Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Releases Roundup: For the Week of Thursday July 31


New in Movie Theaters * from yahoo
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - The third installment of the Mummy franchise with Brendan Fraser and John Hannah returning in their respective roles as Rick O'Connell and Jonathan Carnahan. Unfortunately Rachel Weisz was unable to reprise her role as Rick's wife Evelyn, due to scheduling conflicts after delivering her baby, so Maria Bello took her place. Nothing against Bello, but Weisz made that role her own with all of that spunkiness and daring. It looks like in this film, Rick and Evelyn's son has a bigger part to play as he is now a young man, so perhaps he and his "Dad" will share more screentime, rather than Rick and Evelyn. The film also stars Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh.
Midnight Meat Train - This gory suspense/horror film costars Vinnie Jones as a brutal serial killer. Also stars Bradley Cooper.
Sixty Six - This comedy boasts a novel premise and a fine cast. A young boy's celebratory Bar Mitzvah approaches in the summer of 1966. However all sorts of things go wrong for him and his family, including a failing family business, as his big day draws near. That day really appears to be headed for disaster as England keeps winning their World Cup matches, perhaps leading them to a coveted appearance in the Cup Final. Unfortunately, game day happens to be scheduled on the day of his Bar Mitzvah. The cast includes Eddie Marsan, Helena Bonham Carter and Catherine Tate. This film comes out in limited release on August 1st.

New in DVDs * from blockbuster
The Deal (2003) - From director Stephen Frears, this political docudrama focuses on Tony Blair's rise to the position of Prime Minister. Stars David Morrissey and Michael Sheen.
Doomsday (2008) - Science fiction thriller starring Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins, Dr. Bashir himself Alexander Siddig, Siddig's uncle Malcolm McDowell, Adrian Lester, and Sean Pertwee.
WarGames (1983) - This modern classic [beloved by me] about a teenage boy who just wanted to 'play a game' stars Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy and John Wood.
Two Fat Ladies - Television cooking show starring Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson.
Robin of Sherwood: The Complete Collection - Television series which ran from 1984 to 1986 and stars Michael Praed as Robin, later to be replaced by Jason Connery. Nickolas Grace [who played Anthony Blanche in the televised Brideshead Revisited], Ray Winstone, and Philip Jackson [Inspector Japp in Poirot] costar.


New in Music * from billboard
Eurythmics - "Be Yourself Tonight", "We Too Are One" Sony/BMG label
Robert Palmer - "Best of Robert Palmer [Collectables]", "Heavy Nova" Collectables label
Genesis - "Foxtrot [Bonus DVD]", "Genesis: 1970-1975 [Box Set] [Bonus DVD]", "Nursery Cryme [Bonus DVD]", "Selling England by the Pound [Bonus DVD]", "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway [Bonus DVD]", "Trespass [Bonus DVD]" EMD Int'l label
The Yardbirds - "Greatest Hits, Vol. 1: 1964-1966" Rhino label
The Smiths - "Handsome Devil" WEA Int'l label
Thompson Twins - "Here's to Future Days" Edsel label
Ron Wood - "I've Got My Own Album to Do", "Now Look" Rhino label
Kiki Dee - "Angel Eyes", "Cage the Songbird", "I've Got the Music in Me", "Kiki Dee", "Loving & Free", "Stay with Me" EMD Int'l label
Pet Shop Boys - "Introspective" Collectables label
Led Zeppelin - "Led Zeppelin [Limited Edition]", "Led Zeppelin III [Limited Edition]" Atlantic Australia label
Tom Jones - "Live at Cardiff Castle [Sight and Sound]" WEA Int'l label
Eric Clapton - "Pilgrim/Reptile", "Road to Escondido/Back Home" Warner Music label
The Paddingtons - "Stand Down" Universal label
Elton John - "The Captain & the Kid" Interscope label
The Pretenders - "The Isle of View [Sight and Sound]" WEA Int'l label
Rick Astley - "The Ultimate Collection" Sony BMG Europe label

[Photo of Sixty Six is from Norwood and photo of Pet Shop Boys is from Irvine Housing Blog]

Best-Selling Above Suspicion Heading to the Small Screen


Lynda La Plante, creator of the gritty and emotionally raw crime drama Prime Suspect starring the brilliant Helen Mirren, is anticipating the adaptation of her best-selling novel Above Suspicion for the small screen.


The main character in Above Suspicion is a young female Detective Constable named Anna Travis, played by Kelly Reilly. This well-touted but more obscure actress is certainly a talent to watch - she was the youngest actress to be nominated for Best Actress at the prestigious Olivier Awards, at the age of 26, for her performance in After Miss Julie. If Reilly's name isn't so familiar, try Ciaran Hinds. This prolific Irish actor has been seen in many a film and television series, as well as on stage, and even if you can't picture his face [like me], you probably recognize his name. In Above Suspicion, Hinds portrays DC Anna Travis' boss Detective Chief Inspector Langton.


You can read what La Plante has to say about her literary baby's new cast here. Above Suspicion is said to be currently filming in London [in July], or perhaps they just wrapped up, and is scheduled to be aired on ITV sometime in 2008. I am sure it will be sometime in the fall or early winter, rather than August or September but who knows? If it is televised during the cooler months, it would be the perfect time to snuggle up to a new British mystery! Keep scanning your tv guides for the precise air date.

For those of us who unfortunately can't access ITV, we will have to wait until the show reaches us somehow, someway. In the meantime, we can all have a gander at the book, which is hopefully already on a bookshelf near us.

[Photo of the book jacket from Above Suspicion is from Fantastic Fiction, the photo of Kelly Reilly is from The Telegraph and the photo of Ciaran Hinds is from Men's Vogue]

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Releases Roundup: For the Week of Thursday July 24


New in Movie Theaters * from yahoo
The X-Files: I Want to Believe - David Duchovny as Agent Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Agent Scully are back in the movie installment of this cerebral television franchise, with Billy Connelly, Adam Godley, and Callum Keith Rennie along for the ride.
Boy A - Out in limited release on July 23rd, this drama about a young man facing his dark, murderous past costars Peter Mullan and Shaun Evans.
Brideshead Revisited - This new theatrical adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel is something I have been waiting for for months. It stars Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon, Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Hayley Atwell, Felicity Jones, Stephen Merchant [of the Office fame], and Patrick Malahide. Brideshead comes out in limited release on July 25th.

New in DVDs * from blockbuster
21 (2008) - The worlds of competitive higher learning and high stakes gambling take center stage in this film starring Kevin Spacey and Jim Sturgess, who adopts a pretty flawless American accent.
Spaced: The Complete Series (1999) & (2001) - Television comedy created by Simon Pegg, of Shaun of the Dead fame, and Jessica Hynes.


New in Music * from billboard
Paul Weller - "22 Dreams" Yep Roc label
The Jam - "All Mod Cons", "Dig the New Breed", "In the City", "Setting Sons", "Sound Affects", "The Gift", "This Is the Modern World [Japan]" Universal Japan label
Def Leppard - "C'mon C'mon" Mercury UK label
Primal Scream - "Can't Go Back" Warner Music TV label
Beat Union - "Disconnected" Roadrunner Japan label
Spandau Ballet - "Gold: The Best of Spandau Ballet" EMI label
David Bowie - "Live in Santa Monica '72" EMD Int'l label
David Bowie - "Live in Santa Monica '72" EMI label
David Bowie - "Live in Santa Monica '72" Virgin label
The Sex Pistols - "Spunk" Universal Japan label
The Charlatans UK - "The Best of the BBC Sessions 1999-2006" Island UK label
Black Sabbath - "The Rules of Hell" Rhino/Warner Bros. label
Coldplay - "Viva la Vida" EMD Int'l label

[Photo of Brideshead Revisited is from IMP Awards and photo of The Jam is from Tralfaz]

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Yearning For A Full English Breakfast...And What About Second Breakfast?


One of the trillion bright spots in my sister's and my London trip a decade ago was the full English breakfasts we were lucky enough to devour each and every morning. If I could start off the day like that here in my everyday life, I would greet the morn much earlier than usual.

What does a full English breakfast consist of, you might ask? Well I certainly don't mind delving into that question [salivating]. I think the backbone of a really good, hearty English breakfast, or fry-up as it's also called, is bacon, sausages and eggs. We ate our eggs fried. Fried bread - yum! - provides the carbs in this meal while fried tomatoes gives a sparkle of color on the plate, as well as a robust something something to round out the meal.

I also read about fried mushrooms, this is a fry-up after all, being added to the mix but thankfully, this was never served to us. I don't like mushrooms much, and while I am getting a little bit better about it, back in those days, they would have put a slight damper on my breakfast I'm afraid. Our breakfasts really didn't need anything else added, for not only did we get many items to eat, but the servings were extremely generous, to put it mildly. And I certainly do appreciate that. Thank you, Victoria Inn! I'm not sure whether this lovely bed and breakfast still offers a complimentary full English breakfast or not, but I am so happy that they did way back when.

I came across some sweet postings about full English breakfasts, and I can imagine why so many people love to talk about it. It makes tummies feel warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. People are comforted just looking at the tasty assemblage of foodstuffs in front of them, in the morning no less, and melt in the presence of the aromas and tastes. Julia at A Slice of Cherry Pie gives great info and commentary on this traditional cozy feast, and Kimberly at Music and Cats does the same. These posts make for fun reading with some pretty hunger-inspiring pictures thrown in for good measure.

It may not be the best time of year to whip up a fry-up, what with the temperature outside creeping past the 100 degree mark every now and again. But as the weather grows colder and we yearn for warmth everywhere around us, I have a feeling that I will be hauling out the heavy ole frying pan on quite a few occasions, maybe even for second breakfasts.

[Photo of a full English breakfast is from BBC Good Food]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Releases Roundup: For the Week of Thursday July 17


New in Movie Theaters * from yahoo
The Dark Knight - Already primed to overachieve at the box office for all sorts of reasons, this new installment of the Batman franchise again stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Caine as his ever-faithful Alfred, and Gary Oldman as the newly promoted Lieutenant Gordon. This film is directed by Christopher Nolan, who wrote and directed "Batman Begins".
Mamma Mia! - Stars Colin Firth and Julie Walters based on the musical of the same name. Executive produced by Rita Wilson and her husband Tom Hanks.
Transsiberian - Filmed in Beijing, Russia and Lithuania, this thriller stars Emily Mortimer and Ben Kingsley. In limited release on July 18th.

New in DVDs * from blockbuster
The Bank Job (2008) - Based on a 1971 London bank robbery, this action film stars Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows, and co-stars the ever-talented David Suchet, Keeley Hawes, and Peter Bowles.
Robbie Coltrane's Incredible Britain (2007) - In this documentary, join Hagrid - oops Cracker - oops, I mean Coltrane as he journeys across Britain from London to Glasgow, driving its B roads and providing us with an offbeat and entertaining look at the people he meets and places he passes along the way.
Beau Brummell: This Charming Man (2007) - This drama stars Jonathan Aris and Matthew Rhys.
Penelope (2006) - Romantic, modern-day fairy tale stars Christina Ricci and James McAvoy. Reese Witherspoon, Richard E. Grant, Nigel Havers, and the Chef! himself Lenny Henry co-star.
The Mighty Celt (2005) - Cast features Robert Carlyle and Gillian Anderson.



New in Music * from billboard
The Beatles - "1962-1966", "1967-1970", "A Hard Day's Night [UK]", "Anthology 1", "Anthology 2", "Beatles for Sale", "Help![UK]", "Let It Be...Naked", "Live at the BBC", "Love [Special Edition]", "Magical Mystery Tour", "Past Masters, Vols 1 & 2", "Revolver [UK]", "Rubber Soul", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", "The Beatles [White Album]" EMD Int'l label
The Charlatans UK - "BBC Sessions" Island UK label
The Moody Blues - "Days of Future Passed [Bonus Tracks]", "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour [Bonus Tracks]", "In Search of the Lost Chord [Bonus Tracks]", "On the Threshold of a Dream [Bonus Tracks]", "Question of Balance [Bonus Tracks]", "Seventh Sojourn [Bonus Tracks]", "To Our Children's Children's Children [Bonus Tracks]" Polydor label
Go West - "futurenow" Blueprint label
Spandau Ballet - "Gold: The Best of Spandau Ballet" EMI label
Herman's Hermits - "Into Something Good: The Mickie Most Years 1964-1964 [Emd]", "The Best of Herman's Hermits [EMI]" EMD Int'l label
Dido - "Life for Rent" Classic label
Radiohead - "Nude" XL UK label
Yazoo - "Only Yazoo: The Best Of" Mute label
Eurythmics - "Peace", "Revenge", "Savage" Sony/BMG label
London Cowboys - "Relapse" Freud label
The Cure - "Sleep When I'm Dead/Down Under" Geffen label
Eric Clapton - "Unplugged" WEA Int'l label

[Photo of The Dark Knight is from The Rock of Boston and photo of The Charlatans UK is from triplejaysus.com]

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Holmes


The buzz is on for the British sleuthing rivalry of the century. But this time it isn't sleuth versus sleuth but rather sleuth versus himself. There are two motion picture projects in the works about the legendary fictional character Sherlock Holmes, featuring brilliant acting talents on both sides as well as apparently two very different directions.

The first Sherlock Holmes film from Warner Bros. is being directed by Guy Ritchie and stars the immensely charismatic and versatile character actor Robert Downey Jr, fresh off an amazing and surprisingly believable turn as superhero Iron Man. Although Downey is American, I am absolutely positive you will not know it either in accent or mannerisms. This production looks to be more serious than the other, yet with the inspiration not only stemming from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories but also the upcoming comic book "Sherlock Holmes" by producer Lionel Wigram, just how serious remains to be seen. Word is out that Downey's Holmes character will be a bit more physical then previous characterizations. Hopefully this doesn't mean that he will be less cerebral. But with Downey taking on the role, I am fairly certain that his Sherlock Holmes will maintain his shrewd intelligence even if he has to rely on his brawn a bit more than Conan Doyle intended. Produced by Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey and Dan Lin, this production is set to begin filming in October.

The competing Holmes film takes the character to a whole other level as evidenced by its cast and producer. This comedy, which is said to be fastracked by Columbia Pictures, stars the hilarious but equally intelligent actor/comedian Sasha Baron Cohen as Sherlock Holmes and Will Ferrell as his loyal friend Doctor Watson. Produced by Judd Apatow and Jimmy Miller, the script for this film is written by Etan Cohen.

This relatively sudden burst of interest in the pipe-smoking, violin-playing detective is music to my ears for sure. The Sherlock Holmes mysteries have always been a joy to read, having started during my preteenage years, I think. And although the time period in which Sherlock Holmes' stories are set is not one of my most favorites, I nonetheless enjoy watching the adaptations. In my humble opinion, the best portrayal thus far has to be Jeremy Brett's with Basil Rathbone's coming in at a close second. Acting aside, the production values were greatly enhanced during Brett's stint [there is about 30 to 40 years difference between Rathbone and Brett's characterizations after all] so that does tip the scale in Brett's favor. Production values are quite important in period mysteries I strongly feel. Another favorite portrayal has to be Tom Baker's, but that really has more to do with the fact that he is Doctor Who! Other distinguished actors have taken on the role including Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Rupert Everett, Ian Richardson, Jonathan Pryce, Peter O' Toole, Leonard Nimoy, and John Cleese.

I cannot wait for both new films to be released to a movie theater near me. If anyone has more scoop on these productions, including cast additions and release dates, please comment below!

[Photo of Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes is from BBC Four]

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Releases Roundup: For the Week of Thursday July 10

New in Movie Theaters * from yahoo
Hellboy II: The Golden Army - Looks like this movie has some awesome special effects; I want to see it! Costars Luke Goss as Prince Nuada [little bit of trivia - his twin brother has been engaged to Daisy Fuentes for years] and Anna Walton as Princess Nuala. Also includes veteran actor John Hurt.

New in DVDs * from blockbuster
The Tracey Fragments (2007) - Drama stars Ellen Page and co-stars Julian Richings.
Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band: Live 2006 (2006) - Performance film of Ringo and his All Starr band, including Sheila E., Hamish Stuart, and Billy Squier.
Wire in the Blood: The Complete Fifth Season (2007) - Based on characters written by Val McDermid, this mystery crime series stars charismatic Robson Green as university clinical psychologist Tony Valentine Hill.

New in Books * from publishers weekly
Madeleine Wickham - "Sleeping Arrangements" - This British author wrote the Shopaholic novels, the first of which has been filmed as a motion picture with Isla Fisher as the central character. Mrs. Wickham also uses the pen name Sophie Kinsella. A book cover that I saw has this teaser: "Two families, one holiday villa - who's sleeping with whom?"

New in Music * from billboard
Paul Weller - "22 Dreams", "As Is Now", "Catch-Flame!", "Heavy Soul", "Heliocentric", "Live Wood", "Paul Weller", "Stanley Road", "Studio 150", "Wild Wood" Universal Japan label
Eric Clapton - "461 Ocean Boulevard" Polydor label
Brian Eno - "Ambient 1: Music for Airports", "Ambient 4: On Land", "Another Green World", "Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks", "Before and After Science", "Discreet Music", "Here Come the Warm Jets", "More Music for Films", "Music for Films", "Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)", "Thursday Afternoon" CRC label
Brian Eno - "Ambient 1: Music for Airports", "Ambient 4: On Land", "Another Green World", "Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks", "Before and After Science", "Discreet Music", "Here Come the Warm Jets", "More Music for Films", "Music for Films", "Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)", "Thursday Afternoon" Caroline label
Quireboys - "Best of the Quireboys" EMD Int'l label
Supertramp - Breakfast in America" A&M label
Cream - "Disraeli Gears" Polydor label
Peter Frampton - "Frampton Comes Alive!" A&M label
The Mission UK - "God Is a Bullet" Candlelight label
Def Leppard - "Hysteria" Island/Mercury label
Yazoo - "In Your Room" Mute label
Ringo Starr - "Live on Tour", "Live on Tour [DVD]", "Ringo Starr and the All Starr's 2006" Koch label
The Moody Blues - "Lovely to See You: Live [Blu-Ray]" Image label
British Sea Power - "Open Season" Rough Trade label
Judas Priest - "Playlist: The Very Best of Judas Priest" Legacy label
Judas Priest - "Playlist: The Very Best of Judas Priest" Playlist label
Rick Astley - "Playlist: The Very Best of Rick Astley" Legacy label
Rick Astley - "Playlist: The Very Best of Rick Astley" Playlist label
London Cowboys - "Relapse" Freud label
The Cure - "Sleep When I'm Dead/Down Under" Geffen label
Elton John - "The Captain & the Kid" Interscope label
Coldplay - "The Coldplay Phenomenon" Hurricane Int'l label
Alison Moyet - "The Turn [UK]" W14 label
The Police - "Zenyatta Mondatta" A&M label

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rose Garden Ramblings: Grape Hyacinths Make Beautiful Buckets [Bouquets]


Summer is on - and here in Texas, we are experiencing long periods of blazing heat with very little if any precipitation. I'm no gardener, although I would like to be one, and the best I can do at the moment is tend to two container plants: one columbine and one coneflower. I had another columbine plant but unfortunately it got overwatered a few months ago and wilted away - something that we don't have to worry about at present conditions. But in my dreamiest of dreams, I would oneday love to own a flourishing English cottage garden, complete with picket fences [or perhaps stone?] and honeysuckle or wisteria-covered arbors.

So I've made it a point to try and learn about different flowers, plants, and design aspects in general that will hopefully come in handy sometime in the future. I chose Muscari grape hyacinths as my first subject solely on the basis of its name - Hyacinth, one of my most favorite and beloved British television characters from "Keeping Up Appearances". I often wondered whether the sitcom's creators chose Hyacinth because of the flower's characteristics, just as they might have chosen Daisy, Rose and Violet.


Grape hyacinths are known to be tough little cookies who can spread and multiply quickly when planted in outdoor soil, a rather ambitious and forceful quality, not unlike Hyacinth Bucket herself. Paghat's Garden's quote is rather hilarious when you relate it to the human Hyacinth: "Many Grape Hyacinth species, & in particular M. botryoides, can spread very dramatically, to the point that some people find them a nuisance". In fact, they can be very invasive indeed [think of Hyacinth invading poor people like Emmet's personal spaces].

Blooming in early spring, these blueish-purple grape like blooms are eye-catching and would make a perfect addition to a romantic, overabundant English cottage garden. Just plant en masse under shrubs or trees, and these self-seeding beauties should grow and grow and grow. If you are lucky enough to have bunches of these growing in your garden come spring next year, feel free to bring a few indoors for your next Candlelight Supper, or how about for your Indoor/Outdoor Luxury Barbeque and Finger Buffet - you know you've been planning that one for ages.

[Photo of grape hyacinth is from Floral Images and photo of Hyacinth Bucket is from this great blog Mavis]

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New Releases Roundup: For the Week of Thursday July 3

New in Movie Theaters * from yahoo
The Wackness - In limited release, this film stars Ben Kingsley and co-stars Olivia Thirlby [of Juno fame] and Mary-Kate Olsen [this could be a plus or a minus depending]. Set in New York during the summer of 1994, Kingsley plays a psychiatrist who takes drugs as well as prescribes them.
Tell No One - Costars Kristin Scott Thomas [who has lived in Paris since age 19] in a French thriller out in limited release.

New in DVDs * from blockbuster
How to Rob a Bank (2007) - Action caper co-starring Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale.
My Blueberry Nights (2007) - A romantic road movie starring a talented four-some in Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman and Norah Jones. Also co-stars David Strathairn.

New in Music * from billboard
The Subways - "All or Nothing" WEA label
Bauhaus - "Burning from the Inside", "The Sky's Gone Out" 4 Men With Beards label
The Moody Blues - "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour", "In Search of the Lost Chord", "On the Threshold of a Dream", "Seventh Sojourn", "To Our Children's Children's Children" Decca UK label
The Sex Pistols - "Filthy Lucre Live" Virgin Japan label
Japan - "Gentlemen Take Polaroids", "Oil on Canvas", "Tin Drum" Virgin Japan label
Alan Parsons - "I Robot", "The Turn of a Friendly Card" Classic label
The Stupids - "Jesus Meets the Stupids", "Jesus Meets the Stupids [Limited Edition]", "Van Stupid/Frankfurter", "Van Stupid/Frankfurter [Limited Edition]" Visible Noise label
The Wombats - "Kill the Director [UK CD]" 14th Floor label
Marianne Faithful - "Live at the BBC" Universal Int'l label
Paul Young - "No Parlez" Sony/BMG label
Spice Girls - "Raw Spice" Shout Factory label
Primal Scream - "Riot City Blues", "Screamadelica", "Vanishing Point", "XTRMNTR [Japan]" Sony Japan label
Dirty Pretty Things - "Romance at Short Notice", "Tired of England" Mercury label
Iron Maiden - "Somewhere Back in Time: The Best of 1980-1989" Legacy label
Iron Maiden - "Somewhere in Time" WEA Int'l label
Portishead - "The Rip" Island UK label
Genesis - "When in Rome 2007 [DVD]" EMD Int'l label

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Film Flashback: Alleyn Mysteries


I recently watched an episode of Alleyn Mysteries starring Patrick Malahide as Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn - the particular episode was The Nursing Home Murder. I really like the series, with its good production values, and I like Malahide. He does a good job portraying the uppercrust policeman who has the respect of his subordinates in Scotland Yard. The chemistry between Malahide and William Simons, as Bre'er Fox, is just right, nothing forced - just very calm and enjoyable to watch. An interesting side note here: the actor who played Chief Inspector Alleyn in the series' first episode is named Simon Williams!

The great New Zealand mystery writer Ngaio Marsh wrote 32 novels before her death in 1982, the majority of which were set in England, and all featured the proper but subtly humorous Alleyn. Unfortunately only 9 of them have been adapted for British television. New Zealand television adapted 4 novels, 2 of which were set in New Zealand, with George Baker playing the lead character. I think this needs to be rectified, don't you?


At this point, at 63 years old Patrick Malahide might be a tad too old to play Alleyn, although I'm not quite sure how much the character ages throughout the chronology of Marsh's books. I know that he marries the renowned painter Agatha Troy with whom he has a son, and this son is supposed to be a lead character in one of Marsh's later novels. How old father and son are in that novel, I don't know. It has been awhile since I read one of the Alleyn mysteries and don't honestly remember whether I read one of the last ones like "Light Thickens" or "Grave Mistake". "Photo Finish" sounds familiar but I can't recall anything about the plot. [sigh]

If Malahide is still able to portray CID Alleyn, that would be grand. But if not, I wonder which actor can pick up the mantle and do the character the same amount of justice? And who would portray independent Agatha Troy? Or Bre'er Fox? There are 19 classic, gripping stories that are just begging to be adapted into quality television episodes, and I think the mystery-loving public is more than ready to receive them. If British television can remake Agatha Christie's Miss Marple stories with different leading ladies, and I loved all of the adaptations and look forward to more, they can definitely make room for one more famous detective...yes? [fingers crossed]

In the meantime, watch out for Patrick Malahide in the soon-to-be released, big screen version of Brideshead Revisited - in the role of Edward Ryder, which was brilliantly portrayed by John Gielgud in the tv miniseries. I can't wait to see how Malahide tackles the part.

[Photo of Patrick Malahide is from PatrickMalahide.net, and of Ngaio Marsh is from NNDB)