Category Archives: Crime

Bye to the Saint, Ivanhoe and 007

Roger Moore died earlier today. He’s not someone I have thought very much about in recent years, but when I was a child and teenager he was right up there with the best.

Most people refer to him as James Bond, but his 007 days were almost a bit late for me. I’d liked Ivanhoe, and I’d loved The Saint, and sort of enjoyed The Persuaders. But that’s quite a bit of screen entertainment from one man, and enough to cover many of my early years.

Roger was a good 007; I think it’s mainly that I was never big on Bond.

But almost nine years ago when Roger appeared in Cheltenham, there was no question but we had to go to his event. He’d just turned 80 at the time, and had a book out, I believe, which is why he appeared at a book festival.

He showed his age, which I suppose is unavoidable, but his acting skills carried him through. The one thing that surprised me was his dislike of Hjördis Niven. Well, no. More that he didn’t mind airing it publicly.

Roger Moore

Goodbye to this handsome man who gave us so many screen adventures!

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Keep following Follow the Money

Yeah, I know. There is another week to go for season two of Follow the Money. But, phew, there is a lot happening, isn’t there?

Bedrag/Follow the Money

I’d have thought that the time scale of things is fairly tight, in which case Kristina’s pregnancy is moving faster than all those crooks. But maybe not. It could be that they are chasing after The Bank for absolutely ever. Poor Mads, and poor Alf for that matter. They are a bit naïve at times, while astute on other occasions.

Now though…

For the first time it seemed that Claudia suddenly got scared, instead of merely turning her coat and sailing in the prevailing wind. I can’t decide if I think she’s good or bad.

And it’s so hard to accept that both Christensen and the Swede are bad guys, when previously they have played sympathetic characters. (In US drama, the baddie is ‘always’ British, and here it appears they get a Swede in to do the deed.) Poor Nicky who’s looking for a father figure. He’s so capable, and he should be doing something good with himself. As for Bimse, he’s so forgiving and has his friend’s back, no matter what.

Bedrag/Follow the Money

Amanda is a good type. Unusually likeable for a banker with an addiction. But bad Jens Kristian for hiding the fact that he is married. Until that point I liked him (no, not like that). And poor, poor Hans Peter… We didn’t see that coming, but then Søren Malling has had bad luck in the past.

We’ll have to be patient until the last two episodes, especially as we’ll miss them and need to wait even longer than a week. I wonder if anyone will still be standing at that point?

Who was best, the Doctor or Christie?

Doctoring your Agatha Christie… I wish they hadn’t. I didn’t initially remember* the original Witness for the Prosecution, but I gather the BBC added the odd thing at the end, and even when you don’t know the plot intimately, it was pretty obvious that someone had been allowed to go crazy. And I don’t mean the murderer or his unfortunate solicitor. Or even the sad victim who wasn’t the murderer after all.

The first half of this Agatha Christie short story was good and even a little enjoyable, bar the coughing from Toby Jones. Even the beginning of the second half was all right and the plot went in the expected direction. The falsely accused murderer and his ‘wife’ were both excellent. But I did hate the coughing. On the other hand, it was illuminating seeing the importance of good health care and how you can be virtually brought back from the almost dead. Unless you have been murdered.

The Return of Doctor Mysterio

Doctor Who, on the other hand, was a delight from beginning to end. I know people who hated it, but you need to keep in mind that Doctor Who is a programme for children, not adults. Doesn’t stop quite a few of us from liking it, though.

Superheroes, what’s not to like? The baby was a bit weird, but it was the babysitter we had an interest in. And his (her?) mother. Matt Lucas was fine, but I really didn’t grasp his role in all of this. Maybe his task was to look a bit odd and make a few funny comments?

But you know, the Doctor was expected, as he hung upside down outside the boy’s bedroom window. We all expect a visit from an unknown older male at Christmas, don’t we?

I had just about forgotten that we’d not had the Doctor round for the past year. But I’m ready for him now.


*It all came back to me after a while. The 1957 film was much better. And I also now recall trying to get my hands on the book, in Swedish translation, for a friend. It was impossible. I was at the back of a very long queue.

David Calder

‘Oh, there he is.’ That’s usually what I think when I see David Calder in something. And the point is he looks so familiar, like a long lost friend, but I still won’t remember his name. Or what else I’ve seen him in. I suppose some actors just are like that; like your neighbour whom you know well without knowing them at all.

This last happened in The Lady in the Van, where he was Maggie Smith’s long-suffering brother. Whenever I see him I want him to be good. It’d feel wrong if he was a baddie, but you can never be sure, so I always worry. I suppose I need my neighbours to be good.

Forgetting his name isn’t a problem, so long as there is IMDb. And with its help I can check what else I’ve seen him in, and the list is surprisingly short. Half a dozen television crime things, and perhaps something else. You know, not enough for that intense familiar feeling.

But perhaps that’s it. All you need is for a face to pop up every now and then, and you are convinced you are old – and dear – friends. Maybe we are.

And, erm, yes, David is 70 today. Happy Birthday!

From the Earth to the Moon, across The Bridge to Olympus

Earlier this summer our holiday viewing consisted of rewatching From the Earth to the Moon. After we accidentally caught a bit of Apollo 13, it felt like the obvious choice, and it was high time we revisited Tom Hanks and his astronauts, training to go to the moon.

I’ve said this before and it can be said again; this is one of the best DVD boxes. Ever. I’ll want to watch this many more times. And it’s funny for someone who was around when it happened for real, because you find you get to know these astronauts and all the rest of them from scratch.

I used to subscribe to the idea that Apollo 11 was a lovely trio of men doing something great and special. After watching this though, you feel disappointed that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were such idiots. Seemingly, anyway. It takes a bit away from that night in July 1969. On the other hand, there are many astronauts I knew little about and whom you come to love. Especially Alan Bean, I reckon. Lovely man.

Is it the actors? Or is it the research, where it is now safe to admit to things no one would have mentioned in the 1960s? And speaking of actors, it’s interesting to see the parade of NCIS guest actors donning astronaut gear and looking so much younger. The episode on geology is one I could watch more often than most, even though that sounds like a pretty boring statement. Geology rocks.

This part of our summer Daughter and I are catching up on my chronological watching of Rejseholdet/Unit One, which suffered a long delay some time ago. The resident IT Consultant gave up, again, after half an episode, not being able to cope with the Danish soundtrack and Swedish subtitles.

As with the astronauts, hindsight now shows us Rejseholdet was first to introduce us to all the actors we have subsequently seen in The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge. The younger Brix was particularly chilling as a sweeter looking but fairly disgusting character.

Towards the end, we came upon the episode that was our first. I had no intention of watching anything Danish back then, but we switched on and came in when Gaby enters Fischer’s hotel room after he has been concussed, and then hides in the bathroom while Johnny speaks to Fischer. We had no idea who any of these people were or what was happening, but it took only minutes for us to be hooked.

It’s a little harder to find the time to watch, when one of us can’t join in, so we tend to eat to the accompaniment of selected episodes of NCIS season 11. (What do you mean, conversations with dinner?) Last night we watched Olympus Has Fallen, which was more one-sided and bloody than even I had expected. Fine if you don’t mind a film that is nearly all about Gerard Butler. Personally I want more variety than that.

Fortitude

When we last saw Sarah Lund, she and her jumper were on the way to Iceland. Whatever else you might say about Sky’s Fortitude, we now know they have arrived, in some kind of Ice Land. Actually, not the jumper. There appears to be a jumper embargo for Sofie Gråbøl this time round.

As Governor of Fortitude, the strangest fantasy Nordic outpost you could imagine, she is a little disappointing. Though not as disappointing as many of the others. I suppose it’s what you get when Americans jump on a bandwagon that has already left, and mostly also arrived. They write what they admire, or at least what they hope will win them viewers, but which they know very little about. They seem to know the Nordic countries and their peoples much like fans of The Killing and Borgen reckon themselves to be fluent in Danish.

Fortitude

It was beautifully filmed, and they have an interesting collection of actors, ready to pretend – or not – to be Nordics. Some are, and are acting in their non-native English. Most of the others are native English speakers, but not in the slightest Scandinavian. There is sex, and drinking, and saunas. We ‘know’ this is the way of us Scandis. And it is, but perhaps not quite like this.

I almost liked the detective from the Met in London, American though he was. Can’t say I liked any of the other characters. It is possible to like both criminals and stupid people; just not these ones. Michael Gambon’s old and drunken cancer sufferer was perhaps the closest to feeling real, which I put down to Michael being a terrific actor.

When I wasn’t wincing, I found I couldn’t get Virus au Paradis out of my head. I do hope it’s not bird flu, or mammoth flu. With a bit of luck all the gruesomeness will be mere crime and human greed, with a bit of stupidity thrown in.

I don’t know whether I want to watch more of Fortitude. I have no curiosity regarding the what or the why or the who, and because I didn’t like them much, I won’t even want to visit an old friend, even one who is boring. But we’ll see how I feel next week.

(Actually, a few brownie points to Richard Dormer for being more of an obnoxious Danish policeman than most Danes.)

Foyle’s curse?

We looked forward to the start of the new ‘season’ of Foyle’s War on Sunday. And the beginning was fine, and we enjoyed ourselves. But at the halfway point the signal disappeared and there was no more for us to watch.

After some frantic investigating we determined it wasn’t our fault. There simply was no signal, but it seems it might have been localised enough that ITV/STV had no interest in being decent about it.

Daughter and I switched to more bingeing on Downton Abbey instead, refusing to let this get us down. But it slowly came back to me, that we have experienced this with Foyle before. In Sweden. Half a programme went missing then, too. Is the man cursed?

We thought we’d watch it on ITV-player. That didn’t work. Eventually we were informed by the younger generation that we needed STV-player, and after too many commercials, we eventually watched, 24 hours later. I say watched, but after ten minutes it broke.

After more faffing about I felt I didn’t have enough interest in Foyle’s pursuits to warrant trying any longer. But the Resident IT Consultant wanted to watch until the bitter end, so we repaired to his desk, where we watched on the computer.

It was OK, -ish. But I’m not sure if I can be bothered next Sunday.