Favouritest Grabs Ever – Fourth Edition

It’s been a while, so Admin and I thought we’d do another edition of our Favouritest Grabs Ever, the first for 2016.  As usual, we are featuring grabs we thought were especially appealing, interesting, or entertaining, and why.

RF’s Picks:

Ablutions at Troy's and a rare moment of acute embarrassment Favouritest Grabs Ever

Ablutions at Troy’s and a rare moment of acute embarrassment

What’s Going On in This Picture?

RF:  It’s from the S02E01 episode of the “Inspector Alleyn Mysteries“, “Death in a White Tie” (1993).  Chief Inspector Alleyn (Mr. Malahide) has been under an unusual amount of strain in this episode. His good friend Lord Robert Gospell, fondly known as “Bunchie” (Harold Innocent) has been murdered by person(s) unknown, while Bunchie was actually undercover for Alleyn to investigate a number of high-profile blackmail cases.  So Alleyn feels responsible for his death and has been especially driven to catch the killer, leading to some uncharacteristic behaviour, like going about not shaving or eating, and rowing with Agatha Troy (Belinda Lang) over her possible romantic entanglement with one of the suspects, lounge lizard/ladies’ man Captain Maurice Withers (John Bowe).  Of course, Troy has far better taste than that – I mean, c’mon, she’s dating Alleyn – and realizing he’s behaved badly, Alleyn popped by her flat the previous evening to apologize for his previous conduct.  However, he’s been driving himself so hard that he conks out (quite attractively) on Troy’s couch mid-apology and sleeps there all night.  He’s still just a bit (okay, a lot) discombobulated when he awakes the next morning.  He borrows Troy’s bathroom for some ablutions to try to get himself back into order, but becomes even more discombobulated when Troy tells him he has a phone call from Inspector Fox (William Simons), who’s tracked him down at Troy’s flat.  It’s one of our favourite scenes here at the Appreciation, and this is one of our all-time favourite grabs.  😉

Why is This One a Favourite?

RF:  I love everything about this grab, from Alleyn’s uncharacteristically mussed appearance (he should really wear open-necked shirts more often) and attractive stubble, to his faintly worried and/or embarrassed expression at being caught by Fox at Troy’s, when it appears he’s already feeling a bit vulnerable.  He woke up late (hey, he was tired!) on a strange woman’s couch (yes, they’re dating, but still) and still hasn’t gotten his composure back (an important thing for Alleyn) when Fox calls, throwing him into even more discombobulation.  Plus he’s also worried about what Troy’s reaction will be to all this.  Luckily, he needn’t have concerned himself on that score; she seems to take the whole situation in stride a lot better than he does.  Also, the lighting in this scene is just perfect.  The “Inspector Alleyn” cinematographers always did an outstanding job, but I particularly like the mix of light and shadow, and the effect of light on the stained glass panes of Troy’s bathroom door.

Admin:  The lighting is indeed fantastic.  The light jewel tones of the privacy glass are incredibly beautiful and provide the perfect frame for Alleyn.  And I especially love those suspenders.  They really flatter those nice shoulders of his.  The expression is great, you can tell he is absolutely prepared for an ugly reaction, but thankfully Troy is very smart and understanding, so he has nothing to worry about.

RF:  Agreed that the suspenders were very nice and flattering on him; it was nice to see Alleyn in a more relaxed form of dress.  And Troy even made him toast and coffee, so she couldn’t have been all that mad.  😉

D.S. Chisholm packs for a trip on the Orient Express

D.S. Chisholm packs for a trip on the Orient Express

What’s Going On in This Picture?

RF:  It’s from “Minder on the Orient Express” (1985), a feature-length Christmas special in the “Minder” series.  Interpol is investigating some baddies who are taking the famous Orient Express from London to Venice and have asked the Metropolitan Police for help.  Remarkably, D.S. Chisholm (Mr. Malahide) is the only detective sergeant with an up-to-date passport.  So he’s (reluctantly) selected by his boss to go along on the trip in what’s supposed to be a purely observational role,  to D.S. Rycott’s (Peter Childs) unending jealousy .  If it all works out, partnering with Interpol could be a massive boost for Chisholm’s career.  What could possibly go wrong??  😉

Why is This One a Favourite?

RF:  This grab is just such a source of unending delight.  😀  It confirms everything one might have suspected about Chisholm’s home life:  the tiny bedroom, hideous decor unchanged since the early Seventies, single bed (no way is he a married man), and tiny chest of drawers all fit with a man who’s so married to his job he has very little personal life and is hardly ever home.  And even when he is home, he probably doesn’t notice his surroundings much.  The exercise bike is just a lovely bit of added hilarity; does our D.S. perhaps have a lot of sublimated energy to burn off?  😉  It’s the only real personal item in the whole room.  And it looks like nearly all of his belongings fit into one suitcase.  Poor Chisholm!  🙂  I also love the way Mr. Malahide’s body posture perfectly suggests Chisholm’s nervousness over trying something far out of his comfort zone (you can see, just from this one grab, that despite having a valid passport, he’s not an experienced international traveller), yet he’s a bit excited and hopeful, too.  He seems to be wondering if he’s packed everything.  He even practices a useful French phrase to himself:  “Je suis un gendarme Anglias.”  Maybe he’ll get to try it out on some French mademoiselles!  😉

Admin:  That is such a tiny bed.  I wonder if his feet stick out at the end. 🙂  He does look very nervous, just like he’s convinced that he’s going to forget something incredibly important.  (Spoiler: Like formal evening wear, perhaps?)  It is very fitting to see Chisholm in such a Spartan room.  He clearly is not man of frippery or creature comforts….or hardly any comfort for that matter.

RF:  No one told him there was a dress code for the Orient Express, so he’s hardly to blame.  Mind you, no one told him what a useful per diem might be, either.  But he did learn a lot about green drinks and Interpol agents.  😉

Admin:  He really should have read the Christie novel then maybe he’d have had an inkling.

Admin’s Picks:

This is how you make a funny: Fisher: “I was a little worried that your police would capture you before I did, but your skilled survival technique has saved you.” He obviously had a bird's-eye view of Hannay rolling down the Scottish Hills. :-D

Prof Fisher: Elegance personified in the form of a German operative.

What’s Going On in This Picture?

Admin:  This is from the immensely enjoyable BBC production of 39 Steps.   Patrick Malahide portrays Prof. Fisher, who turns out to be a German spy in the days leading up to WWI.  He’s hanging out in a Scottish castle, as spies often do, and has just captured our heroes Richard Hannay and Victoria Sinclair.  Gosh!  I hope they can escape his evil, but elegant, clutches!

Why is This One a Favourite?

Admin:  I love this one because of the contrast.  Here is a rather hardcore German operative who is willing (albeit unhappily so) to have Victoria’s fingernails pulled out one-by-one.  Yet, he looks exactly like he could be Lord  (Laird?) of the castle he inhabits.  His Norfolk hunting jacket is incredibly flattering, and he really looks like he was born to wear it.  He could be the perfect model for early 20th century British and/or Scottish menswear illustrations.  And look how he holds his blue willow creamer (undoubtedly worth quite a lot) as he calmly discusses such unpleasant things.  It is a very handsome and elegant grab, dripping with unseen menace.

RF:  Fisher fits into his surroundings very well; agreed that he looks as if he’s been lord of his castle for decades.  And despite the fact he’s ordering Victoria to be tortured if Hannay doesn’t comply, he maintains his exquisite manners throughout; he’s very charming for a master spy.  Not that he’s going to let such business stop him from having his afternoon tea, of course.  Really, it’s rather rude of Hannay to interrupt him.  😉  I also liked his well-tailored wardrobe.  Fisher appears to have had no problems fitting into the community as a well-respected man of learning; even next-door neighbour Victoria [Spoiler:  also a spy herself] completely failed to recognize he was up to anything nefarious.

Admin:  Guess she wasn’t such a hot spy after all. 😉  Nah, I can’t blame her for being fooled.  She probably had a secret crush on him too before it all went wrong. 😉

Grabbing the last piece of cake

Grabbing the last piece of cake

What’s Going On in This Picture?

Admin:  This is from The Franchise Affair.  Patrick Malahide plays the hero this time.  His character Robert Blair has just come home after a long day to see the local police sergeant paying a visit.  The officer has a penchant for cake, something Robert also seems to enjoy, and very nearly takes the last piece.  Fortunately, Robert is quicker off the mark and defiantly grabs the plate first.   He’s not in a sharing mood.

Why is This One a Favourite?

Admin:  I like it because it is both cute and funny.  He’s receiving some information concerning a case in which he has become emotionally invested, hence his curious expression.  Similar to the 39 Steps picture, the fluffy white cake is a contrast to the very serious case he is handling.  Plus, he just looks so darn cute.  His character, lawyer Robert Blair, reminds me of a sort of provincial Alleyn type.  He’s just as intelligent, determined, brave and attractive as Alleyn, but lacks his privilege and confidence.  I think this picture shows how Blair is more rustic and homespun than Alleyn, but it is all in a very nice way.  He lives with his beloved aunt, so the decor is very “English cottage” and looks very cozy indeed.  Notice how his necktie looks like it is trying to escape?  It is all decidedly charming, and helps illustrate the lovely Robert Blair.

RF:  This was a very cute moment.  I love Blair’s faintly naughty expression, like he’s expecting to be scolded for taking the last piece of cake, yet you know he won’t relinquish it.  That’s his cake, and it was past the five second rule!!  😉  One also suspects that his aunt has been spoiling him a bit in keeping house for him, so (1) he’s used to having desserts, and (2) there’s something just a bit “teenage” about his expression, although we know he’s had a Royal Air Force career and is currently working as a lawyer.  Perhaps the grab also highlights the fact that the Franchise case is far beyond anything Blair has ever worked on before, and he’s feeling just a bit out of his depth.  I also like his suit, which wasn’t anywhere near as fancy as Alleyn’s usual wear, even if his tie is trying to escape.

Admin:  Blair has a handsome wardrobe.  No, not as fancy as Alleyn’s, but still very attractive and well suited for him.  I think you’re right; he is used to being a bit spoiled by his aunt.   His character was hankering for some of the excitement he experienced during the war, but at the same time he is very homey.  That contrast comes across in the grab.

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