Broadchurch Series 2 Episode 4

ITV1 26/01/15 written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Jessica Hobbs, starring David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker
Half way through the second series it is becoming difficult to escape the conclusion that Broadchurch is slowly changing into what we might call as drama-soap. That is to say a series that would never consider itself a soap but is displaying soapy tendencies. It’s happened for example to Last tango in Halifax which started off as a serial about two elderly people falling for in love but has become an unbelievable series of hysterical events. As far as Broadchurch is concerned the closest comparison I can think of is Twin Peaks which followed an un-missable first season with a second that seemed to meander away from the point. Some shows are better as one offs but in today’s more commercially orientated world success means follow up. Imagine if they’d made a third or fourth series of Fawlty Towers? Or someone had decided to pen a sequel to I, Claudius. That being said I’d say that the jury is still out on the case of Broadchurch. Given that a second series was going to happen Chris Chibnall has made a decent attempt to expand the story while keeping true to the stunning first series. What is happening though as the fabric of the story is stretched is that it is thinning.



In cinemas now written and directed by Damien Chazelle, starring J.K. Simmons, Miles Teller, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist
The familiar tale of an inspirational teacher is given a dark spin in Damien Chazelle’s smart film. Andrew Niemann is a pupil and jazz drummer at the Shaffer Conservatory one of the foremost music colleges in the States. He is given the opportunity to join the stage band who enter national competitions and is run by notorious conductor Terence Fletcher. Here he soon rises from being alternate to main drummer but Fletcher is a harsh taskmaster who for the first part of the film appears to be ruthless if not criminal in his treatment of the musicians.


Broadchurch Series 2 Episode 3

ITV1 19/01/15 written by Chris Chibnall, directed by James Strong, starring David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker
Carrying right on from last week’s panic this episode will probably restore the faith of waverers unconvinced by the second instalment. Mixing outside events with the tense formality of the courtroom offers a more varied mood in which several development occur. The breadth of characters available is yielding intriguing results now and make Hardy’s attempts to get to the heart of matters seem all the more desperate. 


The Musketeers The Good Traitor

First shown BBC1 17 Jan 2015 written by Lucy Catherine & Adrian Hodges, directed by Marc Jobst
A double plot involving kidnapping and more Spanish shenangins makes up episode 3 which is less boisterous than its predecessors but develops several storylines. It seems as if the subterfuge between France and Spain is to be a theme of the season; here the tricksy Spanish ambassador has engineered a kidnap in an attempt to win back a nifty super explosive and a sort of early translator both held by Spanish General turned traitor Tariq Alaman. However things don’t run according to plan and an attempt to rescue Tariq’s daughter Samara goes awry ending up with her re-capture and that of an injured Porthos too. They seem to be kidnapping one Musketeer a week now!

Nobody wanted to choose the King for the football team



In cinemas now: Screenplay by Alexander Dinelaris, Nicolas Giacobone, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Starring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Andeea Risborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone
Occasionally you’ll see a film and when people ask what it was about you might be inclined to say “I don’t really now”. Birdman is such a film. It’s not that it has a complex story; in fact the narrative is linear and easy to follow. It’s just that, at the end, you might wonder what it was all about. There’s also a risk that its technical style gets in the way of any message it might be trying to give out. Purportedly a black comedy, Birdman is also a drama and occasionally a psychological film. Catch the odd moment or even the movie poster and you might think it’s a fantasy film albeit one based firmly in reality. Or is it in fact a comment on the behaviour of actors and acting, a journey into a world filled with unpleasant self -absorbed people all desperate for something to cling onto. Well it’s all of these things but what exactly it is trying to tell us remains less clear.


Broadchurch Series 2 Episode 2

ITV 12/01/15 written by Chris Chibnall, directed by James Strong, starring David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker
After last week’s tense re-start matters open out a bit meaning an episode with necessarily less memorable moments rather valuable building blocks are being assembled. Somehow, perhaps because we’ve only heard about it second hand, the Sandbrook case fails to engage with quite the same passion thus meaning we have to rely on David Tennant’s dogged performance to carry it. He is playing somewhat different to his usual more energetic type and it works well. At any moment you expect Hardy to announce he is dying because that is certainly the demeanour he is showing when we see him alone. 

"David, don't you know anywhere else for a picnic?"


The Musketeers An Ordinary Man

First shown BBC1 09 Jan 2015 written by Peter McKenna, directed by John Strickland
The King’s wish to spend a night having fun as an ordinary citizen leads to him being kidnapped by slave traders in this lively second episode of the season.  While many series would use this familiar storyline to indulge in some fish out of water stuff Peter McKenna gets down to business right away. After getting drunk at a tavern Louis and D`Artagnan are bundled into the hands of criminals intent on selling slaves to Spanish galleons. Probably not the best idea for a King's day out then!

"Well I can play the drums a bit." The Beatles recruit Ringo.


Broadchurch Series 2 Episode 1

ITV 05/01/15 written by Chris Chibnall, directed by James Strong, starring David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker
The first series of Broadchurch was so good, so perfectly formed that the very idea of a second series seemed superfluous. Two years later it is here and I can’t have been the only person with low expectations as the episode began. How quickly though we forget. All it takes is a revelation, that music gradually becoming more intense as the camera focusses on the reaction of the other characters in the room and it’s like we’re back there again. Of course there is a perfect reason for this follow up as the first series merely ended with the arrest of Danny Latimer’s killer. Of course there’s loads more to be said and done. In a deft opening episode that manages to capture the signature style of the first series yet add enough new aspects, Chris Chibnall and co have done it again. They’ve got us hooked!
Warning- Plot spoiler in the rest of this review!

Top of the Pops 1979 13 December 1979

Guest Post by Chris Arnsby
BBC4: Top of the Pops 1979 13/12/79
Mike Read, "Well the week's flown past. It's Top of the Pops again, and here's David Bowie to sing over the chart run down."
The 1979 Top of the Pops repeats stutter to an end. Two December shows are unrepeatable; a regular edition for 20/12/79 presented by J**** S*****; and a post-Christmas special from 27/12/79 with D*v* L** Tr*v*s and Mike Read. The Christmas Day special presented by Peter Powell and Kid Jensen goes out on BBC4 on Christmas Eve. Looking over the skipped editions reveals no significant omissions although we do miss a chance to see Legs & Co dancing to Mike Oldfield's Blue Peter theme. If you must see it, it's on Youtube. They're dressed as sexy sailors, natch. Oh, while you're there watch Simon Groom's Blue Peter report on the making of the theme.
Chart music: David Bowie, John I’m Only Dancing (Again) [23].
Fiddler's Dram: Day Trip To Bangor (Didn’t We Have A Lovely Time) [26]. Fiddler's Dram crop up fairly often on worst-of-the-top-ten-novelty-one-hit-wonder lists so they didn't give me the traumatic unpacking of memories I experienced when The Ramblers hit the charts. Also, this is a song I remembered from the inevitable spoof by The Barron Knights ("Didn't we have a lovely time at the office Christmas party"), and it's one I remember liking at the time. It's not necessarily a bad song (I'm trying to choose my words with care here), it's simple, and catchy, and doesn't sound like anything else in the charts, so I can see why it would have caught my attention as I moved up from being a Boney M obsessed eight year old to an Adam and the Ants obsessed nine year old (with a brief detour on the way to run around the playground shouting "Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!"). Watched now the tune is still a weapon grade earworm and I find my eye drawn to the bloke with the perm so enormous that all he can do is shake his head from side to side.


The Musketeers Keep Your Friends Close

First shown BBC1 02/01/15 written by Adrian Hodges, directed by John Strickland 
The first series of The Musketeers was one of my tv highlights of 2014. From its fun title music (more Russian than French!), bold action sequences, strong cast and a refusal to dabble in post modern tricks it was a must see. Foremost amongst the attractions though was Peter Capaldi’s scheming Cardinal Richelieu; no swearing but ten times more dangerous than Malcolm Tucker. With the actor now somewhat indisposed this season 2 opener begins at Richelieu’s funeral and we’re off in another direction. Can Marc Warren, an actor with a reputation for slippery types fill the empty boots of villainry this time round?

"In case you hadn't guessed, I'm the villain round here."