. After going through the majority of the Earl’s money, he’s about to throw in the towel. With one last plea to let him look where he thinks Tutankhamun is buried, they find the infamous treasures of the young King to everyone’s surprise and enter on November 26, 1922.
The story weaves a few love interests back and forth for Mr. Carter, the most important one being with Lady Evelyn Carnarvon, which is the Earl’s daughter. Whether that really happened is perhaps a possibility (read here). It does take up a large portion of the storyline in between the dirt, shovels, and rocks. The tale is also set among the rising distrust of the Egyptians against the British who promised to leave after the war but remain. The government, surprisingly at this point, changes the law six weeks before the discovery of Tut’s tomb that the ownership of discovered wealth reverts back to Egypt and is no longer split with the finder.
Max Irons, I thought, isn’t the best of actors except perhaps at that one point when he peeks inside the tomb and declares that he sees wonderful things. Only another spark of a broken heart is revealed upon his love interest’s departure. He’s a bit stiff and unemotional throughout most of the show, not to mention the dirt and sweat of the desert. In spite of it, he does clean up nicely in a dinner jacket. On the other side of the coin, there is the seasoned Sam Neill who is fantastic in all of his performances, filled with fire and emotion that makes up for the lackluster Irons.
When I visited in 1982, King Tut was not in his tomb. We saw the place where the gold coffins stood, which was just a huge empty space. There was no fancy lighting like you see in the picture. His remains had been placed in the Cario museum for some time but were subsequently returned to his resting place in a climate-controlled glass box (in 2007) to prevent further decomposition. Visitors can see him in his splendor. The treasures in the museum are unbelievably vast and gorgeous, and I can still remember standing before them in awe.
For my first BritBox, it was a good period drama, fueling memories of my past. I’m on my second right now, Moonstone, which is turning out to be a pretty good mystery.
Ah, British television. My favorite.
BritBox has launched! Lets look at the costume dramas & historical period films on the new British television streaming service for Anglophiles in the US.
Here is a great list of programs on the new BritBox, thanks to Willow & Thatch for checking out the service.
Of course, I immediately signed up and then devoured the show above about the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. I’ll be reviewing it shortly.
If you’re looking for more British TV, thanks to BBC and ITV for making it possible for us poor folks from across the pond. We now have more opportunities to binge watch and ruin our health.
At $6.99 a month, you can’t go wrong. Devises vary and new apps, plus more programs are on the way. I had no difficulty streaming on my computer or my Chrome Notebook, but could not stream on my Google TV. Hopefully, as more apps and devices are added, we can indulge on more electronics.
Here are the FAQs. https://www.britbox.com/help
James Norton and Robson Green return to Grantchester for a brand new six-part series and a Christmas Special
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.
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