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Review: The Crown – Episode 10 “Gloriana”

Reaching episode 10 feels like something of an achievement - not because it's been difficult to watch, but that the naturally slow pacing of a period drama, where dialogue rules over busy scenes, means that this has felt like quite monumental watching. After all, most period dramas don't usually exceed around six episodes, so adding on an extra 4 hours feels like quite a jump. Nevertheless, the show remembers its roots. The episode begins in a flashback, when we witness…

Review: The Crown – Episode 8 & 9 “Pride & Joy” & “Assassins”

Episode 8 of The Crown brought me to something of an epiphany. Despite positivity among many, some of the reviews circulated online of this series have decried it as dull. At times, I get an inkling of it, and I realised why. As much as I enjoy my gossip, this show is, and was never going to be, an expose of the royal family's affairs. This is part due to the fact that we know their gossip already, know the main…

Review: My Mother and Other Strangers – Episode 1

In a welcome move, the BBC haven't left period drama fans bereft after season 2 of Poldark, with the introduction of another 5-episode drama titled My Mother and Other Strangers. It's lacking the high excitement of the Cornish adaptation but has no novel behind it as an inspiration- instead it's a (somewhat) original plot that paints a nostalgic scene in the fictional Irish village of Moybeg. The series has been written by Barry Devlin, a Northern Irish writer who was also behind Ballykissangel…

Review: The Crown – Episode 6 & 7 “Gelignite” & “Scientia Potentia Est”

Picking up from the slight mid-season lull, episodes 6 and 7 of The Crown succeed with excellent character studies and the exciting prospect of Queen Elizabeth learning how to be in charge around a crowd of manipulators and flatterers. The focus for episode 6, titled “Gelignite”, was Princess Margaret and the culmination of her affair with royal equerry Captain Peter Townsend. It’s a treat, not least for the fact that we get our first dramatic (solo) gallop on horseback, courtesy…

Review: The Light Between Oceans

Sweeping romantic dramas seem to be far less common these days, appearing sparsely in screens where the rom-com or the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation tends to dominate. Therefore, for fans of the genre, The Light Between Oceans is a real treat, combining fantastic lead performances, a genuinely though-provoking plot and an artful mix of stunning score and scenery. Directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond The Pines), the story begins with the arrival of traumatised ex-soldier Tom Sherbourne (Michael…

Review: The Crown – Episode 4 & 5 “Act of God” & “Smoke and Mirrors”

The next two episodes of The Crown turned out to be completely different creatures, with episode 4 sinking into dull melodrama before episode 5 arrived to make everything so much better. In fact, they showcased the weaknesses and strengths of this drama quite neatly in just two hours. Episode 4, "Act of God" went into full metaphor mode, using the famed Great Smog of London in 1952 to bluntly illustrate struggles under dark times. It focused mostly on Winston Churchill,…

Review: The Crown – Episode 2 & 3 “Hyde Park Corner” & “Windsor”

As The Crown moves into its second and third episodes, the high drama shows no signs of stopping. Despite sometimes slipping into some melodrama, there was plenty of romance, torment and stunning costumes to please every period drama fan. These episodes set up Elizabeth and Philip’s married bliss as they tour through Africa, far away from the constraints of Buckingham Palace. Matt Smith and Claire Foy have a wonderful chemistry, balancing each other so well that it’s all very romantic.…

Review: The Crown – Episode 1 “Wolferton Splash”

When it comes to period dramas, we fans are used to being patient. Outnumbered by superhero movies, television quiz shows and Channel 4 ‘documentaries’, we might be lucky enough to get a couple of period drama films or a few episodes per year. Never before have we been able to actually do that coveted Netflix binge with our favourite genre, but thanks to The Crown, bonfire night became less about fireworks than it did about hunkering down on the sofa…