Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Broadchurch finishes, The Village continues to thrive

ITV's Broadchurch finally revealed the killer last night.  The killer's identity was, as is so often the case with whodunnits, a surprise and a slight disappointment.  In a series this good, however, it didn't matter.  Writer Chris Chibnall and his production team used every last second of the 8hr running time.  The sequence where DCI Hardy walks through the house to find out who is using Danny's phone was almost unbearably tense.  DS Miller's emotional breakdown - just mesmerising; if Olivia Coleman doesn't win a Bafta for this, dissolve Bafta.  And the final sequence, beacons being lit all along the coastline in memory of the dead boy ... schmaltzy yes, beautiful undeniably, just about the perfect ending.

According to the fan site, Broadchurch has been recommissioned for a second series.  Initial reaction - really?  But it worked for The Killing...

Chibnall, of course, has been a Doctor Who writer.  Across on BBC1 show-runner Peter Moffat has redeemed himself with the magnificently grim The Village, which bids to be a history of a community over the last century.  This initial six-part series is about World War I, the childhood memories of Bert, Britain's second-oldest man, whose flittering mind (more moth than butterfly in David Ryall's finely judged portrayal) introduces each episode.  Bert's parents are Maxine Peake and John Simm, happily casting aside every last vestige of likeability.  The scene in which Simm tried to hang himself from the one tree on his failing smallholding until Peake and Bert (Bill Jones) arrived to take his weight, was truly jaw-dropping.  Sunday evening on BBC1 - the Cranford/Lark Rise slot - who would have thought?  Also grabbing my attention are the inbreds up at the Big House.  I haven't noticed Kit Jackson, who plays Lord Allingham, before - but I've certainly noticed him now.  And Jim Cartwright, writer of Little Voice and Vroom, the only film set in my native Nelson, as the pub landlord - who knew he could also act?

Doctor Who itself is back and I'm afraid I've lost interest.  I liked the ice warrior the other week, but failed to get excited by this week's micro universe despite an exceptional cast.  Matt Smith's Doctor has become irritating - I for one would love to stick his bloody sonic screwdriver where the sun don't shine - and we have yet another tiresome overarching story about the true nature of new companion Clara Oswald.  Perhaps I'm alone in this but, as one who watched the very first episode back in '63, I thought unexplained mystery was part of the appeal.  It's a shame, because I enjoyed the Christmas special this year and thought we might have escaped the overarch.  I will doubtless watch the 50 year special but I'm not sure I can be bothered to watch this Saturday's episode.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Scroll for springtime

Could resist this beautiful image of a vase and peony on a Chinese paper scroll.  From the British Museum's online collection via Twitter.