Tag Archives: Olivia Colman

Broadchurch: Compelling – or trying too hard?

23FB35D000000578-2870505-image-a-1_1418326838060You’ll be forgiven for missing it as ITV did hardly any promotion whatsoever (snort!) but a little known drama called Broadchurch returned to our screens last night; picking up the story where we left off. The sleepy seaside settlement had been rocked by the revelation that Joe Miller had killed young Danny Latimer after the investigations of DS Hardy and Joe’s own wife, Ellie, outed him and prompted him to confess.  Continue reading

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Broadchurch: Mystery-on-sea

broadchurch(Ep.1) The trailer for Broadchurch really tells you most of what you need to know. David Tennant is in it and he’s looking haunted. Olivia Colman cries a lot. It’s about the murder of a young boy. It’s set by the sea and the sun is shining, but the town is full of secrets. There’s a cast of shadowy characters who will no doubt come to prominence as the series goes on (there are eight episodes) – the local reporter; the out of town reporter; the boy’s employer the grumpy newsagent; Olivia Colman’s son, the murdered boy’s friend, whose second reaction to the news of his friend’s death (the first was tears) was to delete every text and computer file relating to him; the young vicar; Pauline Quirke, who lives in a cliff-top caravan and hasn’t spoken yet but has been an onlooker.

It’s partly standard police procedural, but in the opening episode there were touches that lifted it above the standard. The presence of Tennant obviously gives it dramatic weight, but I was most impressed by Olivia Colman. As the local cop on the case and knowing the dead boy’s family personally, she’s heavily emotionally involved from the outset and Olivia Colman is totally real – she looks soaked in tears and grief, and it must have been a completely gruelling part to play.

Some of it was a wee bit obvious, like the boy’s dad’s progress through the town in the sunny morning before the murder was discovered, with a friendly word for every person he came across. We get it, it’s a friendly, tight-knit community. There were also some amazingly powerful scenes, such as when the boy’s mother was stuck in traffic and realised that the cause of the jam was that a body had been found at the beach. Already worried because her son hadn’t turned up for school, she left her car and set off running towards the beach in blind panic. I should think every parent in the country could relate to exactly how she was feeling. I bet more than one person went to check that junior was safe and snug in bed after watching this.

Posted by PLA 

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Rev.: Series Two, Episode One

Rev. (note the well observed abbrev. punctuation) kicks off that classically difficult second series and can’t be said to have hit the ground at full pelt. But it speaks of the high standards set by the first series, that this delicately observed and beautifully written piece can still be below expectations.

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Jaffa cakes and wanking: Rev episode 6

I have to confess to being a recent convert to watching Rev after I casually saw the first episode and then let it slip. A lapsed viewer.  I repented and used iPlayer to catch the final episode 6. How blessed I now feel.

Some have called it an inner city Vicar of Dibley. But this is about as weak as lumping together Big Train and On the Buses because their titles both reference forms of transport.

Tom Hollander essays Rev Adam Smallbone in a way that transcends just a comic performance and illuminates the quiet desperations of modern life.  An impressive thing to do as part of a half hour sit com.

I literally have no idea how episodes 2 through 5 unfolded, and recall little of episode 1, but my guess is that episode 6 allows  Tom Hollander to release many of his pent up frustrations, regrets and doubts that have weighed him down as he navigates his perceived failures and hopelessness.

The beauty of this setting seems to be that it allows carefully observed language and subtle characterisation to co-exist alongside references to Poker Party, social media, the St James Bible and school fund-raising.

It would of course be pretentious to compare this jamming together of websites, crap TV and the Bible to TS Eliot’s  The Wasteland so I wouldn’t do so.  But I might if I was as drunk and uninhibited as Rev Smallbone.

The most commented upon scene in this episode was the dancing, in which a drunk Tom Hollander in fancy dress as a vicar at a Vicar and Tarts party, tries to seduce the local headmistress, seen as akin to Ricky Gervais jaw-dropping dance in the Office.

But I prefered his sink of iniquity lying  on his couch throwing a sickie, drinking and watching daytime TV.  His exchange with his wife Alex returning from her working day:

“Is the crisis over? What have you done today?”

“Stole some jaffa cakes.  Ate them all.  And then I watched seven episodes of Channel 5’s Farmer wants a Wife.  And then I had a wank.”

“And have these things restored your faith in God?”

“No they haven’t. The farmers keep choosing the wrong women. The wank was quite nice though.” Continue reading

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Rev.: Banging the Bishop

Ordinarily, there’s nothing on earth that would tempt me to watch a sitcom called Rev., about a country vicar taking over an inner-city parish. I’d mentally file it under ‘boring telly for older folks’, a large and unwieldy cabinet that contains Heartbeat, Morse, Midsomer Murders, etc. Then, cos I’m young and hip (hey, what the eye don’t see), I’d turn over and watch True Blood. At least, I would if it was on, and if I had a telly, which I don’t at the moment.

However, the cunning BBC casting people were clearly one step ahead, and brought in as the eponymous collar-jockey the only person who would induce me to watch: Tom Hollander. I love Tom Hollander. I would watch him if he was reading the phone book. I would watch him if he was presenting Top Gear. I would watch him if he was in Heartbeat. Oh, no, I probably wouldn’t. But I would consider it. Anyway, I have loved him ever since I saw him in the 1998 film Bedrooms and Hallways. In fact I can’t believe I haven’t done a ‘Lustbox’ on him yet. Watch this space.

So what about the programme, you’re asking. Well it was actually very enjoyable, despite following a fairly standard vicar-new boy-doesn’t know the rules of the land-evil Archbishop trope. I was afraid for a while that, despite the merciful lack of laughter track, it might veer into Vicar of Dibley territory. But it cleverly avoided this trap, and ate its cake too, via the device of three stereotyped yob builders yelling ‘Dibley! Dibley!’ at the reverend. Eventually, they goaded him beyond endurance and he whipped off his dog collar and shouted, ‘Why don’t you just fuck off!’ which was a deeply satisfying and very non-Dibley moment.

Things I liked about it included the curate, Nigel; the rev’s excellently believable – and good – relationship with his wife (another very watchable actor, Olivia Colman); and the sardonic Archbishop who holds all his meetings in a black cab. I also liked the crappiness of the parts of Shoreditch they filmed in, and the scruffy Colin, who plans to kick Richard Dawkins in the nuts.

I wasn’t keen on the congregant who finds vicars and churches so alluring that she orgasms during sermons; that’s a one-take gag I fear they are planning to stretch till it snaps like an perished elastic band. And I felt weary when I realised that Alexander Armstrong was playing the local MP in exactly the same way he has played every other role. But none of that mattered, because there, at the heart of it, stealing every scene, was Tom Hollander. And for that reason alone, I will watch again next week.

 

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