Tag Archives: Toby Jones

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.

Captain America: The First Avenger

I seem to be watching the Avengers films back to front. Having started with The Avengers a couple of weeks ago, Daughter then sat me down to watch Captain America. As she put it, ‘you liked him, didn’t you,’ so there I was, watching the previous film before I knew what was happening.

Not that I suffered, but I don’t expect I’ll watch all of them. And I don’t think the order matters. I knew nothing about Captain America before these two films, but the second film did rather give away the fact that he wouldn’t die. On the other hand, it’s not something heroes normally do.

This is good, simple, adventure stuff. Not totally realistic, but close enough. And fun. We had a discussion about the size of Chris Evans, which I felt was Hagrid in reverse, and that seems to have been about the right guess.

Some of the scenery struck both of us as very familiar, and before we’d even investigated it, Daughter reminded me that I had, actually, blogged about this once before. And I had. Memory like a sieve, is what I have. They got blown up in our home town, so to speak.

The plot might not be terribly original, but the writing’s good, and offered many useful quotes: ‘I thought you were dead.’ ‘And I thought you were smaller.’ Nice period feel, with something of Where Eagles Dare about it.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

They must have struggled with Benedict Cumberbatch’s hair. It’s not meant to be straight. It was – sort of – but kept waving at the back. Can’t quite get over Gary Oldman’s transformation from Sirius Black to Smiley.

The new Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is like good coffee or dark chocolate. Not that I use either, but I suspect it’s how it must feel if you do. Like this film. It’s pure art. It’s like being inside a good painting. Somehow.

I can’t say I understood all of it, and I can no longer recollect if I ever read this particular novel by John le Carré or not. Suspect not, but the Resident IT Consultant assured me they stayed close to the plot. But it’s not the kind of film you need to understand. You just enjoy. Immerse yourself.

It probably helps that it was directed by a Swede. I’m not sure why, but it appears to be something Swedes are good at. And Tomas Alfredson strikes me as very good indeed.

As usual the authentic 1970s were too authentic, so to speak. But it looked good. And I’m amazed to see they unearthed some blue cups this time. We’ve had the green ones in every single period film or television programme for decades.

Colin Firth

Benedict Cumberbatch

Pieces of Poirot

Poirot falling to pieces was a novelty. I’ll give them that. But the consensus in these parts seemed to be that we prefer a slightly saner Poirot, and if the murderers can be more cheerful as they go about their business that would not be a bad thing. At least if it’s Murder on the Orient Express, and they are almost justified, and they get to travel on that great train.

David Suchet, Murder on the Orient Express

But it must have been the justification that had the screenwriter in a twist. It wouldn’t be pc to allow murderers to get away with it (although it seems to be in vogue in real courts, here and now), so we need to have Poirot all religious and with flashback to a possible mistake made earlier, as well as putting the current murderers in context with the stoning of an adulteress.

It is a very Christmassy Christie, what with the snow and all. Considerably more current news than they could possibly have hoped for, as well. Trains stuck. Cold trains. Bad customer service. Ineffective digging in snow drifts. Almost British. The period feel is good, and the train is lovely.

But we don’t want Poirot falling to pieces. He didn’t in the ‘old’ film, nor, as far as I recall, did he in the book. When did he become a catholic, or at least, so overtly religious? As the film began Daughter muttered that she hoped they weren’t going to change who did it. A bit hard with this scenario, but it began to look as if they’d change Poirot’s decision at the end.

Was it just me, or had much of the casting been done by someone who knew exactly what each character should look like, as defined by the old film?

And was this intended as Poirot’s last case? If so, I suppose he’s allowed to go round the bend somewhat. As Son pointed out, everyone was so very angry.

Murder on the Orient Express 2010