Patrick Malahide Narrating Book of the Week for BBC Radio 4

Patrick Malahide as Sir John Conroy: Victoria & Albert

Queen Victoria and Sir John Conroy:  Fuel for biographers.

Starting December 12, Patrick Malahide will be narrating “The Long Pursuit” by biographer Richard Holmes, abridged for Radio 4 by Jill Waters. There will be five episodes, running Monday 12th – Friday 16th.   From the BBC Radio 4 information page

A meditation on the art of biography from a master of the genre. Ranging widely over art, science and poetry, Richard Holmes confesses to a lifetime’s obsession with his Romantic subjects – a pursuit and pilgrimage that takes him across three centuries, through much of Europe and into the lively company of many earlier biographers.

The diversity of Holmes’s material is testimony to his empathy, his erudition and his enquiring spirit – and also sometimes to his mischief. He offers a unique insider’s account of a biographer at work, travelling, teaching, researching, fantasising, remembering.

This sounds like a different sort of project for Mr. Malahide.  You get a lot of biographies, but this is about the art of researching and writing a biography.  I’m especially looking forward to hearing some of the “mischief” mentioned above.

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Patrick Malahide as George Wilkins in “Bridget Jones’s Baby” – The Grabs Edition

A few weeks ago, Fearless Admin was lucky enough to see Mr. Malahide as Foreign Secretary George Wilkins in “Bridget Jones’s Baby” (2016) in the theatre, and write a brief review.  I’ve since seen it for myself and thought I’d contribute a few grabs – since George Wilkins’ socks, for example, simply must be seen to believed.  But Admin is right, he’s much cuter than Boris Johnson.  😉

George Wilkins and his incredibly festive socks Patrick Malahide as George Wilkins in "Bridget Jones's Baby"

George Wilkins and his incredibly festive socks

Mr. Malahide is only on screen for a couple of minutes, but he makes the most of what he’s got.  Admin was completely right about George Wilkins’ socks; they are incredibly loud.  And as she also noted, very festive!  I guess you could say that the blue in his socks kind of matches his tie, sorta.  I also like that he’s wearing the socks completely without comment, and no one else comments on them, either.  They’re just undeniably there,  while the rest of his suit is nicely tailored and conservative.  I think we can guess that whatever kind of Foreign Secretary Mr. Wilkins is, he’s not boring.

Being asked an unexpected question

Being asked an unexpected question

Hijinks ensue when Bridget Jones’ (Renée Zellweger) friend, newscaster Miranda (Sarah Solemani) begins interviewing Wilkins about an ultra-serious topic, the recent death of a brutal African dictator, for some type of tv news magazine show.  However, Miranda is actually channeling questions from Bridget’s half of a phone conversation about the death of a ne’er-do-well ex-boyfriend of Bridget’s, which Miranda is overhearing in her earpiece.  The questions are (of course) highly inappropriate when applied to an African dictator, resulting in some startled double-takes and extremely quizzical looks from Mr. Wilkins.  But I have to give him credit for remaining unflappable and attempting to answer Miranda’s absurd questions as if they were normal.  When Miranda says “we’ll all miss him”, seeming to refer to the dictator, Mr. Wilkins diplomatically replies that while N’gotche was “a colourful character on the world stage”, the fact he was responsible for the murder of ten thousand of his own people, mostly women and children, “probably did rather put him on the wrong side of history.”  He’s a master of understatement.

Ever unflappable: "Let's hope so."

Ever unflappable: “Let’s hope so.”

By the time Bridget starts paying attention to the show again and directs a genuine question Miranda’s way (“Well now, that is an interesting question… finally,” Wilkins drily comments) time has run out and there’s only enough room for the briefest of soundbites – even though Wilkins looks like he’s warming up to the topic at last.  Asked whether he thinks the “spirit of democracy can carry over into West Africa” now that the dictator is dead, but forced to condense his answer into two seconds, Wilkins replies, “Let’s hope so.”  Short but sweet!

And that’s the last we see of him!  As mentioned, a very brief role for Mr. Malahide, but still a fun one.  We didn’t get much time to get to know George Wilkins, but we do admire his taste in men’s hosiery.  😉  As for the parentage of Bridget’s baby, you’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

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Favouritest Grabs Ever – Sixth Edition

It’s been a while since we’ve done a Favouritest Grabs post, and we certainly have a lot of grabs to choose from – so herein follows our Sixth Edition.  As usual, we’re featuring grabs of Mr. Malahide’s work that we find interesting, entertaining, or especially appealing, and why.

RF’s Picks:

Governor Ainslee making an offer that can't be refused:<br>"I insist. I can do that, you know." Favouritest Grabs Ever - Sixth Edition

Governor Ainslee making an offer that can’t be refused:
“I insist. I can do that, you know.”

What’s Going On in This Picture?

RF:   It’s from the 1995 movie, “Cutthroat Island“.   Mr. Malahide plays Governor Ainslee, de facto ruler of the island of Port Royal, where apparently a lot of pirates like to hang out and occasionally fence their goods.  In this particular scene, he’s ever-so-politely making pirate chronicler John Reed (Maury Chaykin) an offer he can’t refuse; namely, that Reed tell pirate queen Morgan Adams (Geena Davis) to cut him in for a share of the treasure she’s seeking (insert long, convoluted pursuit-of-treasure tale here), or else… both she and Reed will be “food for crows”.  In other words, the governor doesn’t mind engaging in a little criminality himself to fill his own coffers.  To back up his words, the docks where this scene is taking place are decorated with a gibbet or two, occupied and not.  Ainslee might look like a fop (and he does), but he’s no pushover; he fully intends to make good on his threat.

Why is This One a Favourite?

RF:  The movie itself… well… isn’t that great (see my recap if you want the gory details), but Mr. Malahide as Governor Ainslee was one of the few bright spots.  He was fopped up to eleven throughout with elaborate wardrobe and wigs, but somehow managed to pull everything off without seeming overly foppish in the slightest; despite his outward appearance, Ainslee was a very creditable and dangerous enemy to the protagonists.  However, that didn’t seem to mean he was averse to cuddling with a very contented-looking Cavalier King Charles spaniel, who appeared to enjoy his company a great deal; they both look very relaxed and happy.  Actually, I was so taken by Ainslee’s Lethal Dimples that I didn’t even notice the dog until after I’d watched the movie and was reviewing the grabs!  But aside from that, Ainslee is the very picture of self-assured, confident Evil – though he turns out to be not that evil, in my opinion.

Admin:  Ainslee is a great character and should have had a lot more screen time.  He dominates every scene he is in and is so much more fun to watch than the protagonists.  That is a great grab.  The little spaniel is so cute and certainly seems to be enjoying himself.  I also like the massive sails behind them.  It all looks so evocative.  But of course it is Ainslee’s smug expression that is the real star of the moment.

RF:  Yeah, the protagonists were an unfortunate (and rather large) weak spot in the entire production.  :-/  It’s a shame because the whole pirate milieu could’ve been a lot of fun.  The Malta setting was gorgeous and Mr. Malahide’s co-starring villain, Frank Langella as “Dawg” Brown, made a very credible pirate.  I would’ve preferred watching a lot more of Dawg and Ainslee than Morgan Adams and William Shaw (Matthew Modine).

Admin:  Absolutely.  The film should have been about Ainslee (and Trott-AHHH!!) and Dawg.  Those three were much more entertaining than the protagonists.
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Indian Summers S02E09 PBS Variation

Lord W., becoming more visibly upset as Ralph continues: "Look, stop this."

From the C4 version: Lord W., becoming more visibly upset as Ralph continues: “Look, stop this.”

“Indian Summers”, PBS version, showed another Viceroy scene that didn’t appear in the C4 UK version.   S02E09 “Winner Takes All” (recapped by RFodchuk) is a very poignant episode for the Viceroy because it is when he finally learns the truth about Whelan.  The revelation scene is downright crushing but is also brilliant because of Patrick Malahide’s amazing expressions of heartbreak.  It is a total “wow” moment.

Ralph chats with the tea lady. Lord W. is in the background.

Ralph chats with the tea lady. Lord W. is in the background.

The scene I’ll briefly recap takes place right before that revelation.  Ralph Whelan, who has just found out that he most certainly will not be the new Viceroy, has a little chat with the tea lady who recalls serving under Lord Curzon.  According to Wikipedia, there were five additionalViceroys between Curzon and Willingdon, so she’s been there a while, but it also shows they tend to last about five years.

Ralph: "I was younger than I am." Lord W: *laughs* "So was I."

Ralph: “I was younger than I am now.” Lord W: *laughs* “So was I.”

After Willingdon expresses his sadness at Ralph not getting the appointment they go back inside for Ralph’s toast to the exiting Lord Willingdon.  Ralph details how they met fifteen years ago in Madras when Willingdon was the Governor of Bombay.  Ralph: “I was younger than I am now.”  Lord W. laughs, “So was I.”

RFodchuk was pleased that Ralph mentioned Willingdon’s time in Ontario, Canada.  🙂  Just for the heck of it, here is a link to a Britsh Pathé video of Lord Willingdon opening the new wing of St. Andrew’s College in Ontario.  Sadly it is silent, so there is none of that exquisite Pathé narration I love so much.

Sir Cecil Thompson.

Sir Cecil Thompson.

Anyway, back to the recap.  Ralph is going over Willingdon’s exemplary record when a very tall, young and posh looking chap comes waltzing in.  All eyes immediately fall on him, leaving Ralph stuttering uncomfortably.  It is a very awkward moment for both Ralph and Lord Willingdon as no one appears interested in them anymore.

The new arrival is revealed as Sir Cecil Thompson.  Fortunately, Thompson seems a pretty astute guy, so he makes a bit of a save by intoning “hear, hear” so that Ralph can wrap things up and toast His Excellency.

The Viceroy isn't thrilled about the interruption.

The Viceroy isn’t thrilled about the interruption.

Then the action goes into what was already shown on C4 with Willingdon finding out that Sir Cecil is there to advise the incoming Viceroy.  Willingdon seems bitter about it all, “Oh, very prudent, yes, good to make a head start,” he says ruefully.

It is a very brief scene but very interesting.  It shows how quickly new brooms can switch things up and adds to Willingdon’s soul crushing day.  I am very glad that PBS has aired so many previously deleted scenes because they truly add to the context of the overall story.

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Patrick Malahide as DS Chisholm in Sorry Pal, Wrong Number

Spidey senses tingling.

Spidey senses tingling.

In Minder S04E04, “Sorry Pal, Wrong Number”, Arthur Daley  gets involved with charming con artist J. J. Mooney (T. P. McKenna). Mooney puts up the cash to set up a horse racing consultancy business, “Mayfair Course Consultants”. It is quite the wheeze. They place an ad in The Sporting Times offering punters, free of charge, horse racing tips. If the punter chooses to take the advice, he is asked to also place a tenner for them and send the winnings via postal order. Sounds legit.

All Daley needs is an office address (to receive any winnings) and some telephone numbers for the punters to call.  Daley hires an office which sublets to a myriad of dodgy fly-by-night “businesses” and uses three red public call boxes at the Acton Green Station to handle the tips.

A Very Wicked Mr. Chisholm

I love the interior car shots.

I love the interior car shots.

But, we’re more concerned with Chisholm, so let’s discuss his role in all this. Chisholm first appears driving near the Winchester when he spies Terry leaving with J. J. Mooney. Chisholm’s Spidey senses immediately begin to tingle. The cinematography is really good as we get a great look at his suspicious expression.

Chisholm enters the Winchester and notices Daley enjoying a higher class of beverage than usual. That’s because Mooney had been flashing the cash earlier. “Did I just see young Terry with the remarkable J. J. Mooney?” Arthur asks if that would be such a crime. It might be. Chisholm explains that Mooney had just turned over The London Clinic for £13 grand by not paying for his open-heart surgery. Dave the Barman is duly impressed because Liz Taylor had her operation there. I now imagine Dave reading gossip rags behind his bar.

"Richard Burton, the Sheik of Araby, and Uncle Tom Cobley and all."

“Richard Burton, the Sheik of Araby, and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.”

Chisholm gets snide, “No doubt…Richard Burton, the Sheik of Araby, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.” I had to Google to find out what the Uncle Tom Cobley reference meant. It is a folk song. Further proof of RFodchuk‘s and my shared theory that Chisholm has a secret appreciation for the humanities.

Chisholm becomes considerably more menacing, intently asking Arthur “Have you ever heard of Sprott of the Yard?” “Sprott’s life ambition was to nick J.J…..’til he got nicked himself by our own gestapo.” No matter, Chisholm wickedly assures Daley that someone else will get J. J. Continue reading

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Boy and Going Solo Now On Audible

boy-going-solo

Source: Audible.com

Earlier this year, Patrick Malahide provided the voice of Roald Dahl  in BBC Radio adaptations of “Boy” and “Going Solo”.  They are now available on Audible.com.  It is brilliant that the BBC have made this available for Audible.  Both “Boy” and “Going Solo” are excellent productions and Patrick Malahide is a very warm, joyful, wistful, and immensely believable Dahl.

It is also available on Amazon.co.uk in both Audible and CD format.

From the Audible.com description

"See that, Eddie? They're putting on fireworks especially for you."

“Did I ever tell you about the chocolate factory fire, Eddie?”

Boy: Dahl’s childhood was one of excitement, wonder, terror and sadness. From his fascination with the local sweetshop to the Great Mouse Plot, the horrors of boarding school, the obnoxious Boazers and his time as a chocolate taster for Cadbury’s, we hear of the extraordinary events that shaped him and inspired his best-selling books.

Going Solo: setting sail for Africa on the SS Montola, aged 22, Dahl is plunged into an unfamiliar world of eccentric colonial characters. In Tanzania he enjoys life on the savannah, encountering lions and deadly mambas – but when World War II breaks out and he must round up the Germans in Dar es Salaam, he experiences the brutality of war. As he leaves the bush behind and takes to the skies as an RAF pilot, many thrilling adventures and dangerous missions will ensue before he finally makes his way back home.

 

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It’s a Meme! 40 – Halloween Edition

Admin:  Horrible Halloween everyone!  Here are some macabre memes to enjoy.

halloween-02

halloween-01

RF:   Happy Halloween, everyone!  🙂

casaubon-halloween

malahide-visitor-halloween

 

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The Good, the Neutral, and the Evil: Part 3 – the Evil

Just in time for Halloween, Fearless Admin and I thought it was only appropriate to finish off our discussion of Mr. Malahide’s characters in terms of D&D alignments (the first and second parts are here and here, respectively) with what could arguably be our favourite group, the Evils! Despite their role as the villains and antagonists of the story, these guys remain compelling and fascinating to watch – and usually manage to generate some sympathy as well.  And now, the Evils!

Lawful Evil

A lawful evil character sees a well-ordered system as being easier to exploit and shows a combination of desirable and undesirable traits. Examples of this alignment include tyrants, devils, and undiscriminating mercenary types who have a strict code of conduct.  [Source:  Wikipedia]

Magnus, looking like what you'd see if you looked up "Lawful Evil" in a D&D manual Patrick Malahide in The Good, the Neutral, and the Evil: Part 3

Magnus, looking like the illustration for “Lawful Evil”
in a D&D manual

RF:  Well, when it comes to a character who likes a well-ordered system with his own strict code of conduct – and his own ability to exploit that system (or at least know all the loopholes), the first one to spring to my mind is the mysterious magician and role-playing gaming guru Magnus from “The One Game“.  As a matter of fact, he prides himself on knowing all the rules better than anyone else, even if those rules are entirely of his own making.  He’s also a bit of a tyrant when it comes to insisting that others play his real-life role-playing games, even when they don’t want to, because Magnus is also somewhat ruthless and doesn’t worry too much about collateral damage happening to NPCs.  But Magnus also seems to have difficulty understanding why everyone else doesn’t see life in gaming terms like he does.

Admin:  A hardcore gaming man would certainly be equally hardcore about the rules, and none are more hardcore than Magnus.   Interesting that Lawful Evil shows desirable traits in addition to the undesirable. There is no doubt that Magnus shows desirable traits.  His intelligence, innovation, principles, and devotion to those he loves are all admirable qualities.

Now she does. What a cute baby :-)

Honestly?  Picking on young mums and babies?

My choice is none other than Inspector Carson of “A Man of No Importance”.  As the area bus inspector he literally enjoys making Alfie Byrnes’ (Albert Finney) life as unpleasant as possible.  Carson clearly hates Alfie for being homosexual and also seems to hate him for his generosity and kindness of spirit.   When Alfie helps a poor mother who could not afford her ticket, Carson cruelly refers to people like her as “wasters” and “tinkers” even though she is within hearing distance.   He gets a real charge out of greeting Alfie with surprise inspections along his bus route with the grim determination of a wild west gunslinger.  When Alfie’s sexuality is exposed as public knowledge, Carson can only show ghoulish pleasure by laughing at  and mocking Alfie.

Besieged by school girls. Can you blame them?

Besieged by screaming school girls.

Fortunately, Inspector Carson is also a very funny character, so his wickedness is a lot easier to tolerate than it should be.   You get the feeling that he’s actually kind of jealous of Alfie and Robbie Fay (Rufus Sewell) for having a proper friendship and actually daring to enjoy their lives on their own terms.  And we still want to know why those school girls chased him down.

RF:  That’s right, those schoolgirls all seemed to be lying in wait for Carson and they were organized, so they must have had a very good reason (or reasons!) for chasing him down.  If only we could’ve seen what happened after they mobbed him!

Admin:  I presume Robbie got them to do it, but I’d have loved to have seen more of that scene.  It was so funny, like something from St. Trinian’s.
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The Good, the Neutral, and the Evil: Part 2 – The Neutral

For our second installment describing Mr. Malahide’s characters in terms of D&D alignments (the first one is here), Fearless Admin and I will be discussing the Neutrals.   These are characters who tend to skirt the middle ground while pursuing their own interests, although they can be law-abiding when it suits them.  They’re a little trickier to define, but despite their name, they aren’t fence-sitters – and they’re just as much fun to watch.  And now, the Neutrals!

Lawful Neutral

A lawful neutral character typically believes strongly in lawful concepts such as honor, order, rules, and tradition, and often follows a personal code.  Examples of lawful neutral characters include a soldier who always follows orders, a judge or enforcer that adheres mercilessly to the word of the law, and a disciplined monk.  [Source:  Wikipedia]

Rev. J.G. Keach: All business, no frills Patrick Malahide in The Good, the Neutral, and the Evil: Part 2

Rev. J.G. Keach: All business, no frills

RF:  When it comes to a character who adheres to the rules, sometimes mercilessly, the first one to spring to my mind is… the Reverend J.G. Keach from “A Month in the Country“.  From his seeming obsession with his fabric fund to his relentlessly picky calculation of Birkin’s (Colin Firth) salary for restoring the medieval mural in his church, everything about him suggests he’s a stickler for rules and proprieties.  He’s so inflexible that he insists Birkin stay in the church’s unheated belfry while carrying out the work, despite having a large (and extremely empty) house at his disposal.  Yet despite all of that, Keach is not entirely without feelings; he knows he’s a fish out of water in Oxgodby but doesn’t know quite what to do about it, and he seems to sense that there’s a bit of an emotional divide between himself and his much younger wife, Alice (Natasha Richardson).

Trying to be a good sport about it?

Trying to be a good sport so maybe he’s not evil.

Admin:  Poor Keach.  I felt quite sorry for him, but most of his problems were of his own doing.   He really needs to lighten up and reach out to others, but Lawful Neutrals have a hard time doing that.   I’ll choose a much lighter, funnier Lawful Neutral:  The Marine Safety agent, Mr. Lancing from “Captain Jack“.  He almost comes close to being evil since he seems to take a fiendish delight in waving his clipboard around, but he shows just enough good humor at the end to save him from that category.   Mr. Lancing’s dedication to enforcing the rules is truly remarkable, and he gets some very funny lines.  I especially love his insistence that Captain Jack (Bob Hoskins) use a “proper British whistle” rather than one those unreliable Danish models.  He’s a stickler through and through.

RF:  Yeah, Mr. Lancing certainly enjoyed being as officious as humanly possible, but I got the impression he rather liked his run-ins with Jack.  I think they made his life just that little bit more exciting.  😉  You’re right, he did seem to have a sense of humour, which is one quality that poor Rev. Keach appeared to lack.

Admin:  I agree he liked his run-ins.  Mr. Lancing seemed to enjoy having an adversary which made it all oddly rather friendly.
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Random Malahide Picture 18

I found this gem on PBS Thirteen Media.  It is from Indian Summers S02E01.  Lord Willingdon suffered a mock assassination and as a result was bed-ridden for a while.  But, he got better.  Later on he was even able to play a spot of cricket.  It is a great picture.  He looks rather nervous and stunned at having to face a crowd.  Actually, it makes me think of those nightmares where you realize you forgot to put on trousers 😀 He rallied after he got a drink down him though 😉

Source: Thirteen.org

Source: Thirteen.org

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