From being a couple who could usually say 'We really don't watch a lot of television,' and mean it, we've turned into a pair of 9pm pot-of-tea sofa sloths this autumn, and I blame the TV companies entirely for a rather gripping season of drama serials, with the promise of more to come in the New Year. When this happens my usual line is 'Worth every penny of the licence fee,' but we don't even pay that now that the Tinker lives under our roof, so it's all a bit of a bonanza of a treat right now. Should the day dawn when we have reliably mastered the new Freeview recording set-up, then life really will be a bowl of cherries and not a sea of disappointment when, on those rare occasions we might be out or busy, the programme decides not to record despite my best efforts at setting it up.
We probably need a four year old to show us what to do.
Anyway, I'll start with Mondays.. and with apologies because beyond these shores much of this might make little sense, though perhaps make a note to watch in case the series head your way.
Monday has been about easing us into the week's viewing gently and for doing that we must thank Posh People : Inside Tatler
Tatler is the oldest magazine in the world and has been reporting on the lives of Britain’s most privileged and powerful for 300 years. Tatler not only documents, but also dictates the social calendar of Britain’s elite. With an archive full of society’s movers and shakers being pictured in its pages it has long been a rite of passage for Britain’s ruling classes.
Lives so far removed from ours that we can only gaze on in amazement at what the upper crust get up to whilst the rest of us are trying to earn one. But I am impressed at the way the magazine staff seem...well...quite sensible and how they pitch the whole thing...it's not quite poking fun but it is most certainly flagging up the eccentricities laced with a good old-fashioned sense of fair play. I of course couldn't go and work for Tatler because I haven't been to boarding school which seems to be a pre-requisite to understanding the system, but I am hankering after a copy of the Debrett's book of Etiquette (always playfully called etty-kew-etty in our family vocab) which is given to each member of staff on joining. And can you believe it, having never picked up a copy in my life, there was the September 2014 Tatler nestled in amongst The Caravan Club monthly from two years ago at the doctor's surgery last week. I was straight to the Bystander pages, where the upper crust flaunt at the parties, in the hope that I could say in a loud voice with very clipped vowels 'Oh I know them, they came to ours for a shooting party last year,' but sadly 'twas not to be.
This light relief is really just bracing us for 9pm on Tuesday when, for the last heaven-knows how many weeks we have settled down to then be completely unsettled by The Missing...
Exploring the emotional fallout of a child's abduction not only on the family but on the wider community, this gripping relationship thriller is told over two time frames and two countries.
Utterly impossible to watch without thinking of that most recent of high-profile child abductions, as young Oliver Hughes is abducted from his father's side whilst the family are on holiday in France. If you did nothing but stare at James Nesbit's face you'd know something of the torture that the family of Madeleine McCann must have suffered, and as the action flips to and fro, from present to past and back again, we still await the final episode with bated breath and no sense of certainty about what may have happened.
Washed out and wasted, by Wednesday it is time for another laugh and we look no further than The
Apprentice for some cringeworthy television as the young hopefuls, pitching for a business partnership with Lord Sugar, are put through their paces. Slowly, week by week, another one or two are fired until we reach the zenith, which is not actually the final...no it is Interview Week and it is tonight.
Let nothing get in the way of me and the sofa at 9pm because it is wonderful television as the, by now, reasonably confident applicants are subjected to interrogation by some of the most fearsome interviewers on the planet. I'm sure Claude Littner is an absolute pussy cat really, but heck, when he stares at you with that practised look of shock, contempt and disdain...and then delivers his killer blows with the quietest of voices, well it's way worse than the Train Inspector, trust me. Our money is still on Mark the Aussie to win, but who knows what Claude might do to him in the interim.
Right, onto Thursday, the dent in the sofa is becoming a permanent feature, and now we really do need full emotional armour in place because it is Gillian Anderson in Series Two of The Fall.
Now I know this one has been a bit controversial. Plenty of people suggesting it is far too near the mark, too violent and too suggestive, as serial killer Paul Spector wreaks havoc amongst the dark-haired business women of Belfast, but there is so much more going on here. This is about obsession and control and emotional turmoil for all concerned, as well as highlighting the risks that the police have to take, both personal and professional, in order to trap their perpetrator, and Gillian Anderson is just superb....not a mumbled line in it, an incredibly powerful and often harrowing performance. Of course this is Series Two, and having missed Series One we quite thought we'd get the gist. Well we did, but only enough to make us realise that we needed and wanted to watch Series One, cue about two days of intermittent day time sofa-slothing (the sheer decadence of it) as we caught up.
By Friday we are done in and quite relieved that there doesn't seem to be anything else that we want to watch.
And I haven't even started on what we have to look forward to in 2015...Broadchurch (January 5th) Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and wait for it...
With apologies for shouting but I am beside myself with anticipation, especially since Hilary Mantel herself has quelled our nerves at the prospect of any dumbing down by announcing that, having seen the first episode, it has exceeded her expectations and confirming her confidence in the production team from the off...
Kosminsky said directing Wolf Hall had been one his most daunting projects. “What was so wonderful and liberating was when I met Hilary and she said, ‘If I can give you one piece of advice it’s to remember that these characters do not know that they are in history,’” he recalled. “For them, this is real life. Henry doesn’t know he is going to have six wives, Anne doesn’t know her end. As far as they are concerned, if they make one decision their life goes that way and if they make another decision their life goes in a completely different direction, as it is for us. And that was what we all tried to do, get that feeling – in the shooting style, in the way the costumes worked – that we were making this exactly as if we were shooting a drama today.”
With The Mirror and the Light also due for publication (hopefully) I think we can truly declare 2015 The Year of Our 'ilary and the dent in our sofa likely to remain for some time.
Meanwhile, we can't have been the only people in the country watching these latest autumn series... what's your verdict...