Cultdown collective podcast live from Gallicon 2011. Apart from loads of excellent reports about panels and goings on in the lobby and the amazing Tiki Dalek, our hosts informed us at the end, that a new costume drama would be starting Sunday night.
South Riding, a BBC drama in three parts, tells the story of rural Yorkshire in the deep dark days of the depression in the 1930's, as opposed to the one going on right now. Because they only have three hours to tell the whole story there's a whole lot action going on. The Lord's granddaughter and her da who's at least as messed up as her mam, the head mistress who is alone and hates all representations of the tory warmongers but is actually pinning for her husband who's life was wasted in the trenches of WW1. Then there's the town council composed of visionaries, a randy old preacher and the developer with a heart of gold. Can Sarah Burton clean up the school, can the walking basket case Midge Carne rise above the unwanted insanity from her genetics, will Lydia Holly climb her way out "the shacks" to become the next great poet of the working classes? Never having read the novel I haven't a clue, but I can tell you this, I'm hooked. Part gothic novel part reformist propaganda serial, South Riding puts a human face on the unjust and unequal life of ordinary folk just prior to the end of the depression. With just enough drama, blackmail and social injustice to keep your inner historian and your dramatic serial craving in check. As in a previous review, yet again I choose to praise a young actress who is asked to play the deranged and deeply disturbed Midge, Katherine McGolpin manages to play a convincing disturbed girl where she could have overplayed it and been an overly dramatic Shakespearean caricature. While the Midge character is not the centre of the story, she is sufficiently interesting to compete with the far more normal Lydia whose only real ambition is to get out of the grinding poverty her family lives in. If any one group of people seems to be invisible, it's the farmer's daughters who compose most of the student population despite being the mainstream, they are played more as window dressing, albeit really good window dressing. Not complaining by any stretch of the imagination, Kiplington High is the driving force for the whole narrative and ties the various people in it up in the ultimate fate of the school and the community and needs to stand out as more than bricks and mortar. If that means making light of the student body, so be it.
"Kitchen secrets". In a half hour of what could only be defined as cookery crack cocaine, Chef Blanc shows us 3 minutes moules marinières to die for. The rest of the shellfish dishes are all as intoxicating, and if you have basic cooking skills, not anywhere near as daunting as you would think. Unlike a certain cookery programme that started last week, inspired by Raymond Blanc, I am checking the state of the treasury and planning a seafood extravaganza for as soon as I can clear an evening for the time it'll take to eat and wallow in this delectable bounty of the sea. Kitchen secrets series two is a gift in 8 parts, the next one being Cakes and Pastries. Take the time to record these master classes in fine cooking so you too can impress. You may not dress a plate like a Michelin chef, but if you follow the instructions, there is no reason you can't be eating like one.
Master Chef plebs version , ran episode three in which we were told "Today's culling is going to be ferocious!". And Greg Wallace was right, what he didn't reckon on was the culling was in his stomach should he eat all that was on offer. We had raw spuds, cling film in poached egg, flat Yorkshire pudding and seriously underdone fish. Vegetarian Jackie impressed me with her Thai dish that included shrimps, I certainly hope she continues like this if she hopes to win Masterchef. The new kitchen stadium wasn't at all as bad as I thought it would be and the notion of frying up an omelette was quickly dismissed. John, Gregg, have you been reading my notes???? Yes the secret ingredient was in fact egg, but they had to use the egg in innovative and original ways. In other words.... cook normally. You had the usual pastas, batters and mayo as well as a lovely pudding of custard and meringue made from egg whites and egg yolks. Clearly not the dumbed down US version some of us had feared. And yet it wasn't entirely removed from the x factor histrionics. We found out one contestant wanted to do this for her father by cooking his favourite....roast beef. One hopes it wasn't the roast beef that killed him or else John and Gregg are in deep trouble. (Search for my standard apology if you think I have just been insensitive and cruel).
|WI snoot Amy Willcock|
And on that bombshell I leave you to your cricket and Nicholas Courtney memorial reading.