Friday, December 10, 2010


The last few weeks I have watched a couple of DVDs of the subtitled episodes of Beck, a Swedish series based on the characters created by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo starring Peter Haber as Martin Beck, and Mikael Persbrandt as Gunvald Larsson.
They were fine viewing mainly because I got the impression the actors had read the books from cover to cover, and then were determined to stick to those original characters rather than create their own version. Many thanks to the kind person who brought them back from Sweden.

There have also been some really good crime fiction series on British TV, and the cable channels which show some of the best from past years.
I watched Sherlock, Foyle's War, Morse, Garrow's Law, and on Sky 1 David Morrisey in Thorne: Sleepyhead and Scaredycat, based on Mark Billingham's books.
I have only read one Tom Thorne book, and these TV programs were a bit too graphic for me.
Sherlock was superb fun, with Bernard Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, an eccentric but believable modern day Holmes and Watson.
Garrow's Law is an interesting historical drama series based on the real life cases of the 18th century lawyer William Garrow.
However my personal favourites are Morse, with John Thaw's definitive performance as Morse and the wonderful Oxford scenery, and Foyle's War, with Michael Kitchen's superb portrayal of the thoughtful wartime detective.
Foyle's War is beautifully acted, and so evocative of the time exhibiting all the restrained attitudes and accents of that period.
I could listen to Honeysuckle Weekes as Samantha Stewart all day long.

But when I have ventured away from wartime Hastings, and the dreaming spires of Oxford, the one US series that has gripped me is The Good Wife, with the winning combination of attractive women, the law, and political intrigue.
And now there is only a day to wait for Rolf Lassgard's Wallander on BBC4 at 9.30 pm.


Blogger Dorte H said...


I bought Upstairs, Downstairs for my husband the other day (all the DVDs). Now I just hope we are going to enjoy them as much as when they were shown on Danish TV thirty years or so ago. We loved Hudson and Mrs Bridges.

And as our children also like history and British series, they might also fall for this one.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norman - That Beck series isn't available here, and I must say I wish it were. I admire it when those who bring books to television at least attempt to stay faithful to the original show. I suppose it's because I'm a purist.

That said, though, I completely agree with you about the Benedict Cumberbatch Holmes series. It's an excellent show; folks, I recommend it. My favourite line from it? In the first episode, someone accuses Holmes of being a psychopath. His response: I'm a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research!

I thought that was hysterical!

10:08 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Dorte-Upstairs and Downstairs is going to restart with an updated version from 1930 onwards. Jean Marsh, who devised the program and played Rose the housemaid will be Rose again but as the housekeeper. She is 76 now, which shows just how many years ago the original series appeared on our screens.
Hudson and Mrs Bridges were wonderful, the actor who played Hudson, the superb Gordon Jackson was in the Professionals. Martin Shaw who now plays George Gently, Judge Deed and Adam Dalgleish was a very young Doyle in that series.
I hope you all enjoy Upstairs Downstairs.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Margot- Benedict Cumberbatch was brilliant, and Martin Freeman was a great foil as Watson. Martin Freeman was also superb in the British version of The Office.

When it comes to keeping faith with the original, poor Agatha Christie must be turning in her grave as her novels have suffered some terrible treatments from TV companies.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Bernadette said...

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the recent Sherlock TV shows as I'm generally not into modernised versions of things but they were jolly good fun and did a decent job of retaining the essence of the original characters and plots. I particularly liked Watson.

I've been watching a few crime DVDs too - Martin Shaw as Adam Dalgliesh almost makes the character palatable for me and then some episodes of Lewis (which has the attraction of a rather dishy sidekick) but I am really enjoying The Killing which is a Danish show that has loads of episodes (20 I think) that all focus on the one case so there is loads of detail - plus it has political intrigue too as it's all taking place against the backdrop of elections. Jolly good watching.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Kerrie said...

We watch most of the British crime series, and any translated ones that come to our SBS TV. For a long time Derrick was our favourite

2:06 PM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I love all of the BBC Mystery series that come over across the Atlantic to show on PBS.

A favorite of mine also is Foyle's War with Michael Kitchen and the ever wonderful Honeysuckle Weeks. (I watch the reruns when they appear.)

I also enjoy the Inspector Lynley series with the charming Nathaniel Parker and the terrific Sharon Small. (Could watch these forever.)

My library, fortunately, has many of the BBC series on dvd.

I just discovered at the library a set of dvd's of the Dalziel/Pascoe mysteries. I have wanted to read Reginald Hill's books, but haven't gotten to it, and am glad to have found these.

Wish we would get the Martin Beck series over here.

I'll be looking for it, and the non-Branaugh Wallender series (though Branaugh is fine).

4:03 PM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Am so glad to have found a dvd set of BBC Dalziel/Pascoe mysteries.

Just watched the first one--excellent, with wit, no less. I had no idea. What fun.

1:56 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Kathy sometimes when you have read the books and they adapt the series for TV the actors don't match the mental image you have of the characters. Warren Clarke was the exactly how I imagined the Andy Dalziel of the books.
Before the TV series I had thought of Fat Andy as my "Geordie" [from the Newcastle area] Professor of Dental Medicine at university. They were both hard men from up north.
Enjoy your Dalziel/Pascoe DVDs it was a great series.

2:29 AM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I haven't read the series, but a friend recommended it (Dalziel/Pascoe) and I keep seeing Reginald Hill's name up at mystery book websites, and I know the books are well-liked.

4:58 AM  

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