Six monologues tell the stories of six different repressed souls: a man dominated by his mother, a vicar's wife, an inveterate letter writer, a hopeful actress, a recently widowed woman, ... See full summary »
Hetty wakes on her 60th birthday and decides to become a private investigator. With assistance from a teenager called Geoffrey and her husband Robert, combined with her own common sense, Hetty is confident she can solve any case.
Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison's investigation of the murder of a Bosnian refugee leads her to one, or possibly two, Serbian war criminals determined to silence the last witness to a massacre a decade before.
Ten years after the original six terrific monologues of "Talking Heads", Alan Bennett returned with another series of six monologues, as varied and interesting as the first.
The basic approach is the same. The pieces are about a half hour, the characters speak directly to the camera on sets that are theatrical rather than naturalistic. Once again there are 5 female and 1 male character in the group. And once again the acting is at a very high level, bringing these works to touching, funny, and occasionally very disturbing life. Bennett is a wonderful writer who manages to get all the details right, to find the poetry, comedy and tragedy in day to day life and in everyday people.
Not every piece is as strong as the best, but there's not one less than very good. And the best are amazing.
This time around, the monologues are performed by Patricia Routledge, Eileen Atkins, Julie Walters, Thora Hird, Penelope Wilton as the five women and David Haig as the lone male voice. The overall tone seems slightly darker in this set, often dealing with loss, and in one case a daringly sympathetic portrait of a pedophile (not that his actions are seen as less than monstrous, but Bennett still forces us to perceive the man as a human being trapped by forces beyond his control, rather than simply as a monster).
As with the first series this is an excellent and creative use of the intimacy of television, where lengthy close ups and simple visuals are more effective and less fatiguing than they can be in theatrical features.
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