Monday, April 10, 2006


fat, sweaty, not a copper

Okay. Managed to see four episodes of the acclaimed drama, Life On Mars (the acclaimed BBC drama). What a treat for you: a review of a series which was reviewed by everyone else in January. Woopy do.

As mentioned previously, the first episode was wiped due to Sky Plus failure. Saw the second with the husband, who decided he didn't like it after about 10 minutes. I can always tell when he wants to give up on a programme because I can see him looking across at me every few seconds from the corner of my eye.

I suggested we carried on watching for the rest of that episode. Which of course provoked the following response afterwards:

"I only have a few hours a week to relax and you made me give up ONE HOUR of my time to watch that rubbish, and I knew I wouldn't like it from the start".

So I watched the next 3 episodes by myself, because it's "an acclaimed BBC drama" and I like to give things a chance.

Oh, it's fairly entertaining in its own way. The central character, DI Sam Tyler, is in a coma and may or may not have travelled back through time to 1973. I still haven't decided if he really has gone back to 1973, or in his coma is acting out a perceived notion of what it would have been like from watching nostalgia programmes and reading about the era if you're too young to remember much about it. He would have been 4 years old then.

The husband pointed out that the 1973 police had obviously been influenced by The Sweeney (the acclaimed 1970's "hardhitting drama" (tabloid-style cliche) that I was never allowed to watch at the time).

"All the cops used to do on that was punch people up every so often."

All the references to How Different We Were Then get a bit tiring. We're lead to believe that the 1970's were the Dark Ages.

The police seem pretty clueless, and lack the advantages brought about by ADVANCES IN FORENSIC SCIENCE (the latter fact is laid on with a trowel in each episode). Not only that, but a lot of the policemen live up to the racist/sexist/homophobic stereotype compared to our enlightened noughties cop, who's constantly chastising them and is sensitive and caring and wants to prepare food using olive oil instead of lard and encourages his colleagues to "think outside the box". ("LOL", as modern people say). Blimey! Times really have changed and we're all so much more caring and egalitarian these days, aren't we? Well, of course we are, even if the expressions "it's political correctness gone mad!" and "I'm not a racist, but ..." weren't in use in those days.

In the most recent episode I watched, "hardman DCI Hunt" (tabloid-style cliche) was heard to remark that there'd never be a woman Prime Minister in his lifetime (his description was a bit more graphic but this is a blog read by very nicely brought up people, so ...). It reminded me of watching one of those 1930's films set in 1910 where the maid speaks to the lady of the house:

"Modom, your new gentleman friend's waiting outside to see you. He's in one of those new fangled automobile contraptions. If you want my opinion, they'll never catch on."

We are all supposed to roll our eyes and smile to ourselves, safe with the benefit of hindsight. If we're dead easily amused, that is.

One of the worst things is that the WPC has exactly the same hairstyle as me when I was about 13 years old. Slightly greasy flyaway curls (shade: Lifeless Mid Brown). You have to spend about 20 minutes struggling with curling tongs to look that crap. At least that bit was authentically '70's.

I'll carry on watching I suppose.

There's still Green Wing, too.

Does this mean you're immune to the charms of the boy Simm, Betty?

I liked the hostage episode the best, but the other Norf London Bloggers (TM) thought that was the worst one.

Agree with you on the laid-on-with-a-trowel references to advances in policing/forensic science/culture/just about anything else. But it was all worth it for me for the loveliness (not in *that* way, mind) of John Simm. Stick with it, although the final ep is just slightly disappointing.
I enjoyed it even though there were flaws. I found it "entertaining", which is probably what the writers had in mind. Agree with you about the hairstyle. Very evocative.
Sad thing is - they had tons of choices for location shots in and around beswick and ardwick.
Kev, who hardly watches any telly thought it was great. It wasn´t for me - even though I lurve John Simm. The landlord from Early Doors is in one of the episodes - so that was good.
Would've preferred the coppers from Early Doors to get their own series.
Patroclus - No, John Simm just doesn't appeal to me, but then I'm probably having loads of hormonal fluctuations because of my age. He just isn't haggard looking enough.

The hostage taking episode is up next on Wednesday night.

Richard - I still have issues about a number of hairstyles inflicted on my in the 1970's. I might end up having to do a post about it just to reach "closure".

MB - what, there are parts of Manchester where there isn't a Starbucks yet?

Kaz - Yeah, there was something not quite convincing about the episode with the bloke from Early Doors, what with the twist in the plot at the end.

Geoff - agreed, they should get a spin off from the series as should the landlord's mum with the asthma inhaler.
What's "Early Doors"? I thought it was something Harry Redknapp said a lot. Is it something on BBC 9?
I like Gene Hunt, the DCI. Bet Simm's pissed off that he's playing the lead, but the ugly bloke gets all the best lines.

Gene Hunt is a brilliant creation, and he just gets better, while Simm more or less stays the same sort of cute-lost-boy throughout. But the - ahem - dynamic between them is great.

Oh god, I can't believe I said that.
Richard - it's a comedy set in a pub which shines like a jewel among the dire 9.30 on a Monday night "comedy" slot on BBC2. Or at least it has in the past.

Tim - I looked at some opinions on the BBC's site and one viewer thought that Gene Hunt would turn out to be Sam Tyler's dad in the end (the fact that they have different surnames obviously didn't put them off that idea).

Patroclus - are they supposed to be the yin and the yang or summat?
It's that one with Craig Cash in, innit. I've seen it once or twice and yes, it's not bad. But most stuff written by Craig Cash is pretty good.

I like Gene too. Top character and some great lines. And of course, I'm a bloke so that starchy WPC's uniform...er...OK.
I like John Simm in *that* way.

THe dippy policewoman's wispy voice annoyed me though.
Just recently caught a couple of episodes as it had passed me by, so your perspective is most timely... It's almost as if...you knew... (Del you're in a coma, which explains why noone rings you any more.)

It's all quite nice diverting fun. Yes, it's a bit simplistic in places, but it is a primetime drama, after all. It's never going to be Brass Eye. It certainly beats Rosemary and Tyme. And you can't blame the writers for wanting to remake the Sweeney. You slag. And I quite fancy the female policewoman, wispy voice or not. And if I absolutely had to, Simm would be on the list too. Good soundtrack too.
John Simm keeps punching people, they fall over, and he blows on his knuckles.

The whole things light, there's no point analysing it.

I want one of those bronze Ford Cortinas, I would pull no trouble.
Spinsterella - the policewoman is supposed to be extremely intellingent, and according to the BBC site it's almost as if she's from the future too and realises that the sexist men will be proved wrong in the end. What a load of gibberish.

Del - Hey, nothing beats Rosemary and Tyme. Surely, Felicity Kendal ahead of John Simm?

Garfer - my uncle used to have a bronze Ford Cortina, and I don't think he ever pulled. Mind you, he was married with two children and had incredibly sweaty feet.
Bronze Cortinas rule...

We had a beige Ford Corsair, though.

Still, loads better than most 'modern' cars. Will we be saying that about contempo car designs in 30 yrs time? I think not.
Our friends had a bronze Cortina Estate.

Hey, I've got a genuine 1973 Tarby one-liner:

That WPC could take down my particulars any day...
Kek-w - cars from that era tended to have more individuality, which is probably why they're regarded with such affection. These days there's loads of choice but most cars look the same, which is why they're unlikely to end up being considered design classics ... not that I know what I'm talking about.

Richard - bronze Cortina or not, that double entrendre definitely dates back to the Bronze Age.
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