Looking forward in time to going back...

Are you looking forward to going Further Back In Time?
Oooh, what a feast of televisual treats we have to look forward to later this year.

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!


  1. Ooh, more social history type programmes, I love them! I would love to do my own experiment xxx

  2. Thank you for the helpful roundup! I missed Maigret, but 1950s Paris?! I will make sure I watch the next ones! I never look at TV guides and don't watch enough telly to hear about all these series, so I look to you for my TV viewing advice x

  3. Back In Time with a black history slant sounds right up my street. I'm two episodes behind with Peaky Blinders as our Thursdays kept getting interrupted. I love Arthur and Polly. She and the girls off to the Bull Ring to join in with the strike has to be one of the best scenes in British TV ever, go Brummie feminists, go! xxx

  4. Oooh I LOVE witness for the prosecution, I will be all over that like a rash when it airs!

  5. Yay for more Back in Times! Hands down one of my favourite things on tv recently, even though the family irritated me beyond reason! I love seeing all the ways they redecorated the houses (although they could have tried harder with a lot of the outfits, I think). Also agree with you about ATTWN - I don't watch much tv like this but I'm so glad I made an exception for that one. I think that one will live with me for a while, it was just so well done.

  6. these all sound great particularly witness for the prosecution

  7. This does sound like some good TV coming up. I love Agatha Christie and enjoyed the Maigret pilot. I've never watched Peaky Blinders although my son and brother love it. When I do watch anything 'period' it's the costumes I'm looking at more than the storyline...

    Hope your week is going well, Mim


  8. Some lesser known Agatha Christie stories sounds fab! Too bad many Beebs TV shows get blocked in Nepal for unknown reasons. (The blocking is on the Beeb's end.)

  9. Oh fantastic news about Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall! I'm a big Waugh fan so will really look forward to that. And yes, another Christie adaptation! And Then There Were None was so so good, hopefully this one will get the same treatment.
    I bought the whole first series of The Durrells from iTunes as soon as it finished because I know I'll want to watch it over and over again. xx

  10. Those all sound amazing. I hardly ever seem to get around to remembering to watch much TV these days. I should search these things out more!

  11. These all sound so amazing! I'm going to be scouring the web to see which ones I might be able to find available to watch there, given that I don't live in the UK and don't have cable (by choice - didn't watch enough TV to justify the cost).

    I hope you're doing well in the midst of all the upheaval this week, dear Mim, and that the first weekend of the summer is a delightful one for you guys.

    ♥ Jessica

  12. I loved Back in Time, so I'm looking forward to the new series. xxx

  13. Ooh yes, I'm pleased about another Back in Time series, it's easy watching and fun, as was the Durrells. I feel I'm completely missing out on tv at the moment. We seemed to have a brilliant winter of programmes and then it's all fizzled out, so I'm glad you're keeping us up to date, Mim! Xxx

  14. Thank you again for another televisual update, that's given me loads to look out for! I am so glad to hear that they are commissioning Maigret, I really enjoyed Rowan Atkinson in the role and was hoping they might make more! xx


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