Water lily! Water lilies are much easier to take pictures of than ducklings.



Elsewhere, I found out that Juliet Harmer did another episode of Department S, so I watched it. It was a bit of a rubbish one actually, and she only had a cameo at the beginning, as Jason King's girlfriend. Picture under the cut. Also, you'll never guess who else was a guest in it!

Cutty thing )
I am re-reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, because the TV series has gone away and left me, and I miss it. It's nice to revisit the book, as it's been quite some time since I last read it, and I had forgotten bits. Also it's fun seeing which bits made the TV series and which didn't, and which bits the TV series made up. Slightly disappointed that one of my favourite bits of the series wasn't actually in the book - Strange's introduction to Wellington, which I loved. It's that "I'm Strange." ; "Indeed..." which was so perfect; although admittedly that was 99% down to Ronan Vibert's line delivery, and Ronan Vibert definitely isn't in the book. Or at least, he isn't in my copy, which is a terrible shame - though probably not if you're Ronan Vibert. (I readily concede that it's unlikely you are).

Elsewhere, I am still Department S-ing. It's nice to know that, though years pass and casts move on, and new series come to take the place of the old, some things always remain. Such as the fact that, in any Monty Berman production one cares to name, getting into a white Jaguar Mk II means a one way trip over a cliff. Seriously, for your own protection folks, never accept a ride in a white Jaguar Mk II. It will fly over a cliff. Even if there isn't a cliff. Trust me on this. Even more impressively, it will always be the same cliff, wherever in the world you happen to be. I suspect a conspiracy.

Department S is proving very entertaining, anyway. I'm not watching it in order, which is generally for the best with these things. The problem with Network is that they diligently arrange shows on DVD into their original production order, which is very sweet and helpful, but fails to take into account that there was a good reason for the production order - such as prop and location availability - which means that you tend to get a rash of episodes with very similar plots, all in a row. It also means, quite infamously amongst fans of The Champions, that the episode "The Interrogation" is on Disc 2, which doesn't make an ounce of sense, as it clearly takes place far later on, and I'm waffling about the correct order of episodes in a little-remembered telefantasy show, aren't I. Shut up, that's a perfectly normal pursuit.

Anyways, I'm quite taken with Department S. It's not as good as its Championy stablemate, but it's very nicely done, and the characters are engaging. I'm also impressed by how Sullivan's boss manages to be black, at a time when almost every other show on British TV had failed to notice that there are black people in the world, let alone that they might like to act occasionally. Otherwise it follows a very similar template to The Champions. A threesome of crimefighters (except this time they're not an actual threesome), with one being an action man, one the more cerebral type, and one a genius, heavily science-orientated woman. There are differences of course. Stuart Sullivan is far more down-to-earth than Craig Stirling, and doesn't hurl himself into danger with quite so much wild glee; Jason King and Richard Barrett certainly don't dress alike (thank heaven); and Annabelle Hurst is clearly in (requited, if hesitant) love with Sullivan, whereas Sharron Macready was very much one of the guys. Necessarily, one might quietly point out, given that Craig and Richard always seemed more interested in each other. All the same, it's clear that Monty Berman and co liked the basic template. They must have liked the actors, too - Sharron just turned up in an episode of Department S, as a fabulously two-faced blackmailer. In celebration, I decided to give Peter Wyngarde's episode of The Champions a spin. Damn, but that's a good show. Sorry, Department S, but you'll never be half as good a crimebusting squad as Nemesis.

But to get to the point (yes, there was one!), who should turn up in an episode called "The Man In The Elegant Room", but Juliet Harmer, formerly of Adam Adamant Lives!. So, beneath the cut, is Georgie Jones undercover as an art critic. In living colour!

... )
swordznsorcery: (paradox)
( Jun. 20th, 2015 00:24)
A disaster has occurred. I have run out of Remington Steele. Actually technically I haven't, as I'm keeping two episodes back for a rainy day, because *woe*. I need more episodes, damn it! But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A green-and-grey, rain-speckled light, bereft of charming jewel thieves, but a light nonetheless. The other day I wrote a Doctor Who/All Creatures Great And Small crossover thingy for Obscure & British, and it got me thinking that I've never really watched that programme properly. All Creatures..., that is. Obviously I've watched Doctor Who. Watched it, bought it, yelled at it frequently. I'm practically married to it. Anyway. All Creatures Great And Small started in 1978, when I was three. It was my mother's favourite show, so was always on, but other than falling in love with their cars and their wonderful upright telephone, I didn't pay a great deal of attention to it. So the other day I went hunting on YouTube, and found series one. Hurrah! I've been dabbling, and it's surprising how many memories it brings back, despite me thinking that I hadn't really watched it. Siegfried! I hated Siegfried as a child. I'm not sure how much of that is because he was always shouting, and how much was because he's mean to poor Tristan, but I really did take a disliking to the poor man. Actually, it might have been his yellow waistcoat. And proper Helen! Turns out that Lynda Bellingham actually did more episodes as Helen than Carol Drinkwater did, but I still think of her as New Helen, and Drinkwater as the proper one. So clearly I was watching the show after all. The IMDb says that Helen mk i left in 1985, and Helen mk ii started in 1988, so goodness only knows what they did in the interim. Maybe she went upstairs for three years, like the kids do in soaps.

Peter Davison left for a bit, didn't he. I remember that, as I remember being annoyed by it. He was replaced by John McGlynn and a badger. I have nothing against badgers, but they're not sufficient recompense for losing the world's most accident prone vet. With the best will in the world, a badger isn't going to lead James Herriot in a string of semi-drunken misadventures. Well, he might. But it's unlikely. I only plan to watch series one anyway, so such woes are immaterial really. It's a very nice show, but the lovely telephone is pretty much the dramatic highlight of the piece. Basically I need exploding.

I also found Department S on YouTube though, which is good. Department S is a sixties espionage show, from the team behind The Champions, which means it features another threesome of two men and a woman investigating crime at Elstree Studios in London all over the world. It's not as good as The Champions, not least because the cast don't have that awesome chemistry that Craig, Richard and Sharron shared, but it's fun enough. It also has an absolutely terrific theme tune. I have seen some of the series before, but most of the episodes are new. New and promisingly explody. Mind you, at current rate of play it'll be three years before I get through all twenty-eight of them.

So yeah. Life has gone from impeccably dressed jewel thieves dodging cops and crooks alike, to mulling over the relative benefits of pig-keeping in Yorkshire, with a side order of dodgy floral print shirts trying to save the world. This has led me to several conclusions.

1. More television ought to have Pierce Brosnan stealing things in it. I think I may have mentioned that before, and time has only served to confirm the theory. Granted it might not entirely work in All Creatures Great And Small, but I'm certainly happy to find out.

2. Christopher Timothy must have hated the BBC. They gave him his own show, and then they cast Robert Hardy and Peter Davison to make with a two-pronged offensive and steal it from under him. He's like a bowl of porridge sat between two slices of chocolate gateau. And chocolate gateau covered in edible glitter at that. Poor sod.

3. Vintages phones rock.

4. So do vintage cars. Running boards!

5. It's a hard life being in a sixties espionage show. Even with all the old telly that I watch, and even with my usual indifference to ridiculous FX and questionable production methods, I was completely baffled by the end of Department S episode two. Sullivan and Annabelle are all wrapped up in cold weather gear, whilst chatting in front of a photograph of some trees. I couldn't figure that out at all, but they were actually having a sleigh ride (of course). Honestly, I thought I was immune to bad back projection, but this was so hilariously bad, I couldn't believe they were trying to get away with it. Given their expressions, I'm not sure that the actors could, either. To add insult to injury, they have really appalling outfits, too.



Become a spy. See the world! Or, at least, see lots of photographs of the world, and stand in front of them nearly convincingly. Good old 1960s. What would we do without them.
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