Tag Archives: Ray Winstone

Great Expectations (episode 3): Show me the money

But Pip! Me 'air's long now, an I looks like a gentleman.

So the Beeb’s Xmas showpiece reached its conclusion last night with Pip in a jam. Not only was the arrival of Magwitch a serious embarrassment to a young man with pretensions, but it left him with the problem of how to get rid of a villain wanted by both the constabulary and the rascally Compeyson. The latter, who was the ruffian from the fens and Miss Havisham’s old swain, had offered a reward of £1000 for Magwitch. Enough to tempt Orlick from the forge into making some mischief. Though to be fair Pip had crossed Orlick so many times he’d likely have interfered for nothing. How would Pip to get Magwitch to safety? Why, by leaving it to Wemmick and Herbert of course, while he was left free to make pained expressions and high-mindedly refuse anymore of Magwitch’s lucre.

Pip’s facial rictus became yet more pronounced when he found that Estella was to marry Bentley Drummle. This pushed him to stop forelock tugging and finally tell Miss Havisham a few home truths. Whether it was this or her continued rejections by Estella I’m not sure, but Miss H was inspired to test the flammability of her old wedding dress (while wearing it), giving Gillian Anderson a terrific death scene to top a riveting performance.

Let go! I want to marry that Drummle over there. His sneer's well-cool.

Generally things were conspiring to grind Pip’s (by now extremely taut) face in his former smugness, and the revelation that Estella was actually Magwitch’s daughter was just one of many hammer blows. From here we rather galloped to the denouement, leaving quite a few loose ends along the way.


Filed under Drama

Great Expectations (episode 2): I know thee not old man (and possibly old woman)

I look nothing like Hercule Poirot, okay?

So Pip is off to a strangely smoke- and horseshit-free London to claim his fortune. For us this affords the pleasure of a closer look at David Suchet’s Mr Jaggers. An expert turn this, from an old trooper. Not only do we get the cold efficiency of a man whose skills are completely dedicated to Mammon, but also the merest hint of exasperation at the fecklessness of the young bucks for whom he has responsibility. One feels quite sorry for him really, especially as Pip immediately sets out on the predictable trajectory of a lad with more money than sense.

New furniture, tailored clothes, fine wines, an effete accent and squiggly handwriting: it seems that the nouveau-flush Pip doesn’t want to deny himself any indulgence. The only thing he doesn’t seem to have is a moral compass, a feature accentuated by the contrast with Herbert Pocket, his guide to the world of the gentry, who has given up money for love. Joe Gargery arriving at Pip’s gentleman’s club like the ghost of plebs past provokes mortification. As I said yesterday Joe is played by Shaun Dooley with a harder edge than in many other versions and this sharpens the chill in his relations with Pip. Rather than a confused buffoon we get a man with pride and integrity who loves Pip and is heartbroken by his slide into dilettantism. Still, with Pip’s post-Twilight looks I’m not sure how Joe could ever have thought he was blacksmith material.

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Filed under Drama

Great Expectations (episode 1): Who’s the sugar daddy?


Who you calling scum?

Certain things in life are inevitable. Death and taxes, said Benjamin Franklin, but he might have added the certainty that one day Ray Winstone would loom out of a misty fen to scare the shit out of Pip in a Christmas production of Great Expectations. The move from being a prisoner  mashing someone’s head with a sock full of snooker balls in Scum to being an escaped prisoner (Magwitch) threatening to cut out Pip’s throat allows Ray to show us his full range. Luckily for him, Pip is a blacksmith’s boy and well-placed to help file off some inconvenient fetters (which in true Scum-style immediately become a very convenient cosh). Alas to no avail as Magwitch, after  stopping to wrestle another ruffian,  is soon hauled off by the local soldiery.

Pip is not short of other grotesques in his life however, a number soon added to by his summons to the house of eccentric toff Miss Havisham.  The reassuring familiarity of Sexy Beast Winstone as a hooligan is more than balanced by the shock of Gillian Anderson popping up playing Miss H.  It seems a mere eye-blink ago that she was the sexy, sceptical Scully in the X-files and an object of fantasy for adolescent boys everywhere. How can she now be the ghostly jiltee with the cobwebby wedding cake? Clearly celebs age faster than the rest of us. It’s why they need all that plastic surgery and personal training.  It does suggest some interesting possibilities though; I’m already looking forward to next year’s TV with Justin Beiber taking over as Grandpa in my Pocket. Continue reading


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The Apprentice 702: Who buys this cr-app?

As Qwerty Solo was off out galavanting and/or gadding about last night (she didn’t specify which), I was left to play Velocity Skywalker in her absence following her sterling First Night work here.

So, what did The Best Salespeople Ever to Honour The Humble Universe By Letting Their Glorious Feet Tread Upon It, which handily abbreviates to TBSETHTHUBLTGFTUI, come up with this time?

They had to do it without Exploding Edward the Angry Accountant, who bade us farewell in the previous instalment, presumably to go on to greater things in the medical profession or similar (“LOOK, I DON’T CARE if you’re haemorrhaging or WHATEVER, roll with the punches and SQUEEZE the BALLS out them ORANGES FASTER!”).

So, how did the remaining TBSETHTHUBLTGFTUI (see, catchy, eh?) do? I’ll answer this question with another – how many words are there in the English language for “bad”? Well, all of those. Possibly even more than that.

"I told you to only switch the blaaahdy computer on"

First and foremost, my thanks go to the programme makers by editing the swooshy music sound effects over the pictures so that SirAlun/LordShugah/EmperorAmstradAlmighty/whatever appeared to have morphed into a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Yo, Al! Join this band, they’d love to have you, I’m sure! AllyBaby then showed admirable range by resembling a wobbly-headed Thunderbirds puppet channelling Ray Winstone in the obligatory “listen up, you blaaahdy shlags!” style introduction video. Incidentally, this episode’s blaaahdy count = 0. Boo.

This episode’s Herculean, humanity-saving task was designing mobile phone apps for a global market. This was greeted by:

a)      Thomas The Inventor Engine (whom I rather like- solidarity for glasses wearers and all that) in a suit at 5am. To be fair, he had probably been up all night in it designing chocolate-coated teapots or similar;

b)      Much high-pitched squealing and nightwear-clad excitement (which was all rather Channel 5 for my tastes), apart from;

c)      Some groggy-looking girl in what appeared to be a zebra-print dressing gown. Given the CVs of the candidates generally, maybe her previous claim to fame was running a market stall with Robert Mugabe or something; and

d)      Lots of app-based puns that were by and large app-alling (oh shut up, it’s still better than Vincent the Musketeer’s tumbleweed-inducing “app-le” gag). Continue reading


Filed under The Apprentice