|Are you looking forward to going Further Back In Time?|
If, like me, you enjoy retro-reality shows, you'll be pleased to note that it looks like the Back In Time programmes are going to continue; production company Wall To Wall is advertising for 'a fun, food-loving family to go further back in time', 'good young cooks' who are willing to 'experience working life for young women in the 20th century before the conveniences of modern technology' and a Caribbean family who 'will be given the chance to explore Black British History'. So I'm guessing that'll be at least three separate series, all of which sound exciting. The first sounds as before, but earlier, which hopefully will include the Jazz Age, but the other two could be even better, showing the working lives of young women and the everyday lives of black Britons. The latter is a subject that doesn't get nearly enough coverage, I feel, especially as light entertainment, and when black British domestic history does make it to the small screen it's all too often as an add-on to mainstream white British history.
However, the news I'm possibly most excited about is that the BBC has commissioned another two-part Agatha Christie adaptation. The 1920s-set The Witness for the Prosecution is being made by the same screenwriter and producers behind last year's And Then There Were None, which bodes well. I hope it's another Christmas mini-series; ATTWN was one of my favourite things on over last year's festive season. I like the fact that the Beeb have been seeking out less-frequently-produced Christies, rather than redoing Poirot or Miss Marple stories, which have been done a lot over the years. (I wish they'd change their minds and commission more Partners In Crime too, though.)
Also set in the 1920s and also coming to the BBC is an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall. It's going to have quite the cast, with David Suchet and Eva Longoria in the lineup. I'm not a massive Waugh fan, but it's been years since I read much so perhaps this will persuade me to give him another go. I suspect that when I was younger, I didn't appreciate the satire as I might now.
ITV has commissioned two more episodes (TV films) of Maigret; I know the pilot last year didn't appeal to everyone, but I liked it and am glad they're giving it another chance. Rowan Atkinson was incredibly subtle as the French detective, and the 1950s Parisian setting was nicely done.
ITV has also commissioned an eight-part series called The Halcyon, set in a plush London hotel in 1940 – the height of the Blitz. I'm expecting a blend of Home Fires and Downton Abbey (lots of posh people being glamorous and shagging, lots of working class people being sturdily frumpy and salt of the earth, but probably some lovely costumes and decent music) and so am not sure yet if I'll watch it.
On the 'as expected front', The Durrells (ITV) is getting another series and Peaky Blinders (BBC) is getting two. On the subject of the last series of Peaky Blinders... I'm on the fence about that one. I wasn't keen on seeing the Blinders in grand houses, and the costuming frequently felt very wrong. As for the 'Russians', they seemed horribly caricatured and unbelievable, though that was balanced out by the incredible acting as Arthur and Polly wrestled with their own consciences and impulses. It was as though one incredibly good story and one incredibly tacky, flashy one had been mashed together. At least my least favourite character is No More. I hope the next series has more menace and fewer stupidly obvious attempts to be 'edgy'.
Have I overlooked anything? I wish now that I'd Tivoed The Durrells and Houdini and Doyle when they were on. I don't want to miss out on anything else!