I went to the cinema to watch Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of ‘Little Women’. Thought it was a lot of old tosh. It wasn’t a total surprise that I didn’t enjoy the film as I could never get on with the book (by Louisa May Alcott) however, I found the film confusing and hard to follow; the timeline kept switching around and the only way to try to place a scene was to look at Jo’s hairstyle. One of my friends, who was not familiar with the story at all, spent the first hour trying to work out who was who and what on earth was going on.
I don’t know if the ending was true to the book as, despite a couple of attempts, I have never been able to get past Chapter 3. I did once watch the 1994 film version but the recording cut out before the end!
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I don’t know why James Norton accepted the minimal role of John Brooke in the film (apart from money of course). Maybe he was bored out of his brain with his role in the tediously plodding TV drama ‘Grantchester’ – which, coincidentally I’m sure, bears considerable similarities to the ‘Father Brown’ TV series. The Father Brown books by GK Chesterton were written between 1910 and 1936 but for some reason the TV series is set in the 1950s which increases the similarities to Grantchester. I’ve never read a Grantchester book and can’t remember reading a Father Brown book (although I have in the dim and distant past) so I’m only judging the TV series but both are predictable and like watching paint dry. In fact watching paint dry is marginally more exciting. Having first seen James Norton’s gripping performance in the TV drama ‘Happy Valley’ it’s disappointing to see him in such mundane roles.
BBC – Get a Grip
The other night I watched a pitiful programme called ‘The Going Wrong Show’ written and acted by ‘The Mischief Theatre Company’. It was supposed to be a comedy apparently. It was one of the most pathetic attempts at comedy I have ever seen. I have watched ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ and ‘A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong’ in previous years which were mildly amusing but the whole concept is lost as in ‘The Going Wrong Show’ they are acting in a TV show rather than giving a live theatre performance. It was appalling. Truly appalling.
To think the BBC cancelled the excellent, if niche, ‘Count Arthur Strong‘ and replaced it with a programme of this calibre is unbelievable. Or, following hard on the heels of the disastrous adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol‘, perhaps it’s sadly believable.
Another appalling BBC broadcast was the syrupy self-indulgent, ‘Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration’ which marked ten years since the programme started. (I think that was the point of it although I don’t think there have been any episodes made since 2015.) A revolting exhibition of ‘we’re such talented and amazing luvvies we really can’t get over ourselves’. It even filled in a bit of time showing a range of desperate ‘celebrities’ saying ‘Happy Birthday, Miranda’ one after another. Can ‘entertainment’ sink much further?
One of the few programmes I enjoyed over Christmas was ITV’s ‘Quizmasters’ which pitted TV quiz winners against each other. I was rather proud of the fact that I answered more questions correctly on the subject of ‘diseases’ than Pat from Eggheads. Sadly, I think this proves, not that I have a superior intellect to him, but that I spend more time googling my illnesses. Unfortunately my Freeview reception cut out on the last three questions owing to the atmospheric conditions so I didn’t even see who won (although I’ve since found out it was Pat).
I also enjoyed ‘Clive James Postcard from Sydney’ which was shown as a tribute to the satiric writer and broadcaster who recently died. Although the programme has dated rather, as it was made in 1991, it was both funny and enjoyable and has made me want to dig out my old copies of Clive James’ memoirs.
Let’s hope the new season of TV shows more promise than the Christmas viewing.
PS. When I was at the cinema I saw a trailer for the upcoming film, ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’. Not sure I can cope with retelling Dickens completely for laughs but I might give it a go!