Brit-Box Trilogy of Entertainment Vera, Maigret, & Shakespeare & Hathaway

Mar 23, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze, TV

by Kathleen Costa

Tech Heaven!
I’ve been a fan of British television and movies since the early sixties. Mysteries, secret agents, romance, humor, and of course, all the Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing horrors had me glued to the television every Saturday. But, getting productions in the U.S. was relegated to a hit-and-miss and incomplete airing on PBS stations, and don’t get me started on BBC America! So, it was a gift from tech heaven finding BritBox. For a reasonable monthly or annual fee, I have access to a wide range of comedies, drama, mysteries, documentaries—all with excellent video/audio quality using any of my devices.

Join the discussion on Facebook – BritBox US.

mystery TVVera is Back! Season Nine earns 5/5 Trenchcoats…Brilliant!
Brenda Blethyn reprises her title role as veteran Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope of the fictional Northumberland & City Police in this award-winning British crime drama. Entering its ninth season Vera returns with four 90-minute episodes based in part on the novels written by crime writer Ann Cleeves. Her signature disheveled trench coat and hat is in contradiction to the calculating, decisive manner she employs with her investigations. She is a task master and doesn’t accept mistakes from her team or evasion from persons of interest, but she is an enigma showing a softer, caring side toward her team, witnesses, victims, and suspects using her signature “luv,” “pet,” and “sweetheart” references. Partner DS Aiden Healy (Kenny Doughty) and DC Kenny Lockhart (Jon Morrison) have also returned along with introducing a new DC Jacqueline “Jac” Williams (Ibinado Jack) and the prickly, by-the-book pathologist Dr. Malcom Donahue (Paul Kaye). The stories, the cast, and the Northumbria coast make Vera the most popular detective show.

Join in the discussion on Facebook – Join Vera Fan Club.
Fun YouTube interview Brenda Blethyn Returns as Vera | This Morning (6:04)

Blind Spot—Fifteen-year-old cold case leads to murder, but secrets revealed are quite the twist! Guest star was part of cast of As Time Goes By.
Cuckoo—Murder leads detectives into drug trafficking ending with a shocking twist! Another one…do you see a pattern?
Cold River—The murder seems clear cut until the crime scene, cold case, and motive is found. Guest star sighting Thomas James-Collier (Thomas Barrow in Downton Abbey).
The Seagull—Skeletons. Missing persons. Is that Vera’s dad in the photograph?

Monsieur Maigret…A Pair of Thumbs Up!
Maigret is based on George Simenon’s novels about French detective Jules Maigret inspired by Chief Inspector Marcel Guillaume, the greatest French detective and friend of the author. Although the books were adapted for movies and television in several international incarnations, including Japanese, it’s the English versions airing on BritBox that have grabbed my Francophile attention. It may be 1950s Paris, but the filming was in Budapest, dubbed the Paris of the East, and the Hungarian countryside. “Paris isn’t much like it was in 1955,” Rowan Atkinson explained in an interview (4/16/17). And…no French accents, despite French names, locale, and post WWII references, the cast is entirely British.

mystery tvBritBox is airing two of the English versions; both are excellent and had me binging all weekend! First up, the 2016-17 series starred Rowan Atkinson (Blackadder; Mr. Bean) in the title role with four 90-minute telemovies. His slight build and quiet manner illustrated well the introspective nature of Maigret. In 1992-93 Michael Gambon (Harry Potter’s Dumbledore) made the role of Maigret his own in twelve 60-minute episodes. A bit more imposing, his performance still portrayed a quiet manner. Both characters still have the signature pipe, an endearing wife, and a team of loyal detectives. Only one episode was part of both versions, Maigret Sets a Trap, adapted from Simenon’s novel published in 1955; the 90-minute version offered more detail, more drama than the 60-minute episode, but both were excellent.

Maigret Sets a Trap—Women are being targeted by a serial killer, so a clever ruse to Trip up the killer is devised by Maigret and his team. But with the number one suspect in custody, another murder occurs. Where did they go wrong?

Shakespeare & Hathaway, Private Investigators Top of my 2019 Favorites!
This brand new original comedy-drama, having rocketed itself to the top of my favorites in 2019, stars Joy Joyner who was introduced to me through her role as a quirky vicar/ghost in the delightful comedy Marley’s Ghost and headmistress in the must see drama Ackley Bridge. The ten 45-minute “cozy” episodes partner two very unlikely people, Frank Hathaway (ex-cop/struggling PI) and Luella “Lu” Shakespeare (ex-hair dresser/bride/widow/murder suspect). Together with a delightful assistant/hopeful actor Sebastian Brundewell (Patrick Walshe McBride) who often is their go-to undercover guy, Hathaway’s former partner DI Marlowe who’s conflicted about their interference, and “snarky” DS Keebler who’s very much by-the-book, the group investigates murder and mayhem in the picturesque Stratford-upon-Avon. From residential care facilities to the dramatic stage, from funeral directors to magicians, from mayors to divas to long-lost relatives, Shakespeare and Hathaway work well together, stay only slightly ahead of the bill collectors, and build a marvelous friendship. And Stratford-Upon-Avon is a beautiful setting with the brick and timber architecture channeling all “Old William” can muster. mystery tv

Ep 1 — O Brave New World Frank Hathaway (Mark Benton) interviews a “much needed” paying client. Lu Shakespeare (Jo Joyner) has suspicions her fiancé is having an affair with his secretary and hires Hathaway to find out. But, she confronts her fiancé learning he needed the woman’s advice on a family heirloom he’d planned to give Lu. Misunderstanding. Case closed. However, Hathaway and his assistant discovered some disturbing details about the groom, but they are too late when now husband’s dead body is discovered implicating Lu in murder. Fun! Addictive entertainment!

Keep an eye out for these BritBox gems, too!

Emerald Falls
—Aussie gem! Mother and son investigate the death of a family friend, but uncover more than they could imagine. (2008; 90-minute telemovie)

DSI Bancroft
—Sarah Parish stars as the model DSI, well liked by colleagues, but her past enters her present. (2017; four 60-minute episodes)

Quirke—Noir Drama! Gabriel Byrne and Michael Gambon top this crime drama in 1950s Dublin. (2014; three 90-minute episodes)

Blackadder—Iconic British comedy! Rowan Atkinson stars in several seasons of comedy through several English periods medieval thru to WWI. (1983-1988; twenty-five 30-minute episodes)

Marley’s Ghost—Modern Fun! Marley Wise (Sarah Alexander) sees…lives with dead people: her husband (John Hannah), her lover, and the local vicar (Joy Joyner). (2015-2016; nine 60-minute episodes)

Free Trial Offer on BritBox?
Check out the website for any free trial offers…just imagine what you can watch in a week. You’ll be hooked! The monthly fee is very reasonable to continue as a member.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast! A new episode went up this week! They are also available on iTunes and Google Play.

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.


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