Tag Archives: Sophie McShera

Downton Abbey: Bad news for Lord G

downton abbey(Series 5, ep.7 In possibly the most aristocratic thing they’ve ever done, we left Lord and Lady Grantham at the end of last night’s episode preparing to go to sleep with a dying dog in the bed with them. At least it’s got Lord G back in the marital bed after Mr Bricker’s midnight creep.

Lord G’s beloved Isis wasn’t at her best last week, and this week a vet delivered the terrible news that Isis is very soon destined for the Great Kennel in the Sky. Lord G is now carrying Isis everywhere rather like Tom Cruise carries Dakota Fanning everywhere in War of the Worlds.   Continue reading

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Downton Abbey: Mr Bricker’s midnight creep

downton(Series 5, ep.5  At the moment I’m finding Downton entertaining but not unmissable, while the rest of the family have given up on it altogether. Basically, quite a lot happens, but not much happens. Each week the continuing stories get nudged forward a little, new characters appear and old ones disappear, but I don’t feel any strong story arc. Frankly, it’s feeling just a little bit stale.

So what was happening this week? The Dowager enlisted the doctor’s help to split Lord Merton and Mrs Crawley up, but then they both agreed that actually Lord M and Mrs C are quite well-suited.

Mrs Patmore inherited some money and asked Carson for investment advice just because he’s a man. Then she ignored the advice he gave – mainly because he’s a man, but also he doesn’t know anything about investments.   Continue reading

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Downton Abbey: The man who won’t be dumped

This photograph is (C) Carnival Film & Television Ltd and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with Downton Abbey, Carnival Film & Television Ltd or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk or Carnival Film & Television Ltd. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk or Carnival Film & Television Ltd. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com(Series 5, ep.4  I watched this week’s Downton online on the ITV Player, for which I had to register. Then every fifteen minutes or so the gentility of country house life was punctuated by a loud woman wanting “to bust the myths about female intimate health.” This did not enhance my enjoyment of the programme, though the glimpses of Tom Hiddleston in the Jaguar car ads made up for it a bit.

To the action now, and Lady Mary bobbed up to London for an overnight stay, during which she visited a fashion show with her Aunt Rosamund and had dinner with Charles Blake. The real reason for her visit was to tell Lord Gillingham that she wouldn’t be marrying him. She arranged to meet him at the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens. He must have felt all romantic meeting her there, but not when she told him that their week of lust in Liverpool hadn’t convinced her that he was the man for her. “Am I a bad lover?” he said anxiously. If only it was that simple. But the problem is that it doesn’t look like Tony is going to take no for an answer, and he still has the ace up his sleeve of being able to destroy Mary’s reputation if the truth about Liverpool became known.   Continue reading

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Downton Abbey: Something she might regret

lady mary downton(Series 5, ep.3  You’d think in the pre CCTV, snail-mail world of 1924 Downton Abbey that it would be easy to keep things that took place in another city secret from your family. Lady Mary and Lord Gillingham thought they could relax in beautiful Liverpool, away from any tittle tattle and prying eyes. Unfortunately they were in Liverpool at the same time that the Dowager’s butler was in the city for a wedding. And he couldn’t wait to tell the Dowager. She covered beautifully for Lady Mary, then summoned her for a proper dressing-down about her racy behaviour. Apparently women aren’t supposed to let themselves be seduced without their mother’s prior approval.

It looks like Lady Mary might not be seeking Cora’s approval for any further seduction by Lord Gillingham anyway, because it seems that a week of hot Tony lovin’ hasn’t quite hit her spot as far as accepting him as the future Mr Lady Mary is concerned.   Continue reading

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Downton Abbey: She’s so twentieth century

downton(Series 5, ep.2Downton is sometimes a bit heavy-handed about giving us historical context – for example, much of this episode was taken up by Lady Rose’s attempts to persuade Lord G to get a “wireless,” and Lord G and Carson’s objections that it would rot everyone’s brain.

Sometimes it delivers a historical lesson that just knocks me flat, and it’s often about the specific problems of being a woman in that era. This week, Lady Mary was planning her week of getting to know Lord Gillingham in a carnal sense. As I said last week, Mary is more sensible than her sister Edith, and she wanted to take steps to avoid getting pregnant. She couldn’t get anything herself, because she might be recognised, so she asked Anna to do it. “I might be recognised too!” Anna objected, but Anna has the advantage of being married to a man who is still alive. Lurking at the chemist’s until there was a female staff member to serve her and no other customers present, Anna finally obtained what was needed from a judgemental, disapproving woman who would only hand it over on the understanding that Anna had health reasons for wishing to avoid pregnancy – otherwise she thought abstinence would be enough.   Continue reading

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Downton Abbey: No one must ever find out

downton abbey(Series 5, ep.1) Hurrah! Downton’s back! Throw another log on the fire (or get your footman to do it) – autumn has officially arrived.

There was such a lot going on as well – book burning and a misjudged attempt at hair colouring were the least of it.

That random band of persons known as The Villagers decided to set up a War Memorial Committee, for the purposes of a permanent erection to honour the fallen. Lord Grantham wasn’t sure what he made of such a modern idea (though it did temporarily take his mind off the horrors of a Labour government), but he didn’t need to worry anyway as The Villagers were so modern they didn’t want him to chair the committee – they wanted Carson. As in, his butler. His Grace tried to accept this with grace, which was not helped by his wife. “I know you hate not to be wanted,” she said. So comforting.

Lady Edith was taking a lot of interest in the little girl the farmer and his wife have adopted. “I wonder where she gets her colouring from?” the farmer’s wife mused, oblivious to the fact that the child’s hair was the same colour as that of the Ladyship upon whose lap she was sitting. The farmer knows Grantham colouring when he sees it, and has suggested that they “need to find a way for [Edith] to live the truth without telling the truth.” He’s deep, that farmer.   Continue reading

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Waterloo Road: Kim has her baby. And Amy is not Banksy

Haven’t the staff of Waterloo Road learned their lesson yet? Never, ever, ever take those kids on a school trip. It never ends well.

Last night’s trip to an art gallery could have ended up worse, though. Finn stole some art materials for Amy. Shoplifting was his touching way of demonstrating his love for her, though his parents are loaded so presumably he could have bought her a few paints with his pocket money instead. In return, he asked her to deface one of the paintings in the gallery, while he created a diversion by pretending to have a seizure. Oh, Amy. Please just say no to this kind of controlling behaviour – it can only end up with a pramful of babies, a prescription drug habit and an early trip to the Jeremy Kyle studio.

I must say I was very surprised when the gallery let the school off with a mild ticking off and a promise to pay for the cost of getting Amy’s scrawl cleaned off the picture. Who’d have thought that art restoration came so cheaply that it would be within the budget of an inner city secondary school? One might almost think it wasn’t a real work of art at all, but just a prop quickly thrown together by a bright young thing in the BBC props department. Just saying.

While all this was going on, Pious Kim Campbell was busy going into labour.  She had to have an emergency caesarean, which at least meant she was unconscious for a while and unable to worry that “we should have been on top of art vandalism.” She woke up to find she had acquired two new men in her life – a baby boy, and Deputy Head Chris Mead, who dumped his current girlfriend to pledge true love to Pious Kim.

Back at the hub of learning that is known as Waterloo Road, everyone was being horrible to Ros because of her crush on Jo Lipsett. Then everyone was being horrible to Philip because he’d slagged the other girls off in a list of Ros’s good qualities. Rachel organised a debate about whether boys are better than girls, which came to the shattering conclusion that both genders have a useful role to play in society.

And cookery teacher Ruby moved into a cockroach-infested flat. Best place for her, the annoying, self-pitying whinger. As Kim Campbell wouldn’t say.

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Waterloo Road: That lopsided hair is just too alluring

Oh, Jo Lipsett. All you did was to give extra-curricular tuition (and this is not a euphemism, it’s a literal description) to Ros and take her to see a French film, and now she’s all besotted. It must be something to do with your lopsided hairstyle and being a lesbian who can speak fluent French and so on. Compared to Ros’s boyfriend Philip, the oldest schoolboy in the north, this must be thrilling indeed.

Chris Mead blamed himself when Ros decided to try and snog Jo, was rebuffed, and then reported her for sexual harrassment. It was his idea to have the teachers give extra tuition to the Oxbridge hopefuls, after all. But you have to say that Jo was a tad naive for not sussing what was going on. All ended reasonably well when Ros admitted she’d made it all up.

Pious Kim Campbell would no doubt have emitted a cry of “We should have been on top of lesbian crushes!” but she was busy being grumpy at Chris, who wants to be the latest pilgrim to worship at the shrine of Pious Kim, while she wants to be Just Mates. Or does she? When he had a date with an old Just Mate who may be about to turn into a More Than Just Mate, Kim looked somewhat fed up.

Romance was looking better for Rachel “Man Magnet” Mason, as the latest man she’s magnetised, chef Adam, can not only cook but he also wants to spend the rest of his life cooking for her. He’s proposed and she’s said yes. I do think she should consider whether his lovely ginger hair and beady brown eyes are enough compensation for having him banging on  about healthy eating options every five minutes.

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Waterloo Road: Tom and Kim in deadly danger!

Finally Waterloo Road is back on form. This was an excellent episode with a decent story involving regular characters, and pulling in a lot of other storylines as well. And there was no Rachel.

That Finn Sharkey. His name alone, and the fact that he wears the collar of his leather jacket turned up, would give you a clue that he’s a Bad Boy. This week, Rochdale’s answer to Jim Stark had acquired some legal yet dubious smokeables from the internet, and he and Amy and Josh partook during break time. The effect was to make Amy paranoid, while Josh and Finn went “Whoa!” a lot and looked blissed-out.Then they trooped off for lessons.

When Tom Clarkson noticed that his son was acting a little bit weird, he got all strict with him (Pious Kim Campbell had warned him that he needed to establish proper boundaries), and Josh rebelled by secretly putting the rest of the waccy baccy in Tom’s school dinner.

That might have been a bit of a laugh if Pious Kim hadn’t needed to rush off to hospital after she started bleeding. Tom volunteered to drive her in his little red car. When Josh realised that his dad was likely to be tripping off his box in charge of a vehicle containing a heavily pregnant lady, he was naturally concerned and Deputy Head Chris was informed.

While Chris was on the phone to Kim, he heard her screaming, brakes squealing, the sound of metal hitting concrete, and all the other worst-case-scenario noises. And worse again, he was right in the middle of trying to persuade a woman from a posh school to let Waterloo Road’s oiks use her posh sports facilities.

Anyway… all’s well that ends well. Kim and the baby are fine (but Kim doesn’t want to be more than “just mates” with Chris). Tom will be fine just as soon as they remove the bandages, and he’s forgiven Josh. And the woman from the posh school is throwing open her playing fields to Waterloo Road, thanks to a timely intervention by Steph Haydock, who was seeking to impress Deputy Head Chris (whose dad she is dating).

Ros McCain, meanwhile, is still seeking to impress Jo Lipsett by speed-reading French novels, wearing lipgloss and staring at her from afar (yes, it is a tiny bit stalkerish). She’ll be wearing her cardigan backwards next.

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Waterloo Road: Somewhere only we know

Has Waterloo Road got the most clueless teachers in the country? I don’t mean Grantley Budgen and Steph Haydock – we always knew they were useless, and they never really pretend to be otherwise.

This week Deputy Head Chris Mead was spectacularly useless. Everyone else in Finn Sharkey’s year was on work experience, but Finn hadn’t managed to get the paperwork signed by his parents. This is, as we know (but the teachers don’t) because his parents are away somewhere and Finn is generally Home Alone.

Anyway, Rachel had the bright idea of letting Finn do his work experience in the school, by assigning him as a classroom assistant to work with Chris. Chris and Finn have history, and Finn knows exactly which of Chris’s buttons to press. But how someone got to be a deputy head teacher with so little grasp of how to control a classroom, and so little ability to keep his own feelings under control, I have no idea.

Chris has other things on his plate anyway. His dad (Billy Corkhill from Brookside) has only gone and left his wife and taken up with that strumpet Steph Haydock. This led Chris to have an amusing fight with his dad in the school corridor, in front of Steph and Finn. “High kicks and girly slaps,” Steph sneered. “You’re worse than the kids.”

Is it any wonder that Finn has zero respect for Chris and spent the rest of the day leading mutinies in the classroom and doing graffiti in the staff room?

Last year’s bad boy, Bolton Smiley, has been a reformed character recently, but he almost got into trouble when visiting Sambuca Kelly at the sportswear shop she’s doing her work experience in. Sam fancies Bolton (and you can see her point) so she tried to impress him by stuffing an expensive pair of shorts in his bag. When he tried to leave and triggered the security alarm, he and Sam managed to get away. There was a nice little scene on a canal bank, where Sam talked about how hard it was growing up in the chaotic Kelly family (what with her mother being an alcoholic dinner lady, Earl being in prison and Marley never being mentioned any more). They had a sweet little kiss, but as soon as they were back at school Bolton went off with his friend Paul and had to pretend to be tough and macho again.

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