Tag Archives: BBC

Jeremy Clarkson – a Few Thoughts

30 Mar

I have been more than a little disturbed by the back swell against Jeremy Clarkson’s sacking by the BBC.  The man committed an act of violence against an employee and people want him to keep his job?

I am going to ask you a question.  I don’t expect you to answer, but I would like you to think about the question a lot and reply honestly to yourself.

Would your attitude towards Jeremy Clarkson be different if the producer he had abused and then hit had been a woman?

There should be no difference, but the inbuilt sexism of the majority will mean that there is.  The sex of the victim should make no difference, but in the eyes of the media and of the general public, it frequently does.  Violence is not acceptable.  A tendency to use fists to settle arguments shows the character of a person quite clearly.  And it is not an attractive picture.  Only brute animals use violence to get their own way.

There is NO excuse for Jeremy Clarkson’s behaviour.  He verbally and then physically abused another human being.  For no better reason than there was no hot food.  There would have been hot food if he hadn’t larked around in a pub drinking for hours.

Actions have consequences.  Most people learn this before they are five years old.

Jeremy Clarkson belongs to that annoying subset of humanity known as the “self entitled celebrity”.  These people think the world should make exceptions for them.  Never mind that the hotel staff were tired after a long shift and wanted to go home.  His irresponsibility kept them there until the manager made an executive decision to send his staff home.  As any good manager would.  Clarkson should have accepted that his actions had meant there was no hot meal.  He had no right to go off at the producer the way he did.  Face it, if your toddler behaved like that, your most likely response would be a smacked arse and time out.

The BBC really had no choice but to sack Clarkson.  Not just because he was on his last warning.  I don’t know what the workplace safety laws are like in the United Kingdom, but if that had happened in Australia Jeremy Clarkson would be in a pile of ordure up to his neck!  Bullying, verbal harassment, physical harassment, physical harm – Clarkson would be looking at huge personal fines and perhaps jail time, as would the BBC for allowing it to happen!  This is without the possible criminal charges that would stem from such an altercation.

Maybe now Clarkson will learn about the necessity of taking responsibility for his own actions.  That every thing that he does will have consequences.  This has been a lesson a long time coming, and only time will tell if it has been thoroughly learned or not.

Sherlock: Chronicles

14 Dec

“Sherlock: Chronicles” by Steve Tribe is an in depth guide to seasons 1 to 3 of the BBC production “Sherlock” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

However, the book isn’t simply for fans of the show.  Yes, it is aimed at the show’s fan base, but it is also a book for Sherlock Holmes aficionados.

This book has photographs of earlier portrayals of Holmes and Watson, such as Brett & Hardwicke, and Rathbone & Bruce.  There are also reproductions of a couple of Sidney Paget’s original illustrations.  For this Sherlock Holmes fan, the inclusion of photos from the 1970s movie “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely was the icing on the cake.

There are many excellent photos, a lot of them behind the scenes, which delighted the heart of this backroom geek girl.

There are deleted scenes from the episodes, and also, for the Sherlock Holmes fans, wonderful comparisons of scenes from the script juxtaposed with the original pieces from the stories on which the quoted scene was based.

The book is also threaded through with quotes and interviews with Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss, Steve Moffat, Sue Vertue, Loo Brealey, Arwel Wyn Jones, et al.

The section on costuming was very interesting.  I was unaware just how much input both Benedict and Martin had had into Sherlock and John’s respective wardrobes.

Steve Tribe has created a book that will delight the fan girls, hold the interest of Sherlock Holmes fans, and absorb the geeks who love to know how things are done on television.  And trust me, there is a lot of “How We Did This Stuff”.  I found how they did the tube train scenes in “The Empty Hearse” particularly fascinating.

Highly recommended.


27 Jul

“Vikings” was written as a companion volume to Neil Oliver’s excellent BBC documentary series of the same name.  However, it is a worthwhile read in its own right.

The book traces the Vikings from their earliest roots down all their divergent paths.

Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Vikings are all covered, usually separately, but sometimes together where their historical paths overlap.

Neil also takes a good look at Icelanders, who are the most obvious descendants of the Vikings.  Probably the most memorable part of this section is Neil’s encounter with hakarl – basking shark which is buried for 3 months and left to rot.  He gives an entire page to descriptions of the sensory experience of eating the stuff.  In the documentary, his face was a picture when he ate it.  In the book he describes the experience so minutely that you get the feeling that this is one particular experience that will remain with him for the rest of his life.

The book is lavishly illustrated with photographs and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Vikings, the history of Scandinavia, and the history of the United Kingdom.

The Return of Jim Moriarty

1 Jun

I’ve been contemplating how Steve Moffat and Mark Gatiss are going to bring Jim back from the dead and I have one idea.  It’s not my idea, actually, it’s pretty much accepted canon amongst Sherlock Holmes scholars. 

Our Jim won’t be rising from the dead.  Nope.  He’s as dead as the proverbial dodo.  The accepted Sherlock Holmes wisdom is that there were three James Moriartys.  Yes, you read that correctly, three of them.  They were brothers, all named James. James the Elder, James the Middle, and James the Younger.  The Moriarty of the canon, and probably the Jim of Sherlock, is the middle brother.

Confusing isn’t it?  And you thought Moffat and Gatiss were bad!  This is what serious Sherlock Holmes scholars came up with YEARS ago.  It’s been more or less accepted as canon for a large number of years, the same way that Sherlock’s first name of William is accepted, even though Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never so much as hints that Sherlock is not his creation’s first name!  I have read several “biographies” of Sherlock Holmes that state his first name is William, named after his father.  The family was originally landed gentry from Yorkshire, but that’s getting off topic somewhat.

Anyway, back to the James Moriarty Trio.  At least two contemporary writers of Sherlock Holmes fiction have used the idea.  Most notable is Kim Newman in “The Hound of the D’Urbervilles”.  We actually meet the other two Jameses in his book.  And the idea is mentioned in passing in Michael Kurland’s “The Infernal Device”.

The accepted wisdom is that James the Elder was in the military (have seen the ranks of both Major and Colonel mooted), and James the Younger was a station master, possibly in Devon or Cornwall.  The younger James is also often referred to as not being as bright as his brothers, so he is not likely to be the James that Moffat and Gatiss possibly utilize.  They would also have to dramatically change his profession, because if England is anything like Australia, there aren’t any station masters left!  Apart from the Fat Controller of Thomas the Tank Engine! :p

So we are possibly looking at James the Elder seeking retribution against Sherlock, John, and Mycroft.  In my mind, the most logical military post for him would be Military Intelligence.  This would give him the skill set necessary to even begin to take on the two greatest brains in England… and one pissed off ex-army doctor.

The game, as Sherlock says, is on.

Sherlock Official Convention: Australia Stiffed

10 Feb

The BBC and Hartswood Films have announced that there will be official Sherlock conventions during 2014.  At first I was delighted, then disillusion and misery set in.

As per bloody normal, the conventions will only be in Europe and the USA.  What about the fans down here in Australia and New Zealand?  Don’t we matter?  You’re happy to take our money for the dvds, books etc, but you won’t give us the treat of seeing the cast and crew.

I think I’m entitled to feel ripped off and neglected.  Pretty sure you buggers can easily afford to arrange one measly convention in Melbourne or Sydney, but no, the fans down here don’t matter.  It would cost me at least $5,000 to get to one of the European or US conventions.  Money I don’t have, not when I am saving frantically for a UK holiday next year.  I could easily afford to travel to Sydney for a con, or better yet attend one here in Melbourne.

Why do they do this?  Are Australasian fans less important in the scheme of things?  We love the show and the stars, but it seems that we don’t matter to anyone in positions of power.

I would really like an answer to why we in the antipodes are being ignored.  But asking for an explanation will go unanswered, because the fact there is no convention for us is an answer in itself.


Ripper Street

28 Jul

The much acclaimed BBC series “Ripper Street” started here in Australia last night and after one episode I am already a fan.

Written and created by Richard Warlow, it seamlessly blends historical figures with fictional ones to create a smooth, but gritty, production that doesn’t attempt to whitewash the nasty aspects of Victorian English society.

Matthew MacFadyen plays Inspector Edmund Reid of H Division, which includes Whitechapel.  Edmund Reid was a real person who initially ran the Jack the Ripper case, until Scotland Yard sent Freddie Abberline in to take charge.  Abberline is also a character in Ripper Street.

The show uses actual Ripper victim photos, really blurring the line between fact and fiction.

The other two major characters of fictional.  Reid’s sergeant, Drake, and an extremely annoying American former army surgeon and Pinkterton agent, Homer Jackson.   I took against Jackson when he hit a woman, brothel owner Susan.  I know it’s accurate for the time period, but doesn’t mean I have to like it or the character.  Though it is obvious that Jackson is being set up to be somewhat unlikeable in the viewers eyes.  Inspector Reid (to Sgt Drake): I know it’s tempting, but try not to kill him.

The plot of the first episode involves the possible return of the Ripper and Freddie Abberline’s obsession with catching him, bare knuckled fighting, naughty postcards and the world’s first snuff movie.  Best scene has to be Reid, Drake and Jackson trapped in a burning photographer’s studio.  Drake (about Reid): What’s he doing?  Jackson: Crazy bastard’s making gunpowder!

The use of Victorian street slang or thieves’ cant works.  Quite often attempts at this can come across as pretentious.  In “Ripper Street” it works and works well.

“Ripper Street” is delicious.  Dark, lush, atmospheric, grotesque at times, violent, exciting, and totally compelling viewing.  It actually reminds me on some levels of the “Cribb” series of the 1980s, but much deeper and richer.

As soon as “Ripper Street” is available on dvd here in Australia, I will be buying it.  It is a show that will repay many, many viewings.

Forming the Cumbercollective on the Graham Norton Show

19 May

Finally Channel 10 in Australia showed the edition of the Graham Norton Show with Benedict Cumberbatch on it.  I do want to have a little snipe at 10 though….it would have been nice if you’d advertised ALL of the guests, not just Chris Pine and Kim Cattral…if I hadn’t known they were on the same show I would have missed it.  Channel 10 – your promotional people need firing.

Anyways….I am not a regular watcher of the Graham Norton Show, mostly because Channel 10 shows it too late on a Sunday night for this little birdie whose normal working week routine involves getting up before either the sparrows or the sun!

However, it was well worth sitting up for…and spending today impersonating a dormouse under my desk when I get the opportunity.

Chris Pine was very good.  His story about being pursued by a man wearing only one sock was hilarious. 

I do love Graham Norton’s format where he gets all the guests out at once and they basically sit and chat.  It works so well and doesn’t have the horrible stilted feel so many interview based shows have. 

It was however, Benedict Cumberbatch that I was watching for.  I was not disappointed.  He is just so lovely…and yes, I know, I am gushing.  Benedict is a wonderful guest for shows like Graham’s as he is only too happy to tell stories against himself.  The ‘neutron cream’ gag the Star Trek Into Darkness team pulled on him for example.

Poor Ben was so embarrassed when the topic of fan names came up.  He refused to say “Cumberbitches”, preferring to refer to us the Cumbercollective.  Whatever you want to call us, Ben, is fine.  I was going to say ‘we’re easy’, but that is open to massive misinterpretation.

The sight of Ben running up and down into the audience to hug his fans was so sweet.  Though I nearly collapsed laughing when Chris Pine hugged Tor, who is probably Ben’s best known fan.  The outraged squawk of “He just kissed one of my bitches!” was delightful.  Benedict does righteous outrage so well.

Benedict talking about doing “Frankenstein” with Jonny Lee Miller was very interesting.  Oh and Benedict, thank you so much for adding to my education!  Teabagging. Oh. My. God. 

Benedict talking about delivering the dialogue for “Sherlock” was also very interesting.  I hadn’t really thought about the complexity, not so much of the dialogue itself, but the method of delivery.

Graham getting Benedict to do the trailer for the show in a sinister manner was very funny.  Not half as funny, though, as Benedict’s wickedly accurate impersonation of Graham that followed!  I was literally crying with laughter at that.  I hadn’t realized just how good a mimic Benedict is.  I had heard him do Alan Rickman, but seeing him do Graham Norton, complete with bouncy body language, was absolutely hysterical.

I think I’m in love.

Completely Cumberbatched!

26 Feb


Cumberbatched: An affliction affecting large numbers of women across the world who are hooked on BBC’s Sherlock.  It takes the form of complete fascination with the high cheekbones, exotic green eyes, creamy translucent skin and cupid’s bow mouth of the star, Benedict Cumberbatch.  Those afflicted tend to be under about 30.  I’m over 40 and I’m Cumberbatched.  I am not sure whether I should be congratulated, pitied or scolded.

I have been a Sherlockian since I first came across Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel “A Study in Scarlet” when I was about 10.  I have read all 4 novels and 57 stories numerous times, read pastiches by other writers, watched every damn version of movie and television I could come across.  I’d heard about the modernization of Sherlock Holmes and wasn’t too impressed with the idea…until two weeks ago.

A friend of mine got into it and suggested I would like it.  Quoting lines to me which piqued my interest.  So I bought the season 1 DVDs.  I was enchanted from the first moment.  It was obvious that the writers, Mark Gatiss and Steve Moffat, were also Sherlockians, because the subtle canon references came thick and fast.  What was also obvious was the undeniable charms of the star, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benedict puts me in mind of a Fairy Prince come out of the Hollow Hills in search of foolish maidens to lure to their doom.  I am neither foolish nor a maiden, but would be amenable to being lured!

Benedict has said in interviews that he would like to play Hamlet.  Personally, I would love to see him play Oberon in “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream”.  With his exotic looks, he would be the most chilling and believable Oberon ever.  Oberon is NOT a nice character.  King of the Fairies, selfish, dictatorial, sets his wife up to be humiliated, yet given to bursts of kindness, as when he tries to untangle the love affairs of the mortals who are roaming his forest.

If Martin Freeman was teamed with him as Puck…oh what a perfect production that would be.

A wonderful dream for me to contemplate.  But, meanwhile, I have Sherlock dvds to watch, the anticipation of season 3 to savor, whilst continuing to be comprehensively Cumberbatched.

What fools these mortals be!


25 Feb

Now that the obligatory ockerism is out of the way, welcome to my blog.

I’ve decided I need an outlet for my musings, meanderings and generally wandering thoughts, that is slightly larger that 140 characters.  Twitter is a lot of fun, but terribly frustrating for the terminally verbose.

You will, I guess, want to know something about me.  40 something, female, Aussie with a reasonably original mind.  The subjects I will probably cover will include the things I enjoy, such as “Sherlock” (with Benedict Cumberbatch & Martin Freeman), NCIS, books I have particularly enjoyed, food, random occurrences, and also things that drive me totally crazy.

Given that this is a federal election year in Australia, and I loathe politics in any way, shape or form, the possibility exists of several half crazed political rants by the time the election has been and gone in September.

I probably won’t blog everyday, I don’t want to become predictable.  There’s no fun in that.

So, welcome aboard.  Take a seat.  There are oxygen masks above your seats in the case of any emergency.  Fasten your seat belts.  We’re off!

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