Tag Archives: Christopher Eccleston

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.)

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The Eccleston reign

Would fish fingers and chips – bunged in the oven – have made a difference, I wonder? I’ve been informed this is how mothers coped with Saturday dinners in the olden days of Doctor Who. Because it’s astonishing quite how many episodes I never watched as the Doctor returned to the home screens eight years ago.

I think I plonked Offspring down in front of the box to watch, because it was what you did. Generations of British children watched the Doctor and the Daleks from behind their sofas. I don’t think I really expected to watch. I had no proper upbringing that led me to want to do it. So I probably watched a couple of episodes to keep people company. And I caught glimpses of the Tardis and stuff as I dashed in and out of the room.

I have long been under the impression that I watched every other episode of season one. Now I know better. I didn’t. Not by a long shot. I ‘met’ Captain Jack Harkness only by hearing him talk soothingly to Rose, as she sailed across the London sky. I have a lot of weird, half-fake memories. Sat through the ‘are you my mummy’ episodes to keep Daughter calm. But they were creepy.

In fact, I didn’t care that Christopher Eccleston stopped Doctoring, because I simply didn’t know the man well enough to miss him. And he was followed by the lovely David Tennant, so was easily forgotten by me.

Luckily the lapses of yesteryear have been rectified. I have just watched every single episode of season one, up to and including the Christmas one where David Tennant mostly slept on the job. They were pretty good, on the whole. And I’m beginning to see why some fans moan these days. They really did write them better before. They just did.

Never mind who was the Doctor. It’s who wrote the script that matters.

Going all Potter-ish over Who

Matt Smith looks like Christopher Eccleston all of a sudden, having done a Hermione Granger and cut his hair off. I suppose it can be a disadvantage having to nurse a certain amount of hair for the duration of whatever you’re doing.

It felt as if the BBC went all Harry Potter on us, making so much of the announcement of the 12th Doctor. Not Steve Cole, I’m sorry to say. I’d been hoping…

For a few moments I was disappointed when it turned out that it’s Peter Capaldi who is Who. But it didn’t last long. He’ll do fine. Another Scotsman is an asset, especially an Italian Scotsman, and an ‘older’ man at that.

At first the special BBC1 programme felt rather weak, but it got better as it went along. Peter Davison is always lovely, and the two fans were worryingly young. Nice to see so many companions, many of whom I don’t know at all.

Now we have to wait and see what Peter Capaldi gets to wear. One hopes he will wear something. Kilt perhaps?

(This is what it was like last time.)

Song for Marion

Song for Marion

My companion cried buckets, and I have to admit to having been not totally unaffected. But at least I didn’t disgrace myself by being lukewarm about Song for Marion. It’s another film full of old people, and it’s high time film makers realise that old people have a place in films. In fact, Song for Marion only had a few token young people in it. About time.

Song for Marion

To be perfectly honest, I thought that Vanessa Redgrave as the dying Marion wasn’t all that marvellous. But Terence Stamp as her loving, but unsmiling, husband Arthur was pretty good, and the group of elderly singers Marion meets every week at the community centre were great fun.

OK, they were only singing about sex, but otherwise it was my second film in a week featuring OAPs and community classes and sex. It must be the thing to do. Gemma Arterton as the music teacher got her oldies to go metal and sexy and generally quite young and with it. Never mind that some had to be carted off in an ambulance for over-stretching themselves with the dancing and prancing.

Song for Marion

They had fun!

So did we when we weren’t weeping and snivelling into our hankies. Which only leaves me wondering why the film lasted barely any time at all in the cinemas?

Christopher Eccleston did well as the grieving son, not getting on with his cantankerous father. Very easy to identify with what he was feeling. Perhaps the northern characters were a little bit too northern. We don’t all live in the south.

The judges in the choir competition were clearly modelled on certain judges on television. Perhaps too stereotyped, and something that might not age well with the film. Would people know why they were so rude, and suddenly so weepy, ten years from now? That’s if a film like this survives into the future.

Song for Marion