Thursday, 22 January 2015

Box sets and candles

Last night, BBC television showed the first episode of Wolf Hall, the adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Booker prize winning novel.  As I was out, I recorded it and have not yet had time to watch the recording.  To be honest, I rather think I will not be bothering with any other episodes and will more than likely give up on this one after a few minutes.  And the reason for my negative attitude?  Actually, there are two. 

First, all the comments I have seen from professional critics have lavished praise.  But what the critics like, I usually dislike.  So that rather puts the mockers on it.

Secondly, it was filmed in candlelight.  Yes, candlelight!  I have been getting increasingly concerned that the good old Beeb has failed to pay its electricity bill as so many shows are filmed in deep gloom, such deep gloom that I can't actually see any action.  It all seemed to start about a year ago with Jamaica Inn, based on Daphne Du Maurier's novel of the same name.  The cast list looked great - but the show didn't.  There were many complaints that people couldn't see what was happening - and that they couldn't hear what the actors were saying!  This was partly due to mistakes in recording and partly to the actors being required to speak (mumble) in strong Cornish accents.  That latter complaint - about accents - is also being made about the second series of Broadchurch which has recently started in ITV.  We didn't watch the first series so here again, I am recording this second series in the hope that at some time the first will be repeated.  Then we will be able to catch up!

In the meantime, we have become hooked on box sets.  We've gone right through As Time Goes By, Porridge and Allo, Allo! and are now watching Judi Dench and Michael Williams in the 30-years-old sitcom, A Fine Romance.  Is it just us getting old, or do they not make sitcoms like that any more?


The Broad said...

In my opinion, they just don't make sitcoms like them any more. I did watch Wolf Hall. I thought it was quite good, but think perhaps it would have benefited from a little more light on the subjects! I approve very much of the characterization of Thomas Cromwell.

Meg said...

Pleased to hear that even the British have difficulty understanding some British accents. I watch Masterpiece productions, and then read reviews afterward to unscramble details that I have missed.

OldAFSarge said...

They just don't make them like that anymore.

Ah, accents. Speaking as a Yank, some of us do have a spot of bother with the speech patterns of some inhabitants of the sceptred isle.

Though of Scots descent I am helpless when confronted with a full-blooded Scot from the countryside. There are others as well.

One beautiful thing in watching British TV series is having Netflix. I was baffled by some of the accents in Peaky Blinders, then realized that I could turn on subtitles.

But a darkened set? No, no thank you.

joeh said...

Mumbling and accents...don't get me started. Wait you already ranted for all of us.

And the bad "accent" lighting YES!!

How about the whispering for dramatic effect when there is no reason in the world to whisper.

Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

I thought 'A Fine Romance' was quite recent...but I did enjoy Wolf Hall - despite the silly lighting. You are right - many productions have such a dark quality about them, it's impossible to see what;'s going on. I think Batman started it. And I don't understand some US films - I recognise words, but not the meaning.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

I was thinking about 30-years-old sitcoms... "hmmmm, that's old."

Then I realized which sitcoms they are and think they aren't old at all and I still enjoy watching reruns of them.
Heck, there's a grandkid who's 30 years old somewhere around here.

Sarah said...

They don't make them like they used to. I love Cornwall (as you know) but I can't understand a word a true Cornish person says and watching a series where someone puts on an accent is painful. Adding bad lighting to the mix is a recipe for disaster. I like to be able to see, hear and understand the thing I'm watching.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Well, now that I have watched Wolf Hall I can report that even the candlelight was (mostly) enough for me to watch and enjoy, although I kept getting confused with A Man for All Seasons, which was about Thomas More. It was the name Thomas that got me muddled, and the period in history.

Meg - you should hear the Geordie accent from the north-east of England. Completely unintelligible to most "normal" people when at its broadest.