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In the 1840s, Cranford is ruled by the ladies. They adore good gossip; and romance and change is in the air, as the unwelcome grasp of the Industrial Revolution rapidly approaches their beloved rural market-town.
Based on Henry James famous novel, this latest version emphasises the ambiguity of this supernatural drama. Does Ann really see ghosts? Are the two children in her care about to be possessed by the spirits of the sexually dubious Peter Quint and Emily Jessell? This is left to the viewer to decide during a bleak yet sumptious 90 minutes of classic period storytelling. Written by
Of all the programmes in this year's Christmas TV schedule, 'A Turn of the Screw' was the one that I was looking forward to most of all. Although not explicitly advertised as a "BBC Ghost Story for Christmas" that is exactly what it was: a BBC - ghost story - at Christmas. And with top director Tim Fywell at the helm, how could it possibly go wrong? Well, it did.
Others might like to list all of the myriad small problems with this production but, for me, there were two major faults which rendered it almost unwatchable: firstly, the two child protagonists were neither enchanting nor engaging which made it impossible to sympathise, or care, about their situation. Secondly, the way that the governess either thought that she heard things, or thought that she saw things, almost every second of every scene of her time on screen meant that there was absolutely no build-up of tension or foreboding throughout the whole production. Ultimately, and disappointingly, it ended up being just a very boring and completely unsatisfying ninety minutes.
Once again the true winter chills were to be found on BBC Four this year, with a re-run of the excellent 'Crooked House' and welcome screenings from the real master ghost storyteller - the other Mr. James.
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