So while you can't say feckin on Corrie and Jamie Maguire will never suddenly become police inspector, I know which show is the one that's an insult to my intelligence and values. I also know which show will accurately reflect, warts and all the Condemn Nation and the effects of it on poorest of the poor.
Upstairs Downstairs is back and save a bit of lezzing up that was so tame last night I could honestly admit to have done more to my cat, has stayed the course with well written sub plots that play well into the main theme of the phony war and the decline of the big houses. I must admit to having bizarre fantasies regarding Alex Kingston. I fully expect her to draw a gun or pick up her blue Tardis shaped diary. Tho only one hour long once a week for only a few weeks, the quality of the cast, the sets and the scripts means I will glued to seat for the foreseeable couple of Sunday nights.Upstairs Downstairs does one thing well that Downton Abbey fails to do, it respects costumes, morals, ideology, facts, chronology, and still manages to be entertaining. Hair and clothing, especially for the women, is based on the fashions of the time and actresses that will not wear the full kit soon learn they can't do costume drama at the BBC unless they are prepared to wear the clothes too. Chronology is also pretty basic and obvious, but clearly not a important enough for Downtown to pay it any heed. Lastly, to give you an idea of how the two shows rate, when my father who lived in those houses down to the silverware in the 1930's, watched both, he muttered constantly about how the Downtown help and family would never have behaved like that, even reaching crescendos of indignation for wasting his time, but during Upstairs, he quietly does a running commentary confirming the best and the worst of all the behaviour and taste on display be it the family or the servants. It's just a play you say, but when doing these things, especially in the literary classics, you have to be reminded that these films will be going into schools. People will be learning from them. Why, if you can, do you not then make the effort to be as precise as is possible? It's not like it's a stripped down Hamlet with one light, one chair, one skull and a hand puppet. These dramas cost vast sums of money and getting it right is as important as having a fun script.
Inspector Montalbano on BBC4. This adult drama in Italian, is rich in humour and reflects an albeit stylised representation of life in Silvio Berlusconi's Italy. Salvo Montalbano is a 40 something man married to his work but trying hard to satisfy his matrimonially itchy girlfriend of 8 years. The relationship plays out in the background as the team led by Salvo tries to get to core of matters all the while not upsetting too many apple carts. Comic relief is provided by the inept desk officer who has a hard time remembering important messages and cannot pronounce names to save his life. As detective fiction, it works best if the viewer understands that by 60 minutes, you likely know all you need to solve the crime of the evening. If you missed any, BBC iPlayer will be holding onto the films for two months after broadcast AND there will be 10 in total with more to come we hope. Fingers crossed, the axe poised to drop on the jewel that is BBC 4 will not stop the buying of wonderful foreign language productions like Montalbano, The Killing, Spirale or Borgen. Watch it while you can, you know before the powers that be dumb it all down to about the level of BBC 3 or ITV 2.
If you have a moment, please send a strongly worded message to the BBC that they should leave BBC 4 alone. I mean, if a bunch of people who didn't listen to a load of pretentious twadle on radio 6 saved it, why not the actual lorry loads of actual people who watch the actually well rated science, history and drama on BBC 4.