Tag Archive: Anna Chancellor


t-Ordeal-by-Innocence-

Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Make no mistake, despite the title, this BBC adaptation really is not Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence.  It is without doubt writer Sarah Phelps’s Ordeal by Innocence, and it stands out as the best of her recent adaptations of Christie’s works.  In many ways, the 2018 television series is better than its source material.  Phelps is known for adding prurient subtext and graphic imagery to her film versions, efforts that typically seem uncomfortably gratuitous (such as the gore and sado-masochism in The ABC Murders, reviewed here at borg).  But in the case of Ordeal by Innocence, the delivery is more even-handed and her departures make the story better.  I came into the three-part miniseries immediately after reading Christie’s novel.  Published in 1958, Ordeal by Innocence centers around the classic mystery trope of the missing alibi witness, but with a tragic twist.

One lonesome night, scientist Arthur Calgary (played by Attack the Block’s Luke Treadaway) picks up a hitchhiker, and then is unavoidably detained, unaware that his testimony could make or break a murder trial.  Jack Argyll (Jacko in the novel, played here by Derry Girls’ Anthony Boyle) has been convicted of the murder of his adopted mother, philanthropist Rachel Argyll, matriarch of a clan of adopted children and assorted other household members.  Jack, with his contentious relationship with Rachel and a history of petty crime, seems the ideal suspect for the crime.  When Dr. Calgary appears long after the fact to clear Jack’s name, his mission of mercy and justice is met with strange reactions from all involved.  It’s almost as if they want brother and son Jack to be guilty.

Continue reading

The Hour cast season 2

Review by C.J. Bunce

It was a big year for Ben Whishaw.  Not only did he appear as the newest Q in the James Bond film Skyfall, a dream job and iconic role for any actor to land, Whishaw appeared as co-star in his second season of the BBC America’s The Hour offering a performance as dramatic as anything you’d find on television in 2012.  In Wednesday night’s season finale, his character Freddie Lyon took a determined, tortured soul whose new wife left him mid-season, and fulfilled a story arc begun in the backstory of The Hour, finally leaving all aspersions aside and planting a long overdue kiss on the decades-in-the-waiting eye of his affection, Romola Garai’s Bel Rowley.  In an Emmy-worthy performance he is left to single-handedly bear the burden of the underground extremes that plagued London of 1956, pummeled and left for dead by the season’s shadowy villain outside the offices of the BBC.The Hour - Vice

Vice, celebrity, corruption, murder.  It was a season that got off to a slow start, but finished like a freight train with the last two episodes leaving viewers desperate for a third season.  Early marketing tried to distance the series from its American cousin drama Mad Men, yet the glitzy, celebrity-centric early episodes seemed to scream just that But as the intrigue picked up steam with the revelation of police corruption particularly through the character of Commander Laurence Stern (played by State of Play and The Jackal’s Peter Sullivan), and the key characters’ motivations and secrets were revealed, The Hour left Mad Men in its wake.

Continue reading

The Hour banner season 2

Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Last fall we raved about BBC’s 1950s workplace drama, The Hour, about a fledgling news program of the same name.  At long last, Season Two is finally here, and it’s shaping up to be just as smart, stylish, and sexy as the first season.

Plunging viewers directly into the action, Episode 1 (of a presumed 6) picks up nine months from the end of Season One, finding producer Bel Rowley (Romola Garai, Emma, Amazing Grace) struggling to keep her now-established evening news programme fresh and relevant, in the face of a star presenter enjoying his newfound celebrity a little too much (Dominic West, The Wire, 300); a missing “right-hand man” (Ben Whishaw, Skyfall); the machinations of a new boss (Peter Capaldi, Torchwood, Sea of Souls); and competition from a newer, “bitier” rival news show.  Series newcomer Capaldi is a lively addition as new head of the news department Randall Brown–a man with a plan and a past, clearly intending to keep all The Hour’s staff on their toes.

Continue reading