Favouritest Grabs Ever – Seventh Edition

Fearless Admin and I are back with another set of our Favouritest Grabs Ever!  As usual, these are grabs of Mr. Malahide’s work that we found particularly entertaining, appealing, amusing, or just plain interesting, and why.

RF’s Picks:

Mark Binney lights up a cigar in the most stylish way possible Favouritest Grabs Ever - Seventh Edition

Mark Binney lights up a cigar in the most stylish way possible

What’s Going On in This Picture?

RF:  It’s from “Singing Detective’s” second episode, “Heat” (1986), and all I can say is… *whoah*!  😮  War profiteer, likely traitor and spy, and all-around Bad Dude to Know™ Mark Binney (Mr. Malahide) invites Russian prostitute Sonia (Kate McKenzie) back to his flat for sex.  The encounter seems to be more about Binney’s ego and insecurity than anything else, since he watches himself in the mirror the entire time with an air of disgusted fascination.  Once finished, Binney gets out of bed still mostly clothed, smooths his hair – you can see him resuming his usual personality after losing a bit of control during sex – and lights up a cigar in the most stylish, hottest way possible (no pun intended!) in front of his perfectly film-noir, venetian-blinded window.

Why Is This One a Favourite?

RF:  Just look at it!  😀  Yes, Binney is mad, bad, and dangerous to know, but he’s decidedly gorgeous for all of that.  I can’t remember ever seeing someone light up a cigar so attractively before.  That and every thing about the scene perfectly suggests a film noir – probably a much better one than Marlow (Michael Gambon) is supposed to have written.  Everything about the scene  is perfect, from Binney’s clothes, to the lighting, to the glow from the flame of his match, which suggests an air of menace.  I also thought that the fact Binney had sex while clothed was an interesting reference to Marlow’s severe psoriasis, since Marlow (and indeed, author Dennis Potter himself) was so concerned about his skin’s appearance he would rarely allow himself to be fully unclothed.  So, the scene (and this grab) is both strikingly filmed and provides an insight into Binney’s character and the series itself.

Admin: I really like the combination of smoke and flame.  Binney often has a demonic aura about him and the smoke and fire combo add to it.  He looks like he’s paying a great deal of attention too, suggesting he likes the intimidating quality the flame exudes.  You can certainly see him working with winning effect to regain his self-control and poise in this grab.  And yes, he looks pretty darn gorgeous indeed.

RF:  It’s just too bad he turns out to be such a bad ‘un.  A noir/espionage caper featuring Binney as a sort of anti-hero, mostly concerned with his own profit, could’ve been very entertaining.

Admin:  When watching The Singing Detective, I sometimes found myself kind of wishing the whole thing could be the pulp story.  Your chosen grab encapsulates why I felt that way.

Sir John Conroy enjoying the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed. Patrick Malahide as Sir John Conroy: Victoria & Albert

Sir John Conroy enjoying the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed.

What’s Going On in This Picture?

RF:  This one also involves a cigar, but I swear it’s just a coincidence!  😉  It’s from episode 1 of the “Victoria and Albert” miniseries (2001).  Mr. Malahide plays Sir John Conroy, Household Comptroller to Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent (Penelope Wilton).  He’s used his position to assert a great deal of control over then-Princess Victoria’s (Victoria Hamilton) life, with the intent of giving himself a nice, cushy spot in the royal household (and a title, too) once Victoria’s uncle, King William IV, dies, leaving Victoria as Queen.  As this grab demonstrates, Sir John seems more than confident of being able to continue the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed.

Why Is This One a Favourite?

RF:  Sir John is an unrepentant scoundrel, and it shows.  😀  I love the fact that he’s so at ease with himself, and so smugly sure of the success of his machinations, that he’s comfortable kicking back with his feet up on the desk, smoking and reading a newspaper with some extremely good brandy nearby.  He’s the very picture of villainous confidence.  You get the impression he doesn’t stint on the good things in life, especially when they’re being paid for by someone else’s household funds.  Unlike Victoria, the Duchess seems entirely bewitched by Sir John and would likely have  a hard time denying him anything.

Admin:   Watch how you hold that paper, Conroy! 😉 He looks like an utter bully, and I suppose he was a bit in this production.  But he was also incredibly charismatic and charming, to the Duchess at least, and you can really see why she was enthralled by the man.   Everything about him exudes masculinity and supreme confidence.  Conroy fancies himself the ultimate “alpha-male”, essentially prepared to rule the monarchy, and that alpha quality comes across with an almost offensive determination in this grab.  Two thumbs (and a middle finger, ha-ha) up for this choice. 😉

RF:  Sir John was also a bad ‘un, but a highly entertaining one.  😀  I liked his attempts at matching wits with Baron Stockmar (David Suchet), even though he was horribly outgunned.  You’re right that he could be charismatic and charming when he wanted, though he mostly opted to bully Victoria – which he found out, to his cost, didn’t work quite as well once she became Queen.  But it’s okay, Victoria’s Mumsie still loved him.

Admin:  And you can hardly blame her.   🙂

Admin’s Picks:

Staking out the Vandervents’. Oh noooooo, he doesn’t look in the *least* suspicious.

What’s Going On in This Picture?

Admin:  It is from the first episode of “The Blackheath Poisonings”.  Robert Dangerfield has recently returned home from India and amidst money problems seeks to re-win the affections of a well-to-do Charlotte Vandervent, a woman he wooed and then abandoned years ago.  In this picture he is doing a little stake out while plotting how best to reunite with her.

Why Is This One a Favourite?

Admin:  The visual composition is perfect.  Dangerfield is partially obscured by a tree’s shade which gives him a mysterious and sinister ambiance.  The contrast between the shabbily dressed but clearly determined stranger and the comfortably beautiful scenery strongly suggests he has nefarious intentions.   It is glaringly obvious that he doesn’t fit in with his surroundings whatsoever, so we know his arrival is guaranteed to stir things up.  The “Blackheath Poisonings” is a weird Victorian mystery with gothic themes of murder, lust, greed and betrayal…all of which this attractively ominous image suggests.

It makes an effective title shot.

RF:  Speaking of unrepentant scoundrels…  😉  The lighting does indeed make Dangerfield look rather… well… dangerous.  At this point in the story we’re not sure what his motives are, but he does seem to be rather good at lurking.  I like the way Mr. Malahide’s face is mostly in shadow while his eyes appear to glint in the dark, making him look a bit unworldly.   Also, it’s dark enough that you can’t quite see how shabby Dangerfield’s clothes are, which gives us a clue as to why he’s seeking out Charlotte.

Admin:  As you can see, they used the lurking sequence for the title shot too, proving how effective it is.  It is very gothic and intriguing.

Patrick Malahide as DS Chisholm in Minder

“Try out your silver tongue with these bolshie strikers.”

What’s Going On in This Picture?

Admin:  This is from Minder: “Return of the Invincible Man“. DS Chisholm, who is enduring a rotten hangover, and DC Jones are investigating tailor Solly Salmon’s business after it has supposedly been robbed.  Of course, the robbery is all a set up for Solly to get the insurance money.  As they approach the establishment they spy Salmon’s employees who are engaged in a work strike.  Chisholm, who is getting a bit annoyed with his chipper and cheery sidekick sarcastically tells him to “go try out your silver tongue with these bolshie strikers.”  Bolshie strikers!  That phrase never fails to amuse me. 🙂

Why Is This One a Favourite?

Admin:  Mr. Malahide looks every bit like a freezing, hung over copper (you can always tell Chisholm is undeniably a cop) who would rather have  his teeth pulled out than admit to being hung over.  In his expression you can see him stubbornly with shoulders hunched mentally fight off the hangover while obviously freezing in the bitter cold.  Neither headache nor frigid temperatures will stop our hero from doing his job.  As with the Blackheath picture above, there is a stark contrast in the grab.  This time it is the difference between the brittle suffering sergeant and his chunkier, more comfortable and annoyingly jovial Welsh cohort who doesn’t seem to mind the cold in the least little bit.  Jones’ wool lined coat must do a better job of providing insulation than Chisholm’s thin mac, but Jones doesn’t even have to button his up.  How unfair!

RF:  From the moment Chisholm gets out of the car, you can tell he’s extremely hung over and having one of the worst mornings of his life.  😀  He looks miserably fragile, but as you say, he’d rather die than admit any of it to Jones, much less how he got that way.  Everything about his body posture and expression suggests suffering, but you also get the sense that he’ll endure it by whatever means necessary rather than complain.  Besides the “Bolshie strikers” line (which is wonderful), this is also the scene in which Chisholm declares himself to be a “twenty-four hour copper” who spent the previous evening studying his quarry at the Winchester, not going on a bender – despite all evidence to the contrary (spoiler:  Jones doesn’t believe him).  And yes, Jones does look insufferably warm and cheerful, which probably adds to Chisholm’s torment.  The poor man badly needs a cup of hot tea with four heaping sugars to feel more like himself again.

Admin:  If he weren’t so proud and stoic, he could have questioned the bolshies who in actuality were just a group of amiable enough women trying to get fair wages.  They  had a nice bin fire going at the time.  I’m sure they’d have found a cuppa for a handsome sergeant.  Oh hubris!

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