The One Game on DVD

Meanwhile, Magnus has had time to get back to London, change clothes, and hang out on the rooftop across from Sorceror to watch the bigwigs arrive for the takeover meeting.

Magnus.  Pretty much the coolest wizard ever.

“The One Game” is now available for order via Network as a UK Region 2 PAL release.

It is a fantastic series that has been out-of-print for far too long.  Patrick Malahide is just perfect as Magnus.

Here is a spot-on synopsis of what it’s all about from Network’s YouTube page along with a short video clip.

One of the defining tele-fantasy series of 1980s television, The One Game is a prescient mix of first-person gaming, political chicanery and Arthurian myth, starring Stephen Dillane in a powerful early role and Patrick Malahide as the enigmatic, malevolent Magnus. Directed by Mike Vardy, written by John Brown and sporting a haunting theme tune from Chameleon, The One Game hits an unequivocally high-water mark for British fantasy television.

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Adorkable Nerds (Played by Patrick Malahide)

Proving once again that Mr. Malahide’s characters defy categorization – or just have many facets to them – Admin and I were pondering bow ties (okay, I was  😉 ) and the characters most likely to wear them when we realized that many of Mr. Malahide’s characters could actually be said to be… nerdy.  But not merely nerdy, adorkably nerdy, which is a far better sort of nerdiness.  And they’re always where you’d least expect to find them, too.  So here are a few of our favourite Adorkable Nerds played by Patrick Malahide.

Rev. Edward Casaubon  |  Edward Ryder  |  Mr. Lancing  |  John Harrison  |
George Bucsan  |  D.S. Albert Chisholm  |  Arthur Frommer  |  Most Adorkable Nerd of All

RF:  My choices for Adorkable Nerds:

The Rev. Edward Casaubon
(“Middlemarch“, 1994)

Type of Nerd:

The Research Nerd in his natural habitat Adorkable Nerds played by Patrick Malahide

The Research Nerd in his natural habitat

Total Research Nerd.  Like, research to the exclusion of all else, including a happy marriage and a life that involves something other than libraries.  Casaubon spends so much time in libraries that he has trouble interacting with other warm-blooded beings, and looks as though he might not be all that warm-blooded himself.  He could use some fresh air and sunshine.

What’s His Area of Nerd Expertise?

Oh God, what have I done with my life??

Oh God, what have I done with my life??

Obscure mythologies, religions, philosophy, and cosmology, all of which Casaubon hopes to draw together into one masterful tome, The Key to All Mythologies, containing his unified theory as to how they all tie together and cementing his place in Nerd History.  The tricky bit is that he’s been researching for so long that he’s forgotten exactly what he wants to do with all the material he’s collected.  But he can’t seem to stop researching and collecting!  If he has to stop collecting and start consolidating, then he has to admit to himself that he has no idea what he’s doing, which would be/is truly scary for him.

More Adorkable or More Nerdy?

Dorothea, trying to decide if he's more Adorkable or more Nerdy

Dorothea, trying to decide if he’s more Adorkable or more Nerdy

In Casaubon’s case, I’d have to say his Adorkableness is in the eye of the beholder – in this case, his wife, Dorothea (Juliet Aubrey).   Fortunately for Casaubon, Dorothea actually finds his Nerdiness somewhat alluring; she believes he’s on the verge of producing a great work, and she genuinely wants to help him with it.  Unfortunately, she only finds out after marrying him that he’s quite willing to let his Nerdiness intrude when they should be getting to know each other better.  So… I think Dorothea actually finds him quite Adorkable, but gets frustrated by all the Nerdiness, too.  However, the other inhabitants of Middlemarch merely find Casaubon insufferably dry and boring, with Mrs. Cadwallader accusing him (not to his face) of having blood that’s all “semicolons and parentheses”.
Continue reading

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Something Neat XXXIV: Pickwick Illustrations and Set Design

As RFodchuk has pointed out on this blog, The Pickwick Papers BBC series featuring Patrick Malahide as Mr. Jingle was remarkably faithful to the original illustrations by “Phiz“.   I found these lovely animated gif/illustration comparisons blogged on Tumblr and was impressed at how close the similarity is.  Plus, a couple of them have our favorite lovable scoundrel, Mr. Jingle, who is always nice to look at 🙂  Link just in case the embed below doesn’t work or load for you.

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Inspector Alleyn Mysteries on the Drama Channel

The Drama channel (UK) has a lovely website dedicated to Inspector Alleyn Mysteries.  They even have some episodes that you can watch for the month, of course you have to live in the UK (and for all I know be a Sky subscriber) to do that.  Boo!  Hiss! 😉

The perfect gentleman detective. Source: Drama

The perfect gentleman detective. Source: Drama

I love the way they accurately describe Inspector Alleyn.

Inspector Alleyn oozes quiet charisma – he’s the sort of chap whose perfect poise and refined voice makes onlookers melt in his presence. link

That sums him up perfectly.

Exuding sophistication. Source: Drama

Exuding sophistication. Source: Drama

They even talk a little bit about other gentleman detectives.  Well, none of them quite match up to Alleyn, though I do like Campion quite a bit.

Inspector Alleyn is the very essence of the gentleman detective. First of all, he’s of fine breeding. Consider the fact that he went to Eton, and his brother is called Sir George Alleyn. That should give you some idea of how blue his blood is, as will the way he speaks. Alleyn has the clipped, immaculate English accent of a mid-20th Century BBC announcer, and you just know he has an unfaltering command of grammar as well. (And let’s not ignore the fact that his first name is Roderick, for heaven’s sake.)

A dramatic, very Binney-like silhouette signals Alleyn's arrival at Ribblethorpe...

But it certainly isn’t all tea and crumpets. Source: Hand in Glove

Existing in a realm of exclusive London clubs, stately homes and government offices – he has a shady sideline in espionage – Inspector Alleyn exudes the sort of sophistication you just don’t see much of nowadays. In fact, just watching him work for a few minutes will make you feel nostalgic for an era you’re probably too young to even remember. Ahhh. link

Of course, we have some pretty amazing Alleyn resources on this blog, if you would like more gorgeous photos and in-depth recaps courtesy of RFodchuk be sure to have a look.

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Patrick Malahide as Cradoc in “The Eagle of the Ninth”, S01E01

The picture that started it all Patrick Malahide as Cradoc in Eagle of the Ninth

The picture that started it all

Time for another blast from the past!  Fearless Admin and I had long wanted to get our hands on the very-hard-to-find series, “The Eagle of the Ninth” (1977), ever since we saw one tiny, grainy photo of Mr. Malahide in costume as Celtic chieftain Cradoc on the now sadly defunct site (although I recently found a copy of it on  But the picture raised a few questions…  What was he doing in that get-up?  And why all that hair??  Was that really him??   Fast-forward a few years and we’ve finally managed to find the entire six-part series.  We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the acting and the story, both of which drew us in from the first episode – even if we had to squint a bit to see details in a muddy VHS transfer (apologies in advance for the quality of the screen grabs!).  I also read the original 1954 novel by Rosemary Sutcliff afterwards to see how it stacked up against the series (or vice versa) and was pleasantly surprised once again.  But mostly it was fascinating to see Mr. Malahide in one of his earlier roles – even if he was buried under a mountain of hair.

Marcus Flavius Aquila Arrives at His First Command

Marcus Flavius Aquila arrives to take his first command

Marcus Flavius Aquila arrives to take his first command

The first episode of the series, “Frontier Fort”, opens in Roman Britain in 119 AD.  The Roman Ninth Legion, the Hispana, has been dispatched north to deal with an “uprising” by Caledonian tribes.  They march off to the strains of “The Girl I Kissed at Clusium” and are never seen again.  No trace of them is ever found and their standard, the Eagle of the Ninth, is presumed lost.  Twenty years later, an ambitious young centurion named Marcus Flavius Aquila (Anthony Higgins) arrives in Britain at the head of the Fourth Gaulish Cohort to assume his first command, a frontier fort located at Isca (modern-day Exeter).  He befriends the outgoing commander, Quintus Hilarion (Matthew Long), telling him that part of the reason he’s here is because his father was lost with the Ninth Legion; he hopes to learn something of his father’s fate while leading his own untried cohort to battle honours.  Hilarion mentions that the Ninth’s reputation was rather tarnished, even at the time, which puts Marcus on the defensive; he’s already well aware how the Ninth were regarded.  Changing the subject to something more pleasant, Marcus asks what diversions the isolated fort can offer, and Hilarion tells him he can enlist one of the Celtic hunters living nearby as a guide if he wants to go hunting.  This will become relevant later.

"A wild lot, superbly brave..."

“A wild lot, superbly brave…”

Hilarion also offers a couple of words of advice before leaving the fort in Marcus’ hands.  Marcus should beware of “the native priest kind, the wandering Druids”, and double his guard even if he hears only the merest hint that one might be in his territory.   They “preach holy war”, says Hilarion, and “stir up trouble”.  He describes the Celts in this area as a “wild lot” but “superbly brave”, who have mostly come to co-exist peacefully with the Romans – because they know that doing otherwise will result in their homes and crops being burned in retribution.  We hear all this in voiceover over a scene of a wild-haired, excessively mustached, fierce-looking Celt riding a sturdy pony that appears a touch too small for him.  We don’t know who he is yet, but he looks like he could be important.  Anyway, according to Hilarion, once the Druids succeed in stirring up trouble amongst the normally peaceful Celts, they leave to incite more trouble elsewhere.
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Patrick Malahide as DS Chisholm Minder Series 1 Plus Questions

Patrick Malahide as DS Chisholm Minder Series 1 Plus Questions We’d Like to Ask Mr. Malahide Part II

Chisholm and some one who is not DC Jones.

Chisholm and some one who is not DC Jones.

So, we’re going to the early days of Chisholm now, Minder Series 1 Chisholm, to be specific. He appeared in two episodes: “Gunfight at the OK Laundrette” (S01E01) and “Monday Night Fever” (S01E09). The Chisholm on display in these two episodes, especially the first one, is quite a different copper indeed.

Chisholm doesn’t have an especially big part in these episodes.  It seems his character wasn’t fully developed yet, though there were some clear Chisholm-esque signals on display in Monday Night Fever.  So, I’ll combine the two episodes into one recap, and RFodchuk and I are also adding a some questions we’d love to ask Patrick Malahide regarding our favorite much put-upon copper. There are actually quite a lot of things we’d like to know about Chisholm.

Gunfight at the OK Laundrette

This was the first ever episode of Minder, and boy does it feel different in tone from what I’m used to. Arthur Daley is funny as ever, but he has an unfamiliar sleazy edge.  OK, Daley is always dodgy, but he has a naivety to him. Not so much here.

The main premise is that Daley gets Terry to help Alfie (Dave King), a local automatic laundrette owner, to gather the days takings. Things quickly go pear shaped when armed robbers show up.  Alfie is shot in the shoulder, and he and Terry, along with an older customer, a lady named Mrs. Mayhew (Hilary Mason) are taken hostage.

Daley tries to score some lucre by going to the press. Terry was going to have drinks with a young woman named Liz (Linda Regan) who strips at a club he minds, so Arthur presents her to the press as Terry’s fiancee. He even advises her to “stick your tits out” while having her photo taken. See what I mean about him being different?

The episode is also different from others with its racial element. The hostage takers are black and the leader, Stretch (Trevor Thomas), refers to them as the ‘Independent Rastafarian Army’ (IRA) in a bit of grim humor.

Mrs. Wassername and Alfie Cavallo told him about Terry's heroism. He seems dubious.

Trust me, this is Mr. Chisholm.

Anyway, skip to the end, Terry gets the gun from the main hostage taker (his young accomplices were terrified of him and were actually very sympathetic) and everyone manages to get out with their lives intact.

Finally, we get to see Mr. Chisholm at the station trying to get a statement from Terry. He looks very different. Part of this is because Patrick Malahide wore his own clothes for the scene, so he’s dressed more modern than usual. Plus his hair is a lot longer, but, his accent and sardonic humor are pure Chisholm.

RF:  I found Chisholm’s haircut quite startling the first time I saw this episode, but that’s because I’d seen most of the later episodes first and completely wasn’t expecting it.  And I thought it was very interesting that Mr. Malahide had to supply his own wardrobe.  I guess the production company figured that if Chisholm wasn’t going to stick around, they weren’t going to pony up for clothes for him.  I wonder if George Cole and Dennis Waterman had to do the same? Continue reading

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Something Neat XXXIII: Two Quick Reviews

"What do you mean, 'obtuse single-mindedness'?"  Two Quick Reviews of War Movies Fearuing Patrick Malahide

“What do you mean, ‘obtuse single-mindedness’?”

I recently happened across a couple of interesting reviews of two war dramas featuring Mr. Malahide while surfing around late one night.  These reviews aren’t new, but they’re new to me and I figured they’re worth mentioning since they highlight lesser-known works that deserve a little more attention.  First, a review from the from 2009 of “Into the Storm“, in which Mr. Malahide plays Major-General Bernard Montgomery opposite Brendan Gleeson’s Winston Churchill:

The film, in general, handles Churchill’s supporting cast excellently. Iain Glen is King George, and Patrick Malahide is excellent as the impossible and obnoxious Major-General Bernard Montgomery, whose obtuse single-mindedness must have struck a chord with Churchill. When Monty makes histrionic demands to his leader, Churchill agrees then decides it’s time for lunch. “I’m sure you could do with a drink,” he says to the soldier. “I neither drink nor smoke and am 100pc fit,” says Monty. “I both drink and smoke and I’m 200pc fit,” Churchill replies.

Monty proving he's 100% fit

Monty proving he’s 100% fit

“[I]mpossible and obnoxious” and “obtuse single-mindedness” sums Monty up nicely. Mr. Malahide obviously made a vivid impression on the reviewer in only a minute and a half of screen time.  😀  He also proves how fit he is by briskly trotting up some stairs while Churchill follows behind a bit more slowly.  However, I don’t know that I’d describe Monty’s demands as “histrionic” so much as “peremptory”; I thought he was being quite restrained, for him.  The scene did make me want to see more of what Mr. Malahide could do with the role, but alas, a minute and a half was all we got.  Embedding has been disabled by request, but you can view a clip of the entirety of Monty’s appearance here (until it gets taken down, of course) or read my full review here.

“All the King’s Men”

Frank Beck (left) and Claude Howlett:<br>The Old Order and the New at Gallipoli

Frank Beck (left) and Claude Howlett:
The Old Order and the New at Gallipoli

The second review is of the World War I drama “All the King’s Men” in New York Magazine (2000), which singles out David Jason and Mr. Malahide for specific praise:

Frank Beck (David Jason), the middle-aged estate manager who trains these boys to be men and then, abetted by the Queen Mother, leads them into disappearance, embodies the stouthearted values of the old order. Claude Howlett (Patrick Malahide), the battalion doctor who has actually experienced combat as well as concentration camps during the Boer War, is a self-hating cynic bereft of illusions. This is shrewd casting. Both are familiar to those of us who watch too many British mystery movies on public television — Jason as Inspector Jack Frost, the sad sack whose domestic life is such a shambles; Malahide as Inspector Alleyn, the melancholy aristocrat with a traumatizing (First World War) wound. When at Gallipoli Howlett says to Beck, “You’ve always trusted the judgment of your betters,” he is speaking as a “better” already aware that they don’t know anything. Of course their maps are useless. It is the old order that vanishes into the mist.

A "self-hating cynic" who discovers a heroic core

A “self-hating cynic” who discovers a heroic core

I’m not entirely sure I’d describe Alleyn as a “melancholy aristocrat with a traumatizing (First World War) wound”; as far as I know, that little bit of characterization was only used for Simon Williams’ version of Alleyn in “Artists in Crime” and was dropped by the time Mr. Malahide was cast in the role, when “The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries” became a full-fledged series.   However, I would agree that Howlett represents the New Order of things while Beck represents the Old.  Howlett is indeed a “self-hating cynic” with a far better grasp of what’s about to happen in Gallipoli than his superiors, but he also finds a core of heroism and altruism within himself amidst the chaos, perhaps surprising himself most of all.   Both Admin and I were very moved by Mr. Malahide’s performance in “All the King’s Men”, finding it tragic, poignant, and touching, with Howlett a startlingly real and sympathetic character.  You can read our joint review of “All the King’s Men” here, but it’s well worth trying to find on DVD to see it for yourself.

*Animated gif courtesy of Admin.  Thanks!  🙂

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BFI Praise for A Month in the Country

Opening up to Birkin

Well some of us appreciate him.

I just discovered this, so the news is late 🙁  but A Month in the Country is the Audience Choice on the subject of Rural Life at the BFI Southbank cinema.  It will air July 17 at 8:30pm.   More information here.  I completely agree with the audience.  It is a wonderful film and Patrick Malahide gives a poignant performance as the very complicated Rev. J. G. Keach, a man who seems to crave solitude while also wishing to be a spiritual guide for a community that apparently just wants him around for weddings and funerals.

For years it has been a somewhat under-rated film, but it has received significant interest as of late with this screening (due to audience appreciation no less) and some recent Blu-Ray releases.  I’m sorry to only find out about this now, but I still thought it was worth mentioning.

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Patrick Malahide as Roald Dahl: Going Solo Part 2 Date & Recaps (Updated July 12)

Update July 12:  I’ve listened to Going Solo pt 2 (available until Aug 9) now and it is brilliant.  Mr. Malahide’s narration shows how thrilling and terrifying Dahl’s experiences were.  From a gruesome accident in a Gladiator to being vastly outnumbered by German planes in his Hurricane, Roald Dahl was truly fortunate to be able to return home safely to his beloved mother.  And he makes it perfectly clear that most fighter pilots did not make it home, paying tribute to their determination, friendship and bravery.  The Roald Dahl biographical dramatization have been wonderful.  Thank you to the BBC for broadcasting them.

Both RFodchuk and I have enjoyed them tremendously.  Actually, being greedy, we’d like a little more 😉  We think Patrick Malahide would be perfect for narrating Roald Dahl’s twist-in-the-tale style short stories for adults.  That would be brilliant!


Roald Dahl: Going Solo part 2 will air Sunday, July 10 on BBC Radio 4 at 3pm.

Giving the woman Brian Ash (Anthony Andrews) is dancing with the Glare of Death.

What a dashing RAF pilot might look like.

As World War II rages, Pilot Officer Dahl takes to the air in a series of daring deeds. An inspirational account of survival when things seem hopeless, in which the extraordinary is made human.

“The second part is about the time I spent flying for the RAF in the Second World War. There was no need to discard anything from this period because every moment was, to me at least, completely enthralling.”

Having joined the RAF Dahl discovers a love of flying. But a crash in the Western desert almost ends his war before he’s started. Eventually he rejoins his heavily depleted squadron during the hopeless last days in Greece. Dogged air fights, secret missions and many narrow misses with death ensue before he eventually returns home to his loving mother.  (source:  BBC)

Going Solo part one is available until August 2.  Boy is available until August 1.

I’ve now listened to both “Boy” and the first part of “Going Solo” and they are fantastic.  Patrick Malahide’s narration is simply beautiful, warm and sincere.  His slightly raspy quality gives it all that sardonic Dahl-ian edge as he goes into darker territory.  These productions, written by Lucy Catherine, combine Mr. Malahide’s narration with voice acting from a very talented cast.

(Mostly) Spoiler-Free ReCaps

“Boy” deals with Dahl’s youth.  We hear about the difficulties his widowed Norwegian mother had raising young children in Wales.  She was obviously a very strong woman, never afraid to stand up for her children, and Dahl loved her very much.    He also loved Norway very much, visiting it each summer vacation and finding it a magical and exciting place.

Mrs. Pratchett's shop. Note the blue plaque.

Mrs. Pratchett’s shop. Note the blue plaque indicating the Dahl connection.

My favorite part was all about Mrs. Pratchett, the miserly, filthy woman who ran the local shop.  Mr. Malahide describes her perfectly, making her quite the creepy figure.  Young Roald tried to get his own back on her, but that wound up backfiring. 😮

The years spent in boarding school brought their own horrors from greedy headmasters, fearsome matrons, embarrassing school uniforms, and fagging for psychopaths.  It wraps up with Dahl leaving school to join the work force where he could indulge his taste for adventure and see the world.

Going Solo Part One:

This one is quite a bit more serious than Boy as it begins to go into WWII.  Working for the Shell company Dahl is stationed in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanganyika (now Tanzania) after nearly being dispatched to dusty old Egypt.  😉

Big finish: ♪ "And still the notes “God save the Queen" / Be blent wi' Auld lang Syne.” ♫

Yeah….dotty alright.

On the voyage there he runs into the last remnants of the old British Empire rulers (Em-Pahh!!) who are completely and unashamedly dotty.  While in Tanganyika he encounters deadly snakes, both green and black mambas, and a very merciful lion.  The lion story is especially good and helped get Dahl’s start into paid storytelling.

There he befriends his young servant Madishu, teaching him how to read.  Together they read about the trouble brewing in Germany and realize that war is inevitable.  Finally it does indeed breakout with frightening consequences for both men.  The area was once ran by the Germans with many Germans still there, so Dahl quickly found himself in a position of authority for which he was ill equipped to handle.

Part One concludes with Dahl deciding to leave Shell company in order to join the RAF.  There was some concern over his height as he was a towering 6′ 6″.  But,  nonetheless he got through his training to become a pilot.  Happily, the training was an absolute delight for him, as he experienced the thrill of going solo over Kenya with a bird’s eye view of the glorious wildlife.  The intensity and joy of that experience comes through crystal clear in Mr. Malahide’s narration.

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More Patrick Malahide as Roald Dahl for BBC Radio 4

Lord W.: "Which one is your husband?" Sarah: "I expect he's dead... I mean, who? I mean, he's gone home." Okay, the last one is the real one. wink emoticon From the sidelines, a hangdog-looking Doug realizes his wife has just thrown him under the bus.

“Tell me about the time you captured the fatal green mamba.”

As mentioned earlier, Patrick Malahide will be playing Roald Dahl for BBC Radio 4.  The series continues Sunday, July 3 at 3pm with “Roald Dahl: Going Solo” pt 1.  Information here.  I’ll add more episodes/dates as I find them.  From the BBC Radio 4 page:

Beginning aboard the SS Mantola, Dahl sets sail for Africa at the tender age of 22. He experiences the remnants of colonial British life, filled with eccentric characters, and is thrown into a world as bizarre and surprising as any you will find in his fiction.

“Life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones.”

Stationed in Tanzania, Dahl is faced with the excitement of the wild; lions carrying off women in their mouths; fatal green mambas captured by snake men. But his savannah-sun-drenched life is interrupted when World War II erupts. Dahl is ordered to round up the German inhabitants of Dar es Salaam and experiences first-hand the horror of war.

Patrick Malahide provides the voice of Dahl in a colourful adaptation by Lucy Catherine.

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