Tag Archives: kate atkinson

Wentworth Prison: Heating up and dying down

wentworth_s2_ep2_1605444549Season 2 Episode 2

There was a lot going on in Wentworth Correctional Facility this week. Bizarrely, the main focus was on a new foreign inmate’s constipation, which landed Franky in the shit – but not in the way she had wanted.

After breaking down the language barriers, it emerged that the newcomer had a stash of drugs lodged in her digestive system, but they were in no hurry to escape. Franky, having upset a lot of her customers through lack of supplies, was eager for her to go to the toilet, which left Boomer on faecal watch duties.

Well-meaning Liz was on hand to try and keep the situation under control but tragedy struck as the drugs got into her system after a struggle and left her convulsing to death. This gave the underrated Celia Ireland, who plays Liz, a chance to shine as her alter ego broke down in guilt as she wept her apologies to the dying person who had been left in her care. The scene was daunting, dramatic and heavily emotional, sapped somewhat by Channel 5’s warning before it aired that gave away exactly what was going to happen.   Continue reading

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Wentworth Prison: Get your freak on

Episode 2.1

“My name is Joan Ferguson, but you can call me Governor.”

Officious hair bun, tight suit, purposeful eye glint, leather gloves and evil psychotic mannerisms all intact, ‘The Freak’ made her debut in Channel 5’s successful Australian prison drama Wentworth Prison last night, and the inmates had better watch out.

Jacs Holt may be burning in the pits of Hell below with ink and blood spewing out of her neck sinew, but there’s a new bad girl in town, and there is no messing with Joan Ferguson. Those who are old enough to remember the original Prisoner Cell Block H will recall that ‘The Freak’ was so called for a very good reason; and it looks like she is going to be no different here.1797411_470414156425539_832752410077173551_n

In the opening scenes of the episode, Joan Ferguson, played menacingly well by actress Pamela Rabe, made her mark on the prison, for inmates and officers alike, promising that things were going to change. Meanwhile, on edge since the departure of previous governor Erica, current top dog Franky Doyle grappled to reign over the unit.   Continue reading

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Lustbox: Jason Isaacs

A vast swathe of the nation appears to have come together for a collective swoon in the past three weeks. The object of our desire? Ladies and gents, may I present the simply lovely Jason Isaacs.

He’s been turning in many excellent acting performances over the years, but it’s his portrayal of Kate Atkinson’s private investigator Jackson Brodie that has got pulses racing.

You can’t fault his acting as Lucius Malfoy, but I can’t fancy him in, what he calls, his “Paris Hilton wig”. As Jackson in Case Histories (reviewed by Inkface) there is much to enjoy.

There’s the purely physical of course – a brawny, chiselled sexiness reminiscent of Daniel Craig, combined with tear-filled eyes and a gravelly voice that would produce goosebumps if you heard it your kitchen (or any other room in the house…).

It’s easy to see why women like Jackson – he’s damaged goods but not in a bad way, despite an imposing physical presence he’s clearly vulnerable, he’s a good man trying to do the right thing – and projecting that on to the aforementioned brawny canvas produces an irresistible object of desire. And getting him to take his shirt off a lot helps too.

As do the interviews Mr Isaacs gives which dismiss being a sex symbol as nonsense and show him to be a big softy as far as his kids are concerned.

I can only hope we get more Case Histories before too long. (Although after the BBC declined to give us more of the fabulous Zen, I’m not holding my breath).

Posted by Jo the Hat

All manner of Jason Isaacs goodness at LoveFilm and Amazon

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Case Histories: Whipsmart crime with a sexy twist

A friend gave me Kate Atkinson’s upmarket, super smart ‘crime’ novel when I was having nightmares about completing my case histories at the end of a counselling diploma, because the title was so pertinent. Case Histories became my favourite book since In the Fifth at Malory Towers and I’ve re-read it five times already, as well as gobbling up all of the subsequent novels in the ‘crime’ series. They are all tricksy, gripping and beautifully written, but my favourite character is the sweet-natured, slightly hopeless, messed up but deeply attractive Jackson Brodie.

So could I bear a TV adaptation? Would it mess with the Brodie in my head? Well yes it does, kind of. But that’s ok. I rate Jason Isaacs, AKA Lucius Malfoy, as being up there with Alan Rickman in terms of someone who makes pure evil appear entirely appealing.

In the books, Kate Atkinson superbly carves out a very clever, choppy set of narratives, which is why the novels bear repeat reading, and this complexity is hard to replicate on-screen. But they’ve done a decent job of it nonetheless. I’m not going into plot detail, except to say Brodie is a soft-hearted private detective who finds it hard to say no to damsels in distress, even vitriolic, racist old biddies who have lost their cats. He is haunted by a childhood tragedy involving his sister, and gets drawn to a number of cases involving women, including one where two sisters ask him to look into the mysterious disappearance of their younger sibling decades before.

What’s to enjoy:

  • They’ve chosen to give it a backdrop of Edinburgh, and this is shot beautifully
  • Brodie has superb taste in music, encompassing the likes of Alison Krauss and Nanci Griffith, tracks from whom are played throughout
  • Phil Davis is in it. Genius
  • Natasha Little is very good too
  • Once you get past the spectre of Jason Isaacs as the splendidly evil Lucius Malfoy, you can enjoy him being a good guy. He does a lot of running around attractive Edinburgh locations (see first point) and gets all sweaty. Nuff said.
  • There are more superb novels for the creators of this to draw on when they’ve finished making Case Histories. Rivalling Jackson Brodie as a top character is the truly delightful messed-up detective, Louise Munroe, who we meet in the next novel.
  • Overall, it’s top telly
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