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Princes in the Tower (2005)
A gorgeous little piece of drama ...
I must admit I was quite excited to see a new drama about the princes who disappeared so mysteriously in the Tower way back when, especially since increasingly more History A-level students, myself included, have had the opportunity to study the subject as part of the Henry VII syllabus. And - I say this and feel utterly convinced - I was not disappointed. "Princes in the Tower", unlike several other TV historical dramas I could mention, was refreshingly non-cheesy, informative, and boasted what I can only describe as one of the hottest actors working today (Mark Umbers, playing Perkin Warbeck). Whilst the drama was a fairly focused piece with detailed characters and an intriguing basis in truth, it also made no flagrant assumptions or claims as to the truth about the princes' fate - something that still has yet to be proved - and did not seem to "victimise" any of the historical figures depicted within, including Richard III - and as a staunch Ricardian this was also very refreshing! Of course, there were a few things that were to be expected of Channel 4, such as the "comic relief" in the form of an absurd Spanish ambassador, and a few unrealistic character aspects - from what we know of Henry VII he certainly would not have considered abdicating in favour of "the truth", and indeed he would not have bothered to attend Warbeck's interrogation. However, I definitely felt that the characters by and large were highly empathic, and several moments were undoubtedly moving. All in all, a gorgeous little piece of drama - it is so great when terrestrial TV strikes gold like this every once in a while. I taped this when it was on and would definitely watch it again. I probably wouldn't recommend it as a study aid for History A-level because the story has been "glamourised" to an extent, but it's a great way to indulge an interest in the subject. A resounding 10/10..
A Good Woman (2004)
Stylish little numbers like this should come around more often...
Interesting movie! Probably to the contrary of many other viewers, I went to see this partly because I was intrigued by one of the supporting cast - Mark Umbers, a young British actor who plays Mr Robert Windermere. However, I was pleasantly surprised by all the cast. Tom Wilkinson is, as ever, a joy to watch - it's certainly impressive how he can persuasively portray both fantastically nice characters such as Tuppy, and also villains like Lord Queensberry in "Wilde". Helen Hunt was surprisingly beautiful as Mrs Erlynne, and a mention should go out to Stephen Campbell-Moore too. The locations were superb, the 30s vibe worked gratifyingly well, and in general I feel it did the Wilde original justice beautifully. Definitely recommendable.