So, it’s 2016! How did that happen? I took a little break over Christmas and New Year to spend time with friends and family so this is the first official Vintage Notebook Post of the New Year! How very exciting. I hope you all had a fabulous time with your loved ones and ate your bodyweight in Quality Streets. I started to write a fairly standard and if I may say, entirely predictable review of 2015 and then I realised that for one reason or another 2015 was a massive dick to lots of people I care about, myself included and I decided not to spend any more time thinking about it because I’ve paid it quite enough attention thank you very much. So, let’s look forward instead of back. What better way to get over the post holidays slump than cosying up with a bit of January TV (also we’re all broke and nothing happens during January in London anyway).
I thought that the recent Christmas TV offerings were the best for several years, with And Then There Were None a particularly strong contribution, being as it was more Shutter Island than Agatha Christie. New Year’s Day Sherlock was also pretty good if a little silly towards the end. The unwaking realties device reminded me very much of one of the short stories from the Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Moriarty that I reviewed last month, where (SPOLIER ALERT) Moriarty slows time while falling over the Reichenbach Falls and so lives for thirty years in his mind before he hits the rocks. SO good. I even quite enjoyed Call the Midwife which I’ve never watched in my life before because I hate babies and nuns. I’m kidding. I love nuns really.
But that was then, what now? Well fear not, because even though it may be time to recycle the Christmas bumper edition Radio Times there is still lots of lovely historical/period Tv on our screens throughout January.
The first episode for some of these have already aired over the New Year weekend but hey, we live in a catch up world these days, so hunker down and get ready to be transported.
♦ First up is Endeavour (ITV), aka young hottie Morse who stomps around 1960’s Oxford bedecked in a natty line of retro menswear, accessorised with a furrowed brow and grimly determined denial of personal pleasure beyond the odd pint all in the name of duty. The cars and the costumes all look great, although production probably saved a few quid in the sets seeing as how Oxford has looked exactly the same since 1460.
♦ Dickensian (BBC). You may have caught the beginning of this epic twenty-five part Dickens mash-up from the BBC over Christmas, but if not fear not because they are all on the IPlayer and you’ve got ages to catch up! Dickensian is co-written by EastEnders ‘elder statesman’ Tony Jordan and much like the beloved Walford based soap, follows the complicated and intertwined lives of a large ensemble cast of characters within a small area of London. Except this bunch are a bit more bonnets and fob watches rather than bomber jackets and ermm, wristwatches. Long story short, Jacob Marley has been bumped ‘orf and newly minted Inspector Bucket is hot on the heels of his murderer. The Cratchetts are trying to make the best of life as ever, Mrs Gamp is on the make and Miss Haversham is being set up for her enviable heartbreak by the dastardly Compyseon, played by Tom Weston-Jones of Copper fame (who frankly I’d spend the rest of my life wearing a wedding dress and cobwebs for but that’s neither here nor there). It’s big, it’s ambitious and pretty much everyone in Dickensland is either wholly unlikeable or sickenly good, what’s not to like? Which is lucky because it will pretty much take us round to next Christmas at this rate.
♦ War and Peace (BBC). The book that no-one has ever finished because it’s so bloody long has now been made into a big ol’ BBC drama! So we never need worry about reading it again! I have watched the first episode and basically it is perfect January TV viewing pleasure.
♦ Deutschland (Channel 4) is a must watch for anyone interested in Cold War history. It follows a young East German border guard as he is coerced into a life as a spy on the other side of the wall. It’s got 80’s fashions galore and a killer soundtrack (applicants must like 99 Red Balloons).
♦ Taking it really old school now with Beowulf (ITV) which howled on to our screens on Sunday. There are rugged men and monsters and allsorts. Well we’ve got to fill the time while we wait for Game of Thrones to come back. I’m kidding! It’s the oldest long English language poem in the world dontcha’ know? Have some respect.
♦ Mr Selfridge season 4 hoorays back to ITV on the 8th. Truth be told I’ve never really got into this series, but I feel I should because it seems to have stolen everybody’s heart and has some lovely frocks.
♦ Another season 4 coming to our small screens on the 15th is Ripper Street, which Amazon picked up after the it was dropped from ITV. Love it or hate it (I’m 50/50 in that I love some bits and hate others). It’s back and full of Victorian glamour and mystery and yeah, I’ll probably watch it for the smart hats.
♦ Finally if you are in the mood for some historical Northern realness, Jericho gets biblical on all of our asses. It’s not really Old Testament historical, it’s set in 1870’s Yorkshire and dramatises a band of outcasts and misfits as they attempt to build a viaduct. Sounds a dull as weak Yorkshire tea I know, but it boasts Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife, Partners in Crime) as one of the leads and for that alone it’s worth a punt.
So, everyone sorted for the month? Good, now you get the duvet, I’ll stick the kettle on.