by Kathleen Costa
Finding entertainment during this “stay at home” season may be challenging, however, for me, it is as close as my iPad and the BritBox app. I am a happy Anglophile with a huge library of movies, mini series, and television shows included in my very reasonable membership (monthly or annual fee options). I can start with a couple comedy shows like Waiting for God and Scarborough or dramas like DSI Bancroft and Casualty 1900s: London Hospital, or get comfy for a long weekend of binging all of thriller MI-5 and police procedural Prime Suspect. I have also found new-to-me shows like Taggart, Blandings, and The Mallorca Files offering lots of entertainment.
Iconic shows with iconic actors have found a home at BritBox! Vera, the literary creation of Ann Cleeves, remains one of the most popular shows with edgy crimes, clever investigations, surprising twists, and a fascinating, yet subtle, dynamic between the main characters. First introduced in 2011, Vera is now entering its tenth season, and it is reported that an eleventh season is set for 2021. Move over, Miss Marple, Vera is back in town!Another Iconic Coat and Hat!
No, it’s not Sherlock Holmes in his Inverness cape and deerstalker cap; it’s Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn), dressed in her Mac and bucket hat and driving her well-used Land Rover. A woman past typical retirement, she isn’t ready to hang up her hat and head off to the nearest senior citizen home. In her role as Detective Chief Inspector of the CID, she is meticulous, clear-thinking, and demanding of her team…a lot like Holmes. But unlike London, the Northumberland region has a more varied setting ranging from high lands to the North Sea coast, local pubs to big factories, out-of-the-way villages to metropolitan neighborhoods. Plenty of places for the dark side to invade.
Season 10 Earns 5+/5 Bucket Hats
Vera works her team hard, but always with positive results. DS Aiden Healy (Kenny Doughty) is Watson to her Sherlock, assisting with interviews, acting as sounding board, occasionally her protector when she takes one too many chances, and although often exasperated by some of her quirks, he has a deep respect. DS Kenny Lockhart (Jon Morrison) has been with her the longest, following all her “barking” orders, never a rolled eye. There’s also her research and tech support in DC “Jack” Williams (Ibinabo Jack) and DC Mark Edwards (Riley Jones), and the coroner Dr. Malcolm Donahue (Paul Kaye) with whom she has biting banter…lots of eye rolling there.
Blood Will Tell Disgruntled wife, loan sharks, and a family-owned pub all twists around a murder of a philandering husband and arson.
ICYMI—I am fascinated by the various pub locations used in filming. This was a favorite with the wood beams and all the ale on tap! Lovely place to hang out. Pubs have a fascinating history…Wikipedia—Public Houses
Parent Not Expected Genealogy forum, birth father search, and prescription drug trade tangles around the death of a young teenager.
ICYMI—Ok, who likes “mushy” peas? Not, Vera. I love peas, fresh and frozen, but “mushy” left me nonplussed. However, it’s suppose to be a good side for fish ‘n chips! Check out this recipe All Recipes—Mushy Peas recipe.
Dirty Questionable business practices, past relationships, and cold case secrets envelope the murder of a troubled young man.
ICYMI—Tea. For the victim’s loved ones, a witness, even a prep in custody, there’s always someone making tea. Mugs. Milk or sugar? WikiHow—How to Make English Tea includes helpful pictures.
The Escape Turn Home invasion, dog track gambling, and dysfunctional family makes the death of a wealth man difficult to solve.
ICYMI—Do you recognize Daniel Laurie (portrays Adam Beecher) as the young actor from Call the Midwife?
ICYMI—In Case You Missed It
Aye! This season’s four telemovies were as engaging as any previous season strengthening my loyal and eager fan status. The homicide that introduces each episode is never clear cut and often leads the detective team in various avenues of interest close to the victim and often radiating out to past and present friends and business connections. The team’s brainstorming, tech research, theorizing, and legwork are realistic and seems to accurately portray British law enforcement. This wide view and realism creates a compelling drama, but wait! There is always a surprising and sometimes shocking final conclusion. It isn’t out of nowhere and is based in “what could reasonably happen.” As engaging the crime side drama, there are limited references to or personal stories about the team itself. Although over ten seasons, fans have had some insights into their families and background, the series, as with season ten, focuses only on their reactions and how it spurs them to solve the crime.
Brenda Blethyn has made herself an iconic figure with her disheveled appearance and strong manner. Her portrayal of the title character is astounding, considering she’s a spry 74-year-old woman with no signs of slowing down. She’s in every scene, often in and out of the car, trekking up and down streets and cliffs, and a few times running along a rocky beach. Blethyn is also brilliant in depicting a Northumberland personality and the Geordie accent; she previously admitted it was a professional challenge, but to me it seems effortless. The Geordie accent is really a “strong regional dialect, with many of its own words for common things,” and her manner is delightful, including her signature use of “pet,” “love,” and “sweetheart” to victim’s families, witnesses, and even a few of the snarky perps.
Other Iconic Detectives on BritBox
A Touch of Frost (David Jason)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot (David Suchet)
Inspector Morse (John Thaw)
Midsomer Murders (John Nettles)
Prime Suspect (Helen Mirren)
Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett)
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.
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