Reviews written by registered user
|6 reviews in total|
Well said loza-1! A series which gets far too little attention, considering its quality. You need only compare an episode like "A Bad Night" with the BBC's more recent glossy attempt to 'tech-up' Raffles (with Nigel Havers) to see that you can't win over simply respecting E W Hornung's source material. The studio-bound nature of this series just did not hold it back. If, please the muse of good storytelling, A J Raffles and Bunny ever make it to the cinema screen again, as they should, a full orchestral rendering of Anthony Isaac's theme is a must have. This Yorkshire Television production is worth seeing to hear that theme alone. The fact that the programme itself is finely scripted and the lead performed with charm and subtlety, that rare combination, are just amazing bonuses. You can see here that British Television spoilt its audience in the 1970s. Having but a tiny edge over "Cribb", YTV's "Raffles" was only trumped in this field by the more costly Granada Sherlock Holmes adaptations of the next decade.
I watched this drama on television and was numb afterwards. You hear of flat-Earthers and 'lunar landings were fake' conspiracy theorists and just say to yourself "well - they pays their money... that's their beliefs and they're entitled to them..." Then 'Never Forget' shows you, through drama, the lengths the stuck minds and morally blind will go to to deafen themselves and others to the truth. We have our own paranoid denialists in Northern Ireland, who only see the wrong done them never the wrong they've done. They spout the kindred of the poison Mel Mermelstein had to put up with. A good portrait of a man driven by his convictions: Leonard Nimoy certainly deserves praise for telling Mel Mermelstein's story, let alone turning in a fine performance in the lead. Despite any dramatic licence taken I'd set this TV movie as course text for history at Ordinary Level: it is quite clearly still needed.
I'm seriously surprised to learn that 'ManDog' aired in the US! It was one of those quintessentially British children's dramas very like the output of the Children's Film Foundation. I remember its original and repeat screenings on the BBC in the seventies and have fond memories. Its star was a cute black and white Border Collie (some relative of 'Blue Peter's' Shep?) A family pet is, accidentally, the first to encounter a injured refugee from a totalitarian future whose only means of survival is to store his mind in the nearest living thing. The man-dog then strikes up a telepathic relationship with his boy owner to the latter's delight, as the two seek means to repair the traveller's time-ship which materialised in a junkyard (now where have I heard of a time-ship in a junkyard before, 'Doctor Who' fans?). The time machine looked like a changing room locker, I think - very tall and narrow. Definitely a curio I'd like to see again to find out how good my memory is, if nothing else.
I saw 'Nightmare' on its UK transmission and was gripped. Christopher Frayling presented four all-too short hours on the making of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' and the inimitable 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' by Arthur Conan Doyle. Professor Frayling took as his starting point the nightmares or encounters with the nightmarish that inspired each author. The book that accompanied the series gives a good idea of the accessibility and suitably moody tone that prevailed as Frayling extolled genially about the famous Byron/Shelley party by that Swiss lake or how R L Stevenson's story hit a raw nerve in the London of Jack the Ripper. Episode four was my favourite of four gems - if only because of its subject - and this was the first time I gained detailed information about the Baskerville Hound's source legends. As a literary tour of Britain - and four wonderfully chilling tales - this series was exemplary and is long overdue release on video or DVD. Catch it if you can!
I remember this adaptation, made for the BBC's Sunday Classic Serial
slot. Tom Baker had just left 'Doctor Who' where he was 'fantastic' (of
course!) I think this was the first time he had played the sleuth (he
starred as Holmes on stage in 'The Mask of Moriarty' in 1985) but do
not remember his performance here! I do remember Terence Rigby as
Watson turned in another in a long line of Nigel Bruce impressions.
Thank goodness we soon had David Burke to set a new example for Edward Hardwicke and Ian Hart! What I do remember favourably is Carl Davis' haunting theme music and the animated titles. The music was very much in the vein of Davis' sombre theme for 'Winston Churchill - The Wilderness Years.' The animated titles (following the Hound's shadow from rock to rock over a bleak, dark-skied Dartmoor) would have served well as a storyboard for part of the never yet correctly filmed 'legend of the Hound!' Oh well - we can dream!
QED was shown on daytime ITV or Channel Four (Ulster Television area) and I remember that episode plots revolved around Deverill thwarting the untimely use of anachronistic inventions: one of the stories saw him trying to stop the use of an atomic missile in 1912! I can only think of 'Wild Wild West' being anywhere like this series in content, but QED had a decidedly British flavour and humour to it, even with the American actor Sam Waterston in the lead. His was a thoroughly enjoyable, frenetic presentation of a not altogether appealing character. Exciting and funny, 'QED' was cult viewing and is long overdue reappraisal. Perhaps it was scheduling, or the then current trend for 'A-Team' pseudo-violence that left this series on the shelf? Either way, it was a real showcase for Sam Waterston, whose performance might surprise those more acquainted with him in 'I'll Fly Away' or 'Law and Order.' Very definitely on my 'must get' DVD list - when that is possible - and a 'must see' if you like 'Wild Wild West' or 'Doctor Who.'