Monday, May 27, 2013


This was the peroration for the previous Blog but somehow got left off
…but if you believe in a divinity, women as well as men are as God has made them and this fearful practice born no doubt and carried on through ignorant superstition is an abomination. Even if you don’t believe in a divinity it is almost impossible to believe human beings can inflict torture in this way. Tradition!
There are attempts to have it stopped but it would seem to be world-wide and appears to be a losing battle. Perhaps, just perhaps, hopefully it will be the mothers themselves, finally defying tradition, who save their daughters from this awful experience.
Have just spent the best part of a week’s evenings totally absorbed in  what I think is one of the most marvellous productions we have ever seen on the box – CRANFORD – and I  would be quite happy to sit through it all again right now, including the extras. In this quiet backwater in Cheshire with the majority of characters townswomen this is to all intents and purposes a ladies’ subject and they bring it off brilliantly: created by Sue Birtwistle who also produced and Susie Conklin and written by Heidi Thomas what can I say? Talk about suspension of disbelief, this is a six hankie job and all six of mine were sopping by the end and I’m not ashamed to admit it. The amazing thing, such is the power of the writing, that it was usually small things and not necessarily great drama that set the tears flowing. And of course there were moments of wonderful; humour.
I didn’t see it when first broadcast and would never have thought of getting the DVDs, it was our Douglas who ordered it out of the blue and as a complete surprise. ‘Cranford’ was one of my set books at school but obviously as a schoolboy I didn’t appreciate Mrs Gaskell’s writing and I don’t think I would want to read it again now. For once I feel sure the screen is better than the book. If there are flaws I didn’t notice them. I wouldn’t have wanted to notice them. To me everything; acting, directing, (Simon Curtis), costumes, settings, props, locations, was sheer perfection. Such meticulous care taken to get everything right and as for the cast! The top of the cream of British talent with the wondrous Judy Dench as Miss Matty and oh what a collection of wonderful women with her! Everyone, not to leave the men out of it, without exception gives a performance of total reality. Absorbing I suppose could be the word for it? Simply no one puts a foot wrong and it would be invidious to pick out a single one. There is an old saying that states you should never work with children and animals and even they in this piece gave performances, albeit not consciously, especially Mrs Forrester’s (Julia McKenzie in tip-top form) cow that came to an untimely end pertinent to the denouement. What more can I say? The Beeb has produced some wonderful period pieces over the years I have watched television – why I have even been in one or two myself - and this must surely rank with the very best. God alone and the accountants know what it cost but it is worth every penny spent. If you haven’t watched it, do so, you won’t regret it. Every drama student should watch it and learn what their future craft is all about.
As for me, at 82 I was taken out of mothballs to do a seven minute promotional film on Crete and saw a fine cut for the first time last week. Again it is something beautifully put together – well how could it not be considering the beauty of this island? And Theo Papadoulakis is a wonderful director; witness his 22 episodes of ‘The Island’ which unfortunately has not been dubbed or provided with sub-titles to be seen elsewhere which is a great pity, so hopefully our seven minute promo will encourage other film makers into using Crete for locations.

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