Something Neat 23: The Times TV Special: Best Adaptations of Hit Novels

"Hmm. Perhaps I should start taking the Times."

“Hmm. Perhaps I should start taking the Times.”

Hello out there!  Admin and I are still here!  We’ve just taken a bit of a break, and we’re still stuck mostly at home like everyone else.  But this May 24th, 2020 article in The Times  on the best television adaptations of “hit novels” happened to catch my eye, because it mentioned a character near and dear to our hearts, the Rev. Edward Casaubon:

Middlemarch (1994)
The novel is rarely adapted for TV, but this is a winner, with Rufus Sewell as young Will Ladislaw, Juliet Aubrey as the bookish Dorothea Brooke and Patrick Malahide as her dry-as-dust husband Edward Casaubon.

I’ve written elsewhere as to why I don’t think Casaubon is quite as “dry-as-dust” as he appears, although he certainly goes out of his way to conform to that perception.    But I do have to agree (yes, I’m biased) that the 1994 “Middlemarch” is one of the best tv adaptations out there.  I find it hard to imagine anyone else besides Mr. Malahide as Casaubon.  “Game of Thrones” gets a mention in the article too, but since it’s not due to Balon Greyjoy, I think we can safely skip over that part.  😉

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Malahide Characters: The Stuck At Home Edition

Well, like most of the globe right now, Admin and I are stuck at home.   It’s a very strange and surreal situation to be in, and more than a little worrying.    We also hope that Mr. Malahide is keeping himself safe and healthy during this time.  BUT…  nonetheless, we got to wondering how various Malahide characters would handle the situation we’re facing now, and we thought it might be a good distraction to post about them.

RF:  My choices are:

Jack Turner
(“Hunted“, 2012)

Stomping around his eerily green-lit basement just to get some exercise

Stomping around his eerily green-lit basement
just to get some exercise

This is a bit of a no-brainer as we already have ample evidence as to what crimelord Jack Turner is like when he’s cooped up.  The words “caged tiger” spring to mind.  Even though Jack had a pretty big house for just him, his son Stevie (Stephen Campbell Moore), and grandson Eddie (Oscar Kennedy) – okay, and a few henchmen plus his right-hand man, Bingham (Tom Beard)  – it seemed like any amount of confinement was unendurable for Jack.   He’s very naturally an active guy, and staying at home all day just isn’t his thing.  In the early part of the series, it seemed like he was stomping around his basement just to work off some tension.   He’s the kind of guy who likes to be out and about so he be aware of what’s going on in his universe and be “hands-on” when he thinks it’s needed.  So I think he’d definitely go a little stir-crazy if he was forced to stay inside for any length of time.  Certainly after we’d seen Jack cooped up for a while in the first couple of episodes, it was something of a relief to see him finally let outside to get into some action.  He’s not much of an online/tech-savvy guy either, so it’s not like he can Skype with all of his criminal contacts and do business that way.

Wearing off some energy by driving around at night. Watch out for that cyclist, Jack!

Wearing off some energy by driving around at night.
Watch out for that cyclist, Jack!

That said, I’m not sure Jack would just passively obey the rules, even if it was for his own good.  I have the feeling he’d sneak out after hours whenever possible and get some take-away, or perhaps just drive around on the now-deserted carriageways a little (or a lot) too fast.  He might get nabbed by CCTV and speed cameras, but we already know that Jack  has connections on the police force that would surely be only too happy to rip up any tickets he might get.  All of this is assuming he’d prefer to stay in London and he doesn’t have a nice country estate being held in reserve.  But I think Jack would go even more stir-crazy on a country estate than he would in self-isolation in London.
Continue reading

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It’s a Meme! 63 – Birthday Edition

Admin:  Happy Birthday to Patrick Malahide from The Apprecation.  It is a weird and scary year, but hopefully through perseverance, diligence, kindness, patience, and a little bit of humour, there will be countless blessed birthdays the world over.

RF:  Happy birthday to Mr. Malahide and we sincerely hope he stays healthy and safe.   As Admin said, it’s a very strange and scary time right now, but here’s hoping we can all keep ourselves safe until some solutions are found.

Casaubon birthday memeLord Willingdon birthday meme

 

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It’s a Meme! 62 – Valentine’s Day Edition

RF:  Happy Valentine’s Day from the Appreciation!

Chisholm Valentine's Day meme

Admin:  Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Random Malahide Picture(s) 25

It’s Colin Anderson of “The Standard” in living colour.  He certainly liked his loud, wide power ties.  I love the signet ring in the top photo featuring him using a nice late ’70s phone.  He looks like he’s been put on hold listening to the instrumental of “Evergreen”  for a while.

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Best Wardrobes (Worn By Patrick Malahide)

It’s a whole new decade and it’s a really cold January outside (at least, where I am), so Admin and I thought it might be fun to consider some of the very best clothing ensembles worn by Mr. Malahide.  Because “best” could mean a lot of things, for our purposes we’ve decided that it will refer to the character trying to look good and succeeding at it, as opposed to merely standing out in a crowd (looking at you, Uncle Ebenezer!) or making some more exotic, outlandish wardrobe choices.

RF:  So without further ado, my Best Wardrobe choices are:

Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn
(“The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries“, 1992 – 1994)

Inspector Alleyn: Impeccably attired as always

Inspector Alleyn: Impeccably attired as always

Alleyn’s the sort of guy who’s always impeccably attired, no matter where he is.  His clothes are bespoke tailored, exquisitely selected to flatter him, are coordinated to a T, and he’s always ready for any emergency rain shows with his ever-present brolley.   He’s such a gent that he’s never without a hat or pair of gloves, either.  And yet, he also exudes understated elegance in his double-breasted pinstripes, waistcoats, and silk ties; he’s not a show-off or a dandy, he just seems to appreciate having the best wardrobe he can afford.  He didn’t get the baronetcy – that’s his older brother, George – but just because he’s a working stiff as a Chief Inspector, that doesn’t mean he can’t dress well.  And he does.  When he takes his jacket off and rolls up his sleeves to get to work – revealing a pair of sleeve garters, because of course he would – he even does that neatly.

Looking resplendent in white tie and tails

Looking resplendent in white tie and tails

For an extra treat, we also got to see Alleyn in white tie and tails (“Death in a White Tie“, appropriately enough) and a tux a couple of times in the course of his investigations, which suited him perfectly.  As part of an aristocratic family, Alleyn tends to rub elbows with the gentry quite often; as Inspector Br’er Fox (William Simons) notes, many of Alleyn’s friends are among “that lot”.  So it only makes sense that Alleyn would have the appropriate clothes for the occasion.  And we found out in “Death at the Bar” that he even brings a tux with him on investigations, just in case he needs it.
Continue reading

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Malahide Characters’ Ideal Christmas Part II

For Christmas 2019 RFodchuk and I decided to once again imagine what sort of Christmases our favourite Patrick Malahide characters would celebrate. Do they go the traditional route, or are they a little more unconventional in their tidings? Let’s find out!

Admin: My choices are:

Robert Blair
(“The Franchise Affair”, 1988)

What Is His Favourite Christmas Entertainment?

Having a lovely, relaxing evening at home with his pipe and music on the wireless.

Time for the King’s Christmas message.

Well, with it being the 1940’s, he’s probably not watching any television, but there is always the wireless. I expect he listens to the traditional Christmas carols, the King’s Christmas Message, and maybe a radio play based on “A Christmas Carol”.

More than any of that though he would want to be surrounded with people he loves and spend time with them playing parlor games and swapping stories.  He might like a spot of adventure, but he also appreciates the comforts of home.

Does He Decorate His House?

Of course he does. He is almost certainly going to be the one responsible for placing any of the high decorations, so he’ll be there with his trusty step ladder. Again, his decorations are going to be pretty traditional. He’ll also be sure to get everything down fairly promptly after Christmas. No need to have decorations collecting dust well into New Years.

Does He Kiss Under the Mistletoe?

Discovering a clue in the attic window's view

Is that mistletoe I spy?

Yes, he absolutely would.   Despite being somewhat reserved, Robert has a very affectionate nature.

Before Marion he would have cheerfully doled out some chaste kisses here and there if only out of gentlemanly duty.  However, with Marion, he would be a lot more enthusiastic and romantic about the whole deal. Either way, I expect Robert gets a few under-the-mistletoe kisses each year. Continue reading

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Happy National Sock Day!

Happy National Sock Day from the Appreciation!

Every day is Sock Day for Foreign Secretary George Wilkins.

Every day is Sock Day for Foreign Secretary George Wilkins.

 

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Lordy, Lordy…Minder is Forty!

Happy Birthday.  Let’s celebrate.

Admin: Happy Birthday to “Minder”.  It debuted October 29, 1979 and went strong until March 1994.  We here at the Appreciation are pretty much only concerned with the Chisholm episodes which ran sporadically from ’79 to ’88, but those 24 episodes give us a very good idea of what it is about “Minder” that made it last so long and have allowed it to remain popular 26 years after its finale.

“Minder” has a timelessness about.  While it is in many ways of its time, the central idea of a small man (Arthur Daley) trying to to make a successful living in a big city while avoiding all the pitfalls of bureaucracy (actually, avoiding bureaucracy itself) is a theme that will likely never die.  His mild disdain for the rule of law never goes into outright horrible criminality, so we wind up with a character who is easy to relate to.  Basically, wheelers and dealers will always be with us.

Don’t judge him too harshly, boys.

RF:  Daley is that rarity, a “lovable scamp” that actually manages to be lovable – or if not lovable, at least highly entertaining.  He’s the one who’s always trying to find a shortcut to vast wealth, except he isn’t totally clear on what an effective shortcut should be – goldfish being exchanged for clothes out of the back of a dodgy van?  Cleated football shoes being sold as stylish trainers?  Musical monkeys playing “Scotland the Brave”?  His schemes were always unique head-scratchers.  And yeah, his willingness to flout the law ensured that he’d always be under Chisholm’s watchful eye.

Admin:  The musical monkeys really should have hit off big.  🙂  And, yes, Daley is a very entertaining character.  You just can’t help but like the ol’ spiv.

RF:  It helped that Arthur never broke any heavy-duty laws and had no ambitions towards higher profile illegal activities.  A criminal mastermind, he wasn’t.   When someone once tried to suggest Arthur was fencing stolen jewelry, Chisholm knew that was far beyond his scope.

Patrick Malahide in Minder

Bootleg bills?

Admin: One of my favorite episodes, “What Makes Shamy Run“, deals with pirating VHS tapes of popular Bollywood movies.  Yeah, VHS is dead as the dodo, but piracy continues to be a burning issue, and Bollywood has only become increasingly popular, garnering followers from all over.  The details may have altered, but the general concept is daisy fresh.

RF:  True, and Daley’s scheme involving bootleg mobile phones was a form of piracy, too.  Only nowadays I suppose he would be stealing wifi, selling dodgy burner phones,  and/or hacking into people’s Cloud accounts.  Mind you, Arthur would have to get a talented nephew (or great-nephew) to help him with the latter. Continue reading

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Favouritest Grabs Ever – Thirteenth Edition

It is time for another Favouritest Grabs Ever…and this time it is lucky number 13.  Just in time for Halloween.  As we did last time, we’re going to mull over grabs that have a spooky vibe, be it obvious or slight.

Admin’s Picks:

Being chained to a radiator is seldom a good predicament.

What’s Going On in This Picture?

Whyyy it is that old chestnut from Luther S04E01 where our adorable Cockney crim George has been chained to a radiator.  The reason for that is because Luther (Idris Elba) wants to question him about Crazy Alice and a gem stone scam.  The easiest way to get a straight answer out of George is taking him by force to some run down old gaff and cuffing him to the nearest cruddy radiator you can find.  Quite sensible really.

Why Is This One a Favourite?

Well, it has George Cornelius and a pair of cuffs, so there is always the ooh-la-la factor, but, c’mon, it is suitably creepy.  It could easily be a scene from a horror movie.  In many ways, “Luther” is horror with all its brutal serial killers.  The dingy damaged walls and the chipped paint on the radiator all suggest neglect and secrecy, key components of a horror hideout.  But, don’t worry.  George survives to fight another day and sets up his own chamber of horrors in series five.  Hooray!

RF:  Oh, it could’ve definitely been a horror movie, especially since Luther seemingly forgot about leaving George there!  I think George was quite justified in feeling a wee bit peeved after that.  If George hadn’t decided to take matters into his own hands and pull the radiator out of the wall, he might still be there.  😮  Agreed that the overall dinginess and disrepair of the flat just adds to the atmosphere.

Preparing to lead the funeral.

What’s Going On in This Picture?

This is from December Bride.  The Reverend Sorleyson is leading a funeral.  The young woman behind him with closed arms is Sarah Gomartin (Saskia Reeves).  Her employer has just passed away, but she is remaining on the farm with his two sons in what can only be described as a polyamory.  Sorleyson doesn’t know how unconventional things will become just yet, but he has a pretty good idea that Sarah has a mind of her own.  He doesn’t approve of her peculiar ways, but he also finds himself fascinated by her.

Why Is This One a Favourite?

It looks incredibly gothic, so it is perfect for Halloween.  Sorleyson is very attractive in his clerical finery.  He also looks a little out of place. Perhaps he’s a little too dapper.  I love the contrast of him with the grim faced dour black-clad women behind him.  Everything around him is very bleak and barren and earthy while he looks elegant and more depressed than dour.  There is a difference between those two sad qualities, and he nails it.

RF:  It does look like the opening set-up to a vampire movie, where it turns out that the corpse they’ve buried isn’t quite dead yet.  All those villagers in black look like they’d be the ones warning the newcomers in town (whose coach has broken down, of course) that they shouldn’t be in the village after sunset.  Sorleyson does look suitably melancholy, but then again, he pretty much always looked melancholy.   As I recall, he was a winner as far as his Misery Level, compared with Mr. Malahide’s other clergymen characters.

RF’s Picks:

It was a dark and stormy night...

It was a dark and stormy night…

What’s Going On in This Picture?

It’s from the S06E02 episode of “Game of Thrones“, titled “Home“.  Balon Greyjoy is crossing a windswept, rain-slicked bridge between the towers of Pyke during a heavy storm when he sees a mysterious, hooded figure at the other end of the bridge.  There isn’t exactly room for the two of them to squeeze past each other, so Balon peremptorily orders the inconsiderate boob to “Move aside for your king!”  Unfortunately for Balon, it turns out that the boob in question is his estranged brother Euron (Pilou Asbæk), who was exiled from Pyke for conduct that not even the Ironborn could countenance.   Euron has returned to usurp the throne of Pyke by getting rid of Balon by any means necessary.

Why Is This One a Favourite?

It’s just so gosh-darned atmospheric.   The bridge, the lighting, and the pouring rain and wind, and the precariousness of the situation all contribute to the feeling of anxiety and dread that the showdown between Balon and Euron is finally happening.  It’s also our first glimpse of Euron and he did a good job of looking all mysterious and foreboding with his hood hiding his features.  Of course, the situation doesn’t frighten Balon at all; he’s probably used to standing on slippery ship decks in driving rainstorms in high seas, so he’s mostly irritated that someone’s blocking his way.  I do have to give Mr. Malahide and Mr. Asbæk credit for filming under such difficult conditions, and for producing such a great scene as a result.   It’s just too bad that Euron turned out to be something of a bust as a villain as the series moved towards its conclusion.

Admin:  You can practically feel the wet and the cold just by looking at that photo, and it does give one a strange sense of vertigo to boot.  It is definitively not a night to be out crossing rickety, old rope bridges.  If only a giant kraken had emerged from the depths and took Euron up in its tentacles dragging him to a terrible death.  That would have been so much better.

A nice cup of tea with a kindly grandfather.

A nice cup of tea with a kindly grandfather.

What’s Going On in This Picture?

It’s from S01E07 of “Hunted“, titled “Khyber”.  Sam Hunter (Melissa George), an operative for the  shadowy Byzantium organization, has been working undercover as a nanny for crimelord Jack Turner’s (Mr. Malahide) grandson, Eddie.   Her real purpose is to gather information on Jack and a deal he’s finalizing to buy a dam in Pakistan (long story).  Sam thinks she’s successfully kept her true identity under wraps, using the alias “Alex Kent”, but it turns out that Jack has known she’s been up to something the entire time.  Jack has just invited her into his office for a nice, friendly cup of tea to discuss things.  Just prior to Jack making the tea, we got an underlined-twice glimpse of a drug bottle in his desk.  What could possibly happen next??

Why Is This One a Favourite?

I like this picture because it’s just about the most sinister tea service one could ever imagine.  😀  Everything from Jack’s “friendly” smile to the slight underlighting screams “GET OUT!!” but Sam, as “Miss Kent”, is blissfully unaware that anything could be wrong – which really makes me doubt her skills as a supposed espionage operative.  I mean, just look at him!  Would you take a cup of tea from that man??  All it really needs is a vapour-y skull and crossbones rising from the teacup to complete the picture.  So, I have to give the “Hunted” cinematographer credit for making Mr. Malahide look incredibly creepy here – perhaps a little too creepy.  Showing the bottle of drugs in his desk was a bit on the nose.  But still, like George Cornelius above, Jack lends himself extremely well to Halloween themes.  😉

Admin:  Yep, that just screams poison.  That’s right, some skull and crossbones vapor or a disintegrating teaspoon would be about the only ways to hit the point home any more clearly.  I’m surprised there isn’t a can of Rat-away on his desk 😀  And I love his expression of gentle tolerance.  It reminds us that Jack is a patient one.

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