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Tony Grist

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What I've Been Watching [Sep. 11th, 2010|12:10 pm]
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I've enjoyed Digging For Britain- which ended last night. Alice Roberts- though she does rather talk in cliches- has concentrated on what I take to be the point of archaeology- that it tells us things about the past we couldn't learn in any other way. Last night she was surveying Tudor digs, including the one that's going on in Shakespeare's back garden. There's a feature there that appears to be a well- and the diggers are salivating over what might have been preserved in the mud at the bottom. Here's hoping that Shakespeare was sitting on the edge of his well in the spring of 1613, correcting the proofs of Cardenio, when something distracted his attention and....
 
I've also enjoyed Roger and Val Have Just Got In. The BBC did it a disservice by billing it as a comedy, because people have been expecting the Vicar of Dibley and that's just what it ain't.  There's the occasional laugh-out loud moment- but nothing that doesn't arise naturally out of the lovingly observed banter and bickering- and collaborative flights of fancy- of the two leads (who are the only characters who appear).  It's beautifully written by Emma and Beth Kilcoyne- and Dawn French and Alfred Molina are lovely.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2010-09-11 11:46 am (UTC)

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I missed Digging for Britain - I was looking for it on Thursday and it wasn't on. Will catch up via i player, thanks!
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-09-11 12:54 pm (UTC)

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Ah, that's because they showed it on Friday. I remember a time when the BBC didn't move programmes around the schedules the way they do now. Ah well....
[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2010-09-11 12:00 pm (UTC)

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I have always had a soft spot for Alfred Molina - he's got a complicated, interesting look.
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-09-11 01:05 pm (UTC)

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It's nice that he came home to do this. He was Dawn French's first choice for the role, but they never thought he'd sign up- what with being a big Hollywood name and all.
[User Picture]From: stevegreen
2010-09-11 04:37 pm (UTC)

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But he falls into the 'character actor' slot, which means Hollywood will deploy him to add weight to a vehicle for one of its own, rather than give him the lead role (the near-exception being Spider-Man 2, which - at a reported $3m - was no doubt his biggest pay packet, too). Peter Postlethwaite and Jim Broadbent fall into the same category.

Did you catch Molina in last year's An Education? It was a subtle, beautifully-judged performance, and I considered him rather unlucky to lose the BAFTA to John Henshaw.
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-09-11 06:33 pm (UTC)

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No, I missed that.

Success of the kind he has enjoyed often means that the roles get less interesting.
[User Picture]From: endlessrarities
2010-09-11 01:08 pm (UTC)

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That might even beat the Vindolanda tablets.

I've thoroughly enjoyed Digging for Britain - best archaeology programme since Down to Earth, from years and years and years ago. It was lovely to see a round up of the 'best of' from the UK's recent digs.
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-09-11 02:07 pm (UTC)

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I particularly liked the episode about the Anglo-Saxons. I love how archaeology is lighting up "the Dark Ages".

I hope the show gets recommissioned.
[User Picture]From: endlessrarities
2010-09-11 03:04 pm (UTC)

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So do I.

An annual roundup like that every year would be excellent...
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-09-11 03:23 pm (UTC)

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Yes.

As far as I'm concerned there can't be too much archaeology on TV.
[User Picture]From: endlessrarities
2010-09-11 04:15 pm (UTC)

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Especially if it's GOOD archaeological TV!!

Like Time Signs, Down to Earth, Chronicle, Meet the Ancestors, Secrets of the Dead, the Bettany Hughes stuff, Castle, etecetera. (Eyes glazing over at the thought...)

Shame Alice Roberts didn't tack a modern programme onto the end, with 17th to 19th century stuff... And one programme dedicated to prehistory wasn't really enough. Should've been one for Paleo to Neo, and one for BA/IA...
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-09-11 06:53 pm (UTC)

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Perhaps next time they'll give her a longer series
[User Picture]From: stevegreen
2010-09-11 04:37 pm (UTC)

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Unless it's Bonekickers.
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-09-11 06:53 pm (UTC)

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I loved Bonekickers. It was so totally bonkers.
[User Picture]From: steepholm
2010-09-11 02:43 pm (UTC)

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I enjoyed Digging for Britain too - though I boggled not once but twice yesterday, when her talking head referred to Anne of Cleves first as Henry VIII's last wife, and then (in a separate segment) as his fifth. What do they teach them in these schools!
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-09-11 03:00 pm (UTC)

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I missed that.

But I thought her commentary was full of the sort of loose, journalistic statements one longs to take issue with. Is Romeo and Juliet really the world's greatest love story? Personally, I think it's half-baked.
[User Picture]From: steepholm
2010-09-11 03:05 pm (UTC)

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I was just relieved that she didn't say, "Wherefore is he Romeo? Why, right here!"

The parts set in the remains of The Theatre were my favourite, having said that. I'd not even heard about the excavation, and things like the green glazed goblet and the Bellarmine jug were marvellous to see, even without the "OMG Shakespeare may actually have touched this!!!" fetishization.
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-09-11 03:24 pm (UTC)

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I love Bellarmines.

I'm looking forward to them opening the Mary Rose museum.
[User Picture]From: endlessrarities
2010-09-11 04:16 pm (UTC)

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Yeah, the fetishisation was a bit much...

She's a bit too 'oh my golly gosh!!!' at times...