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|Index||17 reviews in total|
I happened across this show at the library and thought it looked
interesting. It was wonderful. Love and laughter. Tears and heartbreak.
Intrigue and deception. Life and death.
When I finished that last episode...I was dumbfounded. Is that it? The BBC is just going to leave me hanging like that? It didn't end. Does Ned make it home? How is Tom fairing in school? Will he ever forgive Mattie? Will Cpt. Mason figure out Mrs. St. John is carrying his child? Will he care? Will Isabel figure out what a scoundrel he is before she marries him? What about Lydia and Mr. Fowler; Hannah and Jack? Will Hugh get back in the good graces of his father? Will Mrs. Simmons come forward and cause more problems?
When I finished episode 10, I immediately jumped on the net to see if there was more. Nope. That's it....SIGH!!!!
I still highly recommend watching it. Once I started watching it, I couldn't stop. Maybe I'll send some emails to the BBC and ask them if they plan to do another mini-series:-)
Yes it was an excellent series. Unfortunately, it's broadcast coincided with the World Cup Football here in the UK and it's time slot was constantly being shunted around the schedule to make way for all of the games. Sometimes it was shown on Saturdays, sometimes Tuesdays or Fridays - sometimes at 8pm, 9pm or 10pm or whenever it was given a little window between football matches. Consequently, the viewing figures were lower than they undoubtedly would have been and the BBC thought it was because not enough people wanted to watch it! WE COULDN'T EVEN FIND OUT WHEN IT WAS ON!!! So the BBC would not allow a second series! It was a magical costume drama. Everyone who sees it wants to know 'how it ends'... We will have to imagine it for ourselves. Another brilliant decision from the BBC in their infinite wisdom... To cut it short after all the wonderful work from everyone involved in the production, if I were any one of them or the director or creator of Berkeley Square; that would eat away at my heart big time.
"Berkeley Square" is an Edwardian period TV 10x50 minute miniseries which examines the lives of three young women, all nursery maids for wealthy families in London's Berkeley Square. The series revolves around the trio of neighboring young women, their nannies and associated co-staff (butlers, footmen, etc.) and the members of the families which employ them. Themes include murder, illicit affairs, affairs of the heart, a baby switching, and a whole lot of nursemaid issues with an ample assortment of side plots all very nicely woven together. This multiplicity of stories follows a nice arc building ample depth into the characters, developing plenty of tension on a range of levels, and sorting everything out, albeit rather quickly, such that all is well at the end with a only couple of unhappy exceptions. "Berkeley Square" is very much a soap opera (circa 1902) as it focuses on women and women's issues with restrained melodrama though it is much more thoughtfully produced than the usual commercial soap. Lacking the mood and polish of a "Brideshead Revisited" with some of the intricacies of an "Upstairs-Downstairs", this series has some obvious production deficits, though they are easily overlooked. All in all, "Berkeley Square" is an acceptable TV product which should make for a pleasant watch for women, lovers of soaps, and others into early 20th century English drama. Note - the DVD I watched had no CC's or subtitles making some of the dialogue difficult to understand. (B)
A highly recommended entry in the BBC mini-series genre, "Berkeley
Square" holds its own with "Pride and Prejudice," "The Pallisers" and
"Upstairs, Downstairs". Lovers of Victorian/ Edwardian-era costume
dramas will especially enjoy it. Although it lacks the budget and
polish of "The Grand", "Brideshead Revisited", and "Duchess of Duke
Street" (and the plot intricacies of "Upstairs- Downstairs") it's
friendship theme among the three main characters and its mood of subtle
nuance more than compensate.
I must confess a favorable bias as I was fond of taking my lunch in mid-1970's Berkeley Square during my time in London and have very pleasant associations with the location. It is a real square with houses on all sides of a small park.
The mini-series takes place in 1902, a Victorian to Edwardian transitional time begun with the coronation of the new King. Although class differences are a feature of the program the real focus is on three young nannies/nursery-maids just beginning work for three prominent families on the square. This is the strength of the series as the three television actresses are perfectly cast physically for the compare and contrast dynamic that pulls the three parallel story lines together.
Mattie (Clare Wilkie) is the only Londoner, a no-nonsense East Ender who has already worked her way up the domestic career ladder. Her brother calls her Sarge because she has always been controlling. The Sinjin family is the most challenging of the three households, the cook and head housekeeper being politically savvy, the nursery maid Pringle being resentful, and Mrs. Sinjin carrying on a turgid flirtation with a slimy officer. This moronic romance is the worst aspect of the entire series. Fortunately Mattie has her own action going with the new footman, their relationship has a high-energy mentally combative quality that holds your interest.
Hannah (Victoria Smurfit) just moved from Yorkshire with her baby following the death of her upper class lover. Smurfit is the reason I began watching the series, having really enjoyed her nicely over-the-top performance in "Bulletproof Monk". While her Polish landlady minds the baby Hannah lives-in at the Hutchinson household and takes care of young Bertie (Adam Hayes). Their touching scenes together are terrific, the best segments in the series. Since the directing of the other child actors is not especially good, it is likely that Smurfit was responsible for getting such a perfect performance from young Hayes. Her regal look (she reminds me of Fay Masterson) is an asset in this role, as she must convincingly face off against upper class adversaries and she allows just the right amount of hidden strength to surface in these confrontations.
Lydia (Tabitha Wady) is a horse-faced country girl who moved to London to escape the trap of the poor farmer. She is there to assist an elderly nanny who first feels threatened but eventually comes to appreciate Lydia's earthy openness, even her immature personality. Once secure in her new household Lydia must confront the reality of being a homely girl with little sincere attentions from men.
"Berkeley Square" has just 10 episodes of about 50 minutes. Unlike "The Prisoner" it appears that they intended to produce more and unlike "Freaks and Geeks" they did not have adequate advance notice of the early termination. Although it ends at an obvious season break point (so major stuff is resolved), there are some loose ends remaining after the last episode. This is not all bad, they stopped before they ran out of ideas and the loose ends make for interesting speculation.
The DVD package is minimalist, without any useful special features. The marginal quality of the audio tracks cry out for captions although I don't envy someone trying to transcribe the least audible of this stuff.
Bottom line it is a very entertaining series with fast sequencing and nice performances (especially from Smurfit-watch for the scene where they picnic in the country and Lydia becomes jealous of Hannah-Lydia insults her and the reaction shots of Hannah's exasperation are priceless).
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
I am a great fan of period piece mini series in general and especially ones produced by the BBC. Since purchasing this mini series I've watched it numerous times and highly recommend it. The storyline pulls you in and keeps you there. My only objection to this production is that it seems to end too abruptly and leaves you feeling like there should be more, more, more. I hope they continue the story someday soon.
One of the best series from the great BBC. The characters, costumes and settings were all perfect. Now, if only they would make a follow up to it as there were many plot lines that could have continued.
I just want to say I loved the mini series "Berkeley Square" and I hope BBC will make a Berkeley Square II/sequel. This was definitely a classic and I would compare it with Anne of Avonlea, Little Women,or my favorite mini-series, Pride and Prejudice. Berkeley Square is worth watching over and over again. This British mini-series has 10-episodes and will keep you captivated from beginning to end, and it has a delightful script and wonderfully believable characters but most of all the fact that it had values and morals which are rare in a film today, but which I look for in a film. The acting was superior, and I felt I became caught up in the moment of each episode. The fact that it takes place in London and also there's like 3 or 4 plots going at all times which kept you on the edge of your seat. I thought it was entertaining and I couldn't wait to watch the next episode. If there's anyone I can write to suggest a sequel please let me know. I'm fascinates with the life and times/history of any English movie.
This 10-part series was just gripping! I set my VCR up to tape it (it came on at 10:00 p.m.) and ended up watching it "live" anyway just to see what was going to happen (and was exhausted at work the day after!!)
The British series crossed the line in one of the later episodes into soap opera plot lines. The three nannies are well-played and are unique and different. Mattie is the solid, moral nanny. She must deal with the manipulative Mrs. McCluskey (played excellently by Kate Williams in this role). It's interesting to see how the households in upscale Berkeley Square run quite differently. The townhouses are really organized by the staff. Relationships between staff and employer is pretty well looked down upon by the upscale upper classes. The families are uniquely different. Hannah has a history and baggage. She is far more complicated and intriguing than the other two nannies. She must deal with Nanny Simmons (well played b Ruth Sheen). Then there is Lydia who comes from a small farming village and must work beside Nanny Collins (played wonderfully by Rosemary Leach). The cast is first rate but the writing is very melodramatic. The art direction and costumes are first rate.
This mini-series is wonderful all around, from the actors to the plots in each installment. It is a joy to experience and should not be missed by anyone. It accurately tells the story of the three women right down to their clothing. History and culture from the early 1900's comes alive and entertains the viewers. Never a dull moment. In two words, the mini-series is great fun!
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