|Index||3 reviews in total|
In this episode (and also in The White Feather) reference is made to the polygonal brass threepenny coin as "a threepenny piece." But I believe this coin was invariably referred to as "a threepenny bit." (Threepenny, however, is pronounced correctly in both episodes.} In The French Drop we actually see the coin and indeed it is an authentic threepenny bit (piece?) The Oxford English Dictionary is ambiguous - suggesting that "bit" was a colloquialism, just as "quid" was a colloquialism for "pound". But I never heard the "thruppence" referred to as a "piece". What an absorbing series this has been - wondrous acting, costuming, set dressing, filming. And embedded in each episode is an authentic and interesting social/ethical issue.
With regard to the usage "threepenny piece" as discussed in another
review, now that Google Ngram Viewer exists, it is possible to to
search for the frequency of phrases in printed material from an era. In
this case, I searched "threepenny piece" and "threepenny bit". The
first comes up as the older usage, the latter more recent, with the
popularity of each phrase crossing about 1910:
http://books.google.com/ngrams. I am afraid readers will have to submit
the search again themselves, as it appears IMDb is not allowing me to
include the search results link.
It seems to me "threepenny piece" is the more formal term, supplanted over time by a more slangy usage, though my instinct could be wrong. Still, "threepenny piece" was certainly in use at the time of the war.
The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a very resourceful
organisation and had some very extraordinary people working for it but
I doubt whether even they could have arranged to play Charles Trenet's
record of"La Mer"in the Hill House lounge in February 1941. The song
was not composed until 1943, 2 years after the action portrayed in this
episode was supposed to have taken place. There are plenty of other
artists and recordings that could have given the same, but more
accurate, wartime music atmosphere.
I also felt that the amount of butter provided by the Rev. Aubrey Stewart on the tea table was excessively generous - probably an entire month's ration, which is unlikely.
Still, it was an enjoyable episode...
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