Review: My Mother and Other Strangers – Episode 4

First of all, apologies for the absence of a review for episode 3 of My Mother and Other Strangers. Struck down by an office plague, by the time I was recovered we were onto the next episode. Although, let's be honest, was there much to say about the third episode? Everything has been leading up to this one, it seems, and we finally got a bit of that romance that we'd been promised. I'm not bitter, but I'd just like…

The Official Ranking of Jane Austen’s Scoundrels

So we've looked at the heroines and we've ranked the heroes, but what about Jane Austen's villainous scoundrels? There's one in every novel, providing the perfect distraction for the leading lady, usually by throwing a few spanners in the works. Readers and viewers of the screen adaptations love to hate them: they're the bad boy foil to the dreamboat hero. That's why I've introduced a slightly new feature to this list - instead of a 'lesson learned' point (because lets…

Agatha Christie & The Brontes: This Christmas Season’s Period Dramas

Festive films can step aside - there's another Christmas TV tradition that is just as important in creating a wonderful atmosphere at home. Period dramas are the perfect family entertainment that keeps generations happy as they try and rest off all the compulsory Quality Street and turkey sandwiches. As usual, the BBC has something up their sleeve and this year it's these two dramas - To Walk Invisible, a two-hour film that tells the story of the Brontes, and The Witness For…

Review: Allied

There's been plenty of publicity around Allied - predicted earlier in the year as a likely Oscar contender, it's been highly promoted. Directed by Robert Zemekis (Forrest Gump, Back To The Future), it certainly was expected to be visually compelling with impressive effects, and with all the ingredients for success, it seemed certain to be an instant crowd-pleaser. Unfortunately, that's not quite the case. Set in the Second World War, it stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as two spies who…

Review: Rillington Place – Episode 1

Had a rough week? If you're looking for an escape, I wouldn't recommend the BBC's Rillington Place, a grisly new 3-part period drama about the true story of serial killer John Christie. However, if the days are being kind to you, it's worth a watch for skilful acting and a deep, disturbing look at a marriage that survived on deception and manipulation. The first episode is shown from the perspective of Christie's put-upon wife Ethel (Samantha Morton), as she reunites with her…

The Official Ranking of Jane Austen’s Heroes

After our definitive ranking of the heroines, it's time to look at Jane Austen's heroes. They're a far trickier bunch, since Austen approached her narratives from the female point of view and we see the men through their perspective. Not only that, but they're given less character development too. This isn't a big problem, but it has led to the heroes being frequently defined instead by their portrayals in screen adaptations, which offer far more opportunities for a detailed take.…

Review: My Mother and Other Strangers – Episode 2

My Mother and Other Strangers continued on Sunday with another quiet episode in its five-part series. Already two hours in, there's been little excitement so far, aside from a nostalgic look at small town life. The wartime costumes are admittedly pretty but as the numerous characters of the series continue to remain undeveloped, it's hard to know exactly what this episode actually added to the plot. Part of this is definitely due to the lack of American soldiers, who were…

Silence: First Trailer Released For Martin Scorsese’s Much-Anticipated Period Drama

Martin Scorsese's film Silence has taken a remarkable 26 years to be completed: a passion project, the famed director has been carefully planning this film epic for years. Based on a novel by Shusaku Endot, it's a period drama set in the 17th century, that follows two devout Portugese priests as they travel to Japan. Scorsese, who was raised a Roman Catholic, has always been fascinated by faith, and judging by the time and care taken, this film is clearly intended…

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…