Patrick Malahide Narrating Goodnight Mister Tom

In 1997, Patrick Malahide narrated Michelle Magorian’s Goodnight Mister Tom. It is an abridged version of the novel, but it works beautifully, allowing for increased characterization and intensity. This won’t be a full recap, for that Wikipedia has an excellent synopsis.

"If we're not ready for these characters after the war, Headmaster, we shall find them more than ready for us, I fear."

Nothing to do with Goodnight Mister Tom, but it has WWII and kids.  Besides, I love Mr. Quarles ;-)

Set during WWII, Goodnight Mister Tom is the story of young London evacuee William “Willie” Beech. All his life he has been abused by his mother, so when he is sent to widower Mr. Tom Oakley he is a shell of a boy. Willie can’t read; he wets his bed, is covered with bruises and malnourished and is in a very bad way.

With patience and love, Mister Tom and his dog Sammy give Willie new confidence, and together they begin living life to its fullest. When Willie wets his bed, Mister Tom never chastises him but simply and with kindness cleans up the mess.  His method involves patience, allowing the boy to develop at his own pace.

Widowed Mister Tom also grows as a character as he re-enters village life by asking for assistance in helping Willie and lending a hand to various village concerns. The entire community befriends Willie who we learn is a born artist.  The details of his drawings and acting are wonderfully portrayed. The boy who was thought of as a silly sissy at his school in London is actually brilliant and insightful.

...which he flings with great accuracy: " spread WHAT, Jordan?" He's just making sure they're awake.

Willie’s village school was lot nicer than this one.

William’s journey is a powerful one, both uplifting and terrifying. Sammy the dog plays a big part in his early development by providing a comfort for him. Later he learns to talk to other boys and girls who genuinely appreciate his company. The chapter where he picks berries for the first time is especially sweet. He is a little ashamed that he can’t carry his large bucket of blackberries, but his new friend George is very pleased to help him.

While most of William’s village life is wonderful, the story becomes incredibly bleak, depressing and even horrifying when he is recalled back to London to visit his mother. Mrs. Beech is a singularly terrifying character, and Mr. Malahide gives her a cutting and brittle voice. Fortunately, the story has a happy ending despite all the sadness William has to endure.

Mrs. Hirsch: "I am not a thief! He is not a thief!" Quarles [mockingly]: "We are not thieves... They are not thieves..."

Don’t roll your eyes.

Mr. Malahide captures all the characters, from the gruff, loving Mister Tom to William’s young and exuberant friend Zach whose catchphrase “wizzo!” will stick with you. One thing I especially like is that there is no attempt to juvenilize the children with high,  squeaky voices. Their slightly raspy tones add to the audio experience. It reminds me, in a way, of early Peanuts comics in which the children were most certainly children (Charlie Brown can be nothing but), but they are so very well-realized with an ageless aura of wisdom about them. I hope that makes sense, click this if it doesn’t. :-)

Although abridged, this is still a very lengthy and fulfilling audio book.  Mr. Malahide always does an outstanding job in all his book narrations and this is no exception. link (only 12 left in stock at the time of this posting!) link


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Something Neat XXI: The Byre Theatre Saved


Reminiscing about the Byre.

The Byre Theatre in St. Andrews, Scotland is one of the early places where Patrick Malahide cut his acting teeth.  He worked as stage  manager and actor.  You can read a bit about that here in a previous post.

Well, the theatre had closed, but good news as St. Andrews University will now be running it.

In the Herald Scotland, Ken Smith writes about the theatre and Mr. Malahide,

THE mothballed Byre Theatre in St Andrews has been saved by the university, which will take it over.

We remember when actor Patrick Malahide was taken on as an inexperienced stage manager at The Byre many years ago and dabbled in acting at the same time. He later explained that, whatever role he was given, there had to be a pressing reason written into the play as to why his character had to leave the stage just before the end, so that he could bring down the curtain.

They were certainly very creative.  And it is good to know the historic theatre, and a key piece of Mr. Malahide’s early forays into acting, is being kept alive.

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Patrick Malahide as John Poole in Five Days S01E02

Made to back off. He does that hands in the air gesture a lot.

Made to back off. He does that hands in the air gesture a lot.

We are continuing our look at Patrick Malahide’s performance as John Poole in the series Five Days. This is will be for Five Days S01E02, our previous recap can be found here.

Five Days, S01E02

Episode two, starts on day three (obviously the days are not sequential). Tanya is staying with the Pooles as she waits to her from her biological father in France. She fully expects to be staying with him shortly, but it seems he isn’t much of a father to her at all.

Meanwhile, Matt is trying to cope with not knowing what has happened to his wife Leanne and daughter Rosie. Sarah Wheeler, the woman who found his son Ethan, is working her way into their lives. Also, Mrs. Poole and Matt attempted to give statements at a press conference, but Matt stormed out and Mrs. Poole had a panic attack, so it was cut short.

RF:  Although it looked to me like one of the oddest, most self-conscious panic attacks ever.  Barbara was… sort of screaming, but her gaze was level and none of the volume or supposed anguish was actually reaching her face.  She even shifts her gaze from side to side to gauge how it’s going over.  The whole thing looks like an insincere, badly acted put-on.  I’m not even sure what it was for – a sympathy ploy, maybe?

Admin:  She does pause to shift her gaze while kind of licking her lips; I noticed that.  It splits up her cries which seems odd.  Admittedly, I’ve not had any experience with such things, but I would have thought some real screaming, the shrieking kind, and smashing of glasses and general effing and blinding would be more demonstrative of a panic attack.  I think it could be Barbara is so absolutely self-involved that she can’t even have a fully natural panic attack.

Admin: Again, this is a complex series with a huge cast and we are focusing primarily on Mr. Malahide’s work, so for a more comprehensive recap, Wikipedia is the place to go.

‘Straberry’ Jam and Cake Batter

Tanya: "Don't look at me like that."

Tanya: “Don’t look at me like that.”

Admin: John Poole makes his first appearance in a scene with Tanya. They are working in the kitchen, Mr. Poole working on a cake while Tanya makes his labels. Tanya is chatting away, defending her father Daf. She seems to be trying to convince herself that the reason he hasn’t even phoned her from France is because he’s a “rebel” and lives his life his own way. She notices her grandfather’s skeptical face and chastises him on it. “I’m not looking like anything,” he responds with his arms out. Oh, he was totally giving her a “yeah, right” look about dad Daf.

RF:  Yes, the “rebel” label is obviously meant to be in the “oooo, sexy!’ sense, which tells you a lot of what you need to know about Daf as a father.  I can’t blame John for being skeptical, even from what little we hear.  Obviously his dad/grandad Spidey sense is working quite well as far as Daf is concerned.  However, he backs down on discussing it further, realizing that Tanya has enough to deal with right now as it is. Continue reading

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Patrick Malahide as Uncle Adrian in “Living With Dinosaurs”

Uncle Adrian comes equipped with Dutch subtitles!  Patrick Malahide as Uncle Adrian in "Living With Dinosaurs"

Uncle Adrian comes equipped with Dutch subtitles!

In 1989, Patrick Malahide had a very brief part in “Living With Dinosaurs“, part of the short-lived (and now very hard-to-find) “Jim Henson Hour” series.  Mr. Malahide plays Uncle Adrian to Dom Marshall (Gregory Chisholm), a lonely and bullied boy who struggles with severe asthma, doesn’t get on well at school, dislikes his father (or possibly stepfather) Lee (Michael Maloney, last seen as Sir George Hardwicke in “New Worlds“), has a phobia about his father’s artwork, and worries about the imminent arrival of a new baby brother or sister.  Dom’s only allies are his stuffed dinosaur, Dog (Brian Henson), who comes to life when no one else is around, “Calvin and Hobbes“-style, and his mother, Vicky (Juliet Stevenson, who would go on to play Nora opposite Mr. Malahide’s Dr. Rank in the excellent “A Doll’s House“).

The show is only 46 minutes long, which is a real shame as there are enough story hooks and plot developments for an ongoing series.  The writing, by Anthony Minghella, is compact without feeling rushed; within those 46 minutes we learn a great deal about ten-year-old Dom,  his family, and the struggles he’s facing.  Dom feels so put-upon (with some justification) that one of his favourite activities with Dog is to make up “Enemies Lists” and describe, in gruesome detail, exactly how they’re going to get their revenge on their various nemeses.  I suspected Uncle Adrian might be trouble when he was #2 on Dom’s list.

A Shiny Car and a Loud Sweater

Making an entrance

Making an entrance

Our first introduction to Uncle Adrian tells us almost everything we need to know about him at a glance.  He’s better off than the Marshalls and has great taste in cars, arriving at Vicky’s house in a silver Mercedes (although he does seem a bit worried with all the seagulls flying overhead), blaring rock music.  However, his taste in sweaters may be a bit more questionable.  Well, it’s a very Eighties sweater anyway, and I suppose it has the advantage – or should that be “disadvantage” – of making him extremely hard to lose in a crowd.
Continue reading

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Analysis of a Scene XV: Singing Detective — Shadows

Feeling persecuted

It was  a dark and stormy night. (Images courtesy of RFodchuk)

Yay!  We finally get face-to-face with my personal favorite character in  The Singing Detective, the slick Mark Finney.  His (ummm) existence is somewhat meta to say the least, but who cares when he looks as good as he does.  Here he is in all his weird glory in a rather creepy scene from episode 4, Clues.  A recap of the overall episode can be found here, and our previous Analyses here.



 The scene opens at Finney’s place with Nicola making shadow puppets as a thunderstorm rolls through outside.
Finney: Doesn’t any of this seem peculiar to you?
Nicola: No.
Finney: Well, I’ll tell you something that gives me the creeps, I half expect him to be out there looking at me.
Nicola: Shadows.
Finney: I’ll tell you something else, he knows too much. He’s got hold of too many details. Where’s he coming from? What is his game?
Nicola: (making a nice parrot shadow puppet) Parrot.
Finney: What?
Nicola: I just made a parrot. Wak-wak-wak.
Finney: Are you listening to me? Am I talking to myself here?

Admin:  The rolling thunder noise in the background is a sweet touch.  The “it was a dark and stormy night” theme works perfectly with Marlow’s cliched pulp novels, and his style of writing is a key element in this scene.  Anyway, Finney is busy freaking out about his resemblance to “Mark Binney” (we all know him from the previous episodes), but Nicola is tuning him out with her impressive shadow puppets.  She’s had practice tuning annoying (not that Finney is annoying to me) men out.  Finney’s “what?” reminds me of the way both Binney (the Fin-Bins get confusing, I know) and Nicola would say “what?” when their respective Marlows unsettled them with his non sequiturs.

He likes a monochrome palette.

He likes a monochrome palette.

RF:  The “dark and stormy night” is a perfect touch, perhaps conveying Finney’s internal turmoil which is, naturally enough, Marlow’s as well.  But even if the storm isn’t metaphorical, it’s fitting for a pulp novel.  I find it interesting that Nicola is the only flash of colour in the entire room.  Everything else is a fashionable monochrome, including Finney’s “nice things” (some of which he seems to have inherited from Binney) and his clothing.  Maybe because Nicola’s the only real person there?

Admin:  Good point.  Finney’s monochromatic style gives him his own shadowy noir air. Continue reading

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Something Neat XX: Patrick Malahide in Colours of Childhood

What rhymes with blue?

Patrick Malahide has contributed to an anthology of poems celebrating childhood: Colours of Childhood (link goes to website).  The anthology will be sold to raise money for Willing and Abel, a charity which helps children with medical conditions requiring specialized care.

Colours of Childhood boasts an impressive number of famous names, including Sir Ian McKellen, Julie Walters, Hugo Speer (bit of a favorite with RFodchuk and myself), Dawn French, Hugh Fraser, and many more.  But, of course, Mr. Malahide is our very favorite. :-)


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Something Neat XIX: What Does Balon Greyjoy Wear Under His Cloak?

At last, an answer to one of our most pressing questions:  what does Balon Greyjoy wear under his cloak? ;-)  I happened across this lovely picture of Balon’s costume on Pinterest recently.  Admin has already featured the full-length view, but this close-up shows a bit more detail.  Click for a larger size:

What the well-dressed Lord Reaper of Pyke is wearing.<br> Image source:  Balon Greyjoy's costume

What the well-dressed Lord Reaper of Pyke is wearing.
Image source:

Sans cloak, we can see lots of arming points at the shoulders, a feature of many types of medieval clothing used to join pieces together (in this case, to attach Balon’s sleeves and possibly his heavy, hooded cloak as well) or to attach sections of armour.  It also looks authentically heavily weathered and worn, so kudos to the costume designer on that.  The multitude of metal studs embedded in the fabric gives it the appearance of a type of gambeson, which could be worn as a protective garment by itself or serve as padding underneath metal armour,  either of which might come in handy for a pirate lord.  Very practical, although probably rather heavy, too.

All Balon needs is a sword at his side.  He doesn’t seem too fond of bright, flashy colours or patterns, though.  ;-)  He’d blend in nicely with the sea or the rocks of Pyke.

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Patrick Malahide as John Poole in Five Days S01E01

Five Days S01E01

Your everyday, jam-making grandad  Patrick Malahide as John Poole in "Five Days"  S01E01

Your everyday, jam-making grandad

Admin: In 2007 Patrick Malahide played John Poole, the father of a young woman, Leanne Wellings (Christine Tremarco), who has gone missing in the drama Five Days.  It is part police procedural and part family drama as it deals directly with the turmoil that family go through when a loved one goes missing as well as the struggles the police have in handling the case.

RF:  The juxtaposition of all the people and intersecting stories is really well done and engrossing.  There’s a deep sense of foreboding and impending doom right from the start, but we’ve already started caring about these people and don’t want anything bad to happen to them.

Admin: Since we’ll be focusing primarily on Patrick Malahide’s performance, this Wikipedia link might be useful in establishing the plot.  It is a very convoluted and emotional story with several major characters and their differing view points, so this isn’t going to be a full-review, but rather an episode-by-episode look at John Poole’s narrative.

John Poole: Domestic Marvel and Jam Maker

The highly precise art of jam-making

The highly precise art of jam-making

Admin: We first see John Poole in the kitchen making jam.  Being a retired science teacher he manages to make it look a bit like a chemistry experiment.  His wife Barbara (Penelope Wilton) is having a whinge over not having time to look after her daughter’s dog, a “smelly, blessed thing.”  John, seemingly a more placid sort, reckons he doesn’t mind but is quickly told he doesn’t have time either.  It looks like she is more interested in her golf game as she heads out to beat the rain while he continues being all scientific and using his watch to time his jam’s progress.

RF:  He looks as if he’s having a bit of a hard time reading that measuring cup before he puts his glasses on.  ;-)  He does seem to be very meticulous (wearing an apron! measuring ingredients!) and as you say, is very easy-going with his, “Oh, I don’t mind,” in response to the matter of the dog.  Poole also appears to be a multi-tasker, although I’d say he’s paying more attention to his jam than to Barbara’s griping.   Dare I say he’s tuning her out?  They are already very believable, down-to-earth sort of characters.

Admin:  And on a somewhat superficial note, I’ll mention that he looks very handsome in those glasses. ;-)  True, he seems like he is very used to her ways and just continues whatever it is he is doing. Continue reading

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Patrick Malahide News: Indian Summers



****UPDATE: July 31.  He is playing the Viceroy!  At least that is what his IMDB is saying.  Looks like our guess was good.  ;)


We don’t have a huge amount to go on, but here are a couple of references to Patrick Malahide’s involvement in a new epic series currently being filmed called Indian Summers.  It also stars Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley!) and is being co-produced by the very lovely and talented Indira Varma, so it is shaping up to be pretty spectacular.

Actor/singer Ash Nair has posted a couple of photos on his Instagram account.  One with Mr. Malahide and one with Julie Walters.

Assistant Director John Bennett has posted a reference to Indian Summers, mentioning both Mr. Malahide and Ms. Walters, on his CV.  Here’s a link, be warned it is a PDF file.

The only thing in the paper he believes is the date.

He’d make a great Viceroy, right Jonesy?

For more information on Indian Summers, click here.  If doesn’t reference Patrick Malahide specifically though it does make mention of a “Viceroy” character.  That sounds a suitably important role,  so maybe  that will be his part.  I certainly hope he has lots of scenes with Julie Walters because she is fantastic.  Of course, they have already worked together in A Short Stay in Switzerland, so you know they’ll have great chemistry.

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Our Favourite Characters (Played by Patrick Malahide)

As part of our ongoing anniversary celebrations (I think I have a bottle of Strongbow around here somewhere), Fearless Admin and I thought we’d like to highlight some of our favourite characters played by Patrick Malahide.    These are characters who mean a lot to us or have a great deal of appeal, making a lasting impression.  So without further ado, here they are.

RF’s Choices:   Sir Myles  |   The Reverend Edward Casaubon   |   Mr. Alfred Jingle

Admin’s Choices:  Ebenezer Balfour  |  Mark Finney  |   D.S. Albert Chisholm

RF’s Choices:

RF:  Sir Myles (“The Abduction Club“, 2002)

What Makes Him a Favourite?

Sir Myles:  So gosh-darned dashing we can barely stand it!  Favourite characters played by Patrick Malahide

Sir Myles: So gosh-darned dashing we can barely stand it!

He’s just so gosh-darned dashing!  He’s made it his life’s mission to help a bunch of ne’er-do-well second sons marry heiresses by abducting them, just like he did.  Of course, it helped a lot that his heiress fell head over heels in love with him as soon as she saw him unmasked (Eeeeeeee!!  ;-) ).  Sir Myles has a lovely sense of humour, near-infinite supply of patience, exquisite manners, healthy appreciation for romance, and vast amounts of experience at arranging daring escapes.  He’s also highly considerate of the maidens’-in-question feelings and insists that proper protocol must be followed.  No crass or rude behaviour allowed!

The Moment/Scene When You Knew He was Going to be a Favourite:

Strang [offering Sir Myles a bite]: "Pigeon?"<br /> Sir Myles [exasperated]: <i>"Quail."</i>

Strang [offering Sir Myles a bite]: “Pigeon?”
Sir Myles [exasperated]: “Quail.”

When I first saw him wearing his mask (oooo!), Ulster coat, and tricorn, waiting for his gang of second sons to finish the first abduction of the movie.   He complimented the first one, who had a giggling heiress over his shoulder, with a “Good man, very stylish!”  Then when the next offered him a bite of stolen pigeon, Sir Myles exasperatedly corrected him to “Quail.”  It was immediately obvious he was the brains of the outfit and fighting an uphill battle, although keeping a sense of humour about it.  It only got better from there when, at another abduction, he had to keep paying for the damages his boys were racking up, running a tab with the lady of the house.  I’m sure she gave him a big discount for flashing lethal dimples at her with his mask on.

What Would You Do If You Met Him?

Swoon.  And hope to be abducted.  But not by “Poxy” Knox or any of the second sons.
Continue reading

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