March Favourites

TV: You’re Back in the Room – ITV, Saturdays 8.20

I haven’t laughed like this at a TV show in a long time, it’s absolutely hilarious and the hypnotist is a genius.

Music: Taylor Swift – Blank Space

Tech: Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Netbook

Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Netbook

I used my netbook yesterday for the first time since November 2013 and instantly fell in love with it again. The 10.1″ screen makes it easily portable and it’s very lightweight. The only downside is that the battery doesn’t last very long on a full charge – 2 hours max when I was writing a Word document. Full review to come soon!

Top 6 Period Drama Adaptations

I love period dramas. The costumes, the speech, the acting…it’s amazing. Note: BBC dramas are some of the best things ever created.

6. Death Comes to Pemberley – BBC, 2013

Adapted from: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (2011)

Starring: Matthew Rhys, Anna Maxwell Martin, Jenna Coleman

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Set in 1803, 6 years after the wedding of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, the Darcys are preparing for their annual ball when Lizzie’s uninvited sister storms in claiming her husband (Mr Wickham) has been shot. But who has really been hurt, and who shot them?…

5. Sense and Sensibility –  Columbia Pictures, 1995 (US release), 1996 (UK release)

Adapted from: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (1811)

Starring: Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman

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So they may have changed Elinor Dashwood’s age from 19 in the book to 27 in the film so that 35 year old Emma Thompson could portray the sister destined for spinsterhood, but no other actress would do the part justice. Thompson also wrote the screenplay and kept to the book incredibly well. I don’t think I could watch another adaptation without complaining that it will never be as good as this one.

4. Emma (TV Movie) – ITV, 1996

Adapted from: Emma by Jane Austen (1815)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Mark Strong

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My sister loves the Gwyneth Paltrow version released in the same year, but I love this one. Kate Beckinsale exceeds expectations as the naïve matchmaker , and the casting of Mark Strong as Mr Knightly was an excellent choice as the two actors make the budding romance very believable.

3. Little Dorrit – BBC, 2008

Adapted from: Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens (circa 1855)

Starring: Claire Foy, Matthew Macfadyen

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I’m determined to get to the end of this book. I’ve been reading it on and off for about 4 years now, always being interrupted by exams, but this summer I will finish it! I thought Claire Foy portrayed Amy Dorrit beautifully, expressing the complexities of her shy, broken exterior camouflaging her desire to find goodness in everything around her and her growing fondness for Mr Clenham.

2. North & South – BBC, 2004

Adapted from: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskall (1855)

Starring: Daniela Denby-Ashe, Richard Armitage

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I thoroughly enjoyed watching this when it was shown on Drama (Freeview channel 20) last year. I think Richard Armitage was the perfect choice for northern mill owner John Thornton and over time you really start to believe that he’s falling in love with Margaret. I also love how the minor storylines portrayed life during the industrial revolution and the problems of long hours working in the cotton mills, the acting was great.

1. Pride and Prejudice – BBC, 1995

Adapted from: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

Starring: Jennifer Ehle, Colin Firth

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I couldn’t have a post all about period dramas and not include what is probably the most popular of them all. This is the best version ever made (I won’t even mention my disappointment at the 2005 film, despite Keira Knightley’s excellence in all her other roles) and I can’t think of words good enough to explain why. You just need to watch it and see why the world is in love with Mr Darcy…particularly Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy.

So, there’s my list of my favourite Jane Austen novels period dramas. Do you have a favourite?

Photo credit: Wikipedia

February Favourites 2015 (TV Special!)

This month has been spectacular for both the beginning of new shows and the return of some of my favourites.

TV: Mary Portas: Secret Shopper – Tuesdays 8pm Channel 4

Series 1 was all the way back in 2011, but I’m glad to see it’s been renewed for another series.

TV: The Great Comic Relief Bake Off – Wednesdays 8.30pm BBC 1

Hilarity ensured as 16 celebrities braved the Bake Off tent to be crowned Star Baker in aid of Comic Relief (13th March!!). Raw cake, coffee granules mistaken for cocoa powder, a showstopper Ab-Fab cake…and that was just week one! I’m not sure Jonathan Ross’s ‘Yorkshire Pudding’ profiteroles will be attempted again, though…

TV: The Great British Sewing Bee – Thursdays 8pm BBC 2

The Sewing Bee is back for series 3! May and Patrick return to see 10 more amateur sewers fret over complicated patterns and drown in miles of trimmings and embellishments during the alteration challenges. Highlights so far include Paul’s 3D elephant fancy dress costume, Neil’s perfectly matched-up spotty summer dress and Lorna’s adorable child’s dress made from combining a basic t-shirt and patterned frock.

TV: Indian Summers – Sundays 9pm Channel 4

Despite feeling like the episode was over in the blink of an eye, I thought the length for this was a bit odd at 1hr 40 instead of the usual 1 hour slot. However, it’s so gripping that you’re compelled to tune in next week to see what happens. Judi Dench is wonderful in her role and I think it gives a fantastic portrayal of pre-war India wanting to break free from Britain’s hold over them.

Favourite American TV Shows (Ended)

Over the years, I’ve witnessed the unbearable finales of some of my favourite American TV shows :(

Until making this list, I didn’t realise just how much TV I used to watch (I’ve toned it down a bit, seriously!) so I’ve had to omit animated shows such as The Powerpuff Girls and Mona the Vampire

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996)

Apart from replacing the mum*, I don’t think this show had any failed attempts at keeping the audience enraptured in the daily lives of people who couldn’t be more different. From Carlton’s dance to Jazz’s constant rejections while trying to woo Hilary, this show was a definite hit.

*the new actress was very good, but she just didn’t have the sass that the first mum brought to the role.

Frasier (1993-2004)

How Frasier always managed to get himself in such sticky situations I’ll never know, but it certainly was entertaining. Grouped with Niles’ obsessive-compulsive tendencies, Roz’s wit and Martin’s leisurely take on life and they hit a winning formula that deserved all the recognition it got.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (1994-2004)

An obvious choice, I know, but there’s a reason it features on many ‘top shows of the 90’s’ lists – it’s AMAZING! It was funny, dramatic, had some of the best and frequently quoted lines (We were on a break!) and never fails to entertain. Whatever your mood, there’s always a FRIENDS episode to match.

From my sister's FRIENDS poster

From my sister’s FRIENDS poster

3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001)

There was just something so oddly satisfying about watching a group of aliens trying to adjust to modern-day America.

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Credit: Wikipedia

Charmed (1998-2006)

This was such a good programme that really improved with each new series. I’m glad they finally let Phoebe find a husband after years of failed relationships and a dodgy affair with a certain Source of all Evil.

Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006)

This was the show that we always watched during tea time. The only problem was that I never actually realised they’d stopped making it because of the number of re-runs on Channel 5!

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Credit: Wikipedia

Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)

I than the people behind 5* for the constant loop of Gilmore Girls episodes shown during the week (sadly, I can only watch them during school holidays, but I know what happens anyway!) because I only started watching this a few years ago, and managed to get through the whole first series with two weeks.

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Credit: Wikipedia

Scrubs (2001-2010)

The JD/Turk bromance, the over-emotional Elliot, the divorced-but-still-together Dr Cox/Jordan relationship…I miss Scrubs :( They changed it up a bit for series 9, but it would never be the same unless they brought back all the characters. However, I am very excited to hear that they’re making a musical to carry on where the show left off…

Smallville (2001-2011)

I fear I may be alone in wanting Jimmy to come back to life and get back together with Chloe…

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Credit: Wikipedia

Everwood (2002-2006)

Before ‘Revenge’ and ‘Parks and Rec’, Emily VanCamp and Chris Pratt were already famous to the thousands of fans who tuned in to watch Everwood each week. Highlights included Amy/Ephram’s on/off/sort of back on again/definitely off relationship and the Jake/Andy battle for Nina’s affections. Plus, Bright was hilarious.

Season 4 Title Card for 'Everwood'

Credit: Wikipedia

One Tree Hill (2003-2012)

Series 4 will always be my favourite, and I am really impressed with how the characters and storylines developed from introductions in series one to the closure and revelations in series 9. I think Naley (Nathan + Haley) played a part in keeping the show going for so long because fans weren’t ready to say goodbye to them.

Naley

Naley Credit: Wikipedia

Are there any American TV shows you miss?

Top 11 The Voice UK Blind Auditions

Following on from my top 5 blind auditions from The Voice Holland, the UK is next on the list! I think this was the hardest lot to comprise into a top 10 because there were so many I’ve seen that were amazing, hence it’s now a ‘top 11′ list. I haven’t included any from series 4 (the latest one, with Rita Ora replacing Kylie Minogue) because although there have been some good singers, none of them have wowed me like these past contenders did.

11. Bob Blakeley – Series 3 (Cry Me a River – Michael Buble)

10. Vince Freeman – Series 1 (Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon)

9. Liam Tamne – Series 2 (This Woman’s Work – Kate Bush)

8. Kenny Thompson – Series 3 (New York state of Mind – Billy Joel)

7. Chris Royal – Series 3 (Wake Me Up – Avicii)

6. Jaz Ellington – Series 1 (The A-Team – Ed Sheeran)

5. Jamie Bruce – Series 2 (Try a Little Tenderness – Otis Redding)

4. Leanne Jarvis – Series 2 (Stay With Me Baby – Lorraine Ellison)

3. David Faulkner – Series 1 (Superstition – Stevie Wonder)

2. Matt Henry – Series 2 (Trouble – Ray Lamontagne)

1. Ash Morgan – Series 2 (Never Tear Us Apart – INXS)