Foreign Countries #22: Miss Morison’s Ghosts (1981)

Have you seen The Mercy (2017)? The true story of hubris, pressure and the tragic pride of Donald Crowhurt's disastrous attempt to complete the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1968 that was made into an extremely dull film. The documentary Deep Water (1996) tells the same story in a far more effective way, using … Continue reading Foreign Countries #22: Miss Morison’s Ghosts (1981)

Crossing Miller’s: Re-evaluating Whistle and I’ll Come to You (2010)

I’ve previously talked about how any adaptation must serve the strengths of the medium ahead of a slavish retelling of the source text. But the elastic that connects Neil Cross’s adaptation to M.R. James’s most famous tale is stretched pretty much to breaking point. I was largely dismissive of this production upon initial broadcast; too … Continue reading Crossing Miller’s: Re-evaluating Whistle and I’ll Come to You (2010)

Foreign Countries Christmas Special: A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Dead Room (2018)

The latest effort in the on/off revival of the BBC's A Ghost Story for Christmas turns back to another original piece by Mark Gatiss. A slightly hammy, over-the-hill actor, Aubrey Judd (Simon Callow) reads ghost stories for the radio in the style of Appointment with Fear (1943-55) and its various successors. As he reads the … Continue reading Foreign Countries Christmas Special: A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Dead Room (2018)

Foreign Countries #21: Play for Today: Brimstone and Treacle (1976/1987)

The visitation drama has formed a lasting sub-genre in plays and it's not hard to see why, a stranger intruding in a home/family unit is both a simple and effective dramatic device. It is also straightforward and relatively cheap to stage. Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector (1836) and An Inspector Calls (1945) by JB Priestley … Continue reading Foreign Countries #21: Play for Today: Brimstone and Treacle (1976/1987)

Foreign Countries #20: West Country Tales: The Breakdown/The Beast (1982)

When I was ten, my parents moved us from urban Essex to rural Norfolk. I spent my adolescent years wishing I was as far away from this new county as I could get, lazily describing the reason for this as simple boredom. Nothing ever happened in a Norfolk village that would interest a proud urbanite … Continue reading Foreign Countries #20: West Country Tales: The Breakdown/The Beast (1982)

The Man from Another Place #5: Quatermass and the Pit (1958/9)

The BBC has decided that now is the moment to put an old TV series about negative outside influence, racism, uncomfortable truths, incompetent government, and large-scale social unrest on iPlayer. Never mind about genre, the BBC serial Quatermass and the Pit is one of the finest pieces of television ever made and you can watch … Continue reading The Man from Another Place #5: Quatermass and the Pit (1958/9)

Foreign Countries #19: The Mad Death (1983)

The great thing about trawling through old British telly is there’s always something new to discover. Some long forgotten programme you’ve been completely unware of.  The not so great thing about trawling through old British telly is there’s often a reason these programmes have been long forgotten. So when Simply Media announced the latest batch … Continue reading Foreign Countries #19: The Mad Death (1983)