Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas TV drama

The BBC's revamp of Upstairs, Downstairs (3 eps over 3 nights) turned out to be much better than expected - completely different from Downton Abbey and not afraid to tackle taboos (British fascism in the run-up to WW2). I enjoyed it hugely.

The Doctor Who Christmas Special was below par, however. A rare chance to watch Britain's finest living actor, Michael Gambon, was squandered on a storyline that was too clever for its own good, leaving no space for emotional engagement. On the plus side, it's always good to see the undervalued Pookie Quesnel in action and Katherine Jenkins was actually superb - it takes some skill to make an ice girl engaging.

What kept me going, however, was the re-run of Justified on Five USA. Missed this the first time round. Won't miss the next series.

Oh, and one last bonus. For one week only a new dramatisation of Just William has been running in the lunchtime Bargain Hunt slot on BBC1. It's by Simon Nye, who lost his way several moons ago, but it is beautifully done. Completely catches the Richmal Crompton tone.

Christmas Highlight

Boxing Night, went to my favourite local pub to see my oldest friend, lead singer of my favourite band. Superb. Gets better every time I see him. Anyone who hasn't seen Honeyboy Hickling perform has no idea about Blues, cannot claim to understand the harmonica, and has never witnessed one of the world's most original performers in action.

Basic details are available on his website:

Use it to find where he's performing near you and make the trip. Satisfaction guaranteed.