by Kathleen Costa
After a couple of years as a member, I am still an eager fan of BritBox, a streaming option for all things any Anglophile would love, checking out the new additions every week. I have binged decades-ago favorites from comedies (Are You Being Served? Again!, Fawlty Towers, and Upstart Crow) to detective/crime dramas (A Touch of Frost, Inspector Morse, and Cadfael) and current productions (Vera, Shetland, and Coronation Street) and documentaries (Mary Berry and Suffragettes). I’ve also discovered a host of new shows (Hold the Sunset, EastEnders, and Holby City) that I found intriguing gems and well worth a look or two. Although I opted for an annual membership, the available monthly membership fee is very reasonable. Check it out!
The Blake Mysteries is a great Aussie Gem!
Due to issues best left for a different venue, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, a personal favorite currently airing the final two seasons on BritBox, was cancelled after five seasons. Fans clamored for something, so this spin-off was created with much of the main cast reprising their roles. Jean Blake (Nadine Garner), formerly the housekeeper/receptionist/confidant Mrs. Beazley, was set to marry Dr. Lucien Blake at the end of season five…they did, and for three years, she proudly answers to Mrs. Blake. Chief Superintendent Matthew Lawson (Joel Tobeck) has returned to lead the police investigations, but an injury suffered in the past has left him with an obvious limp and cane. Dr. Alice Harvey (Belinda McClory), formerly the medical coroner, is now the police surgeon, the position Dr. Blake once held. She is concerned about continuing her relationship with Lawson because of how it appears; it was his recommendation that secured her promotion. Pulling up the rear, Sergeant Bill Hobart (David Whiteley) returns still with a brusque demeanor, and new character, the young Constable Peter Crowe (Joshua Orpin), joins the team, a bit naive, but eager to learn. Caught up in the investigation is Amy Parks (Emma Annand) who stirs up Jean’s maternal instincts accepting the offer of employment. It’s a great cast, and although I seriously miss Craig McLachlan as Dr. Blake, we can only hope that one day he returns.
“Ghost Stories” earns 5/5 Aussie Treats…Entertaining!
Part 1 (42:21); Part 2 (45:02)
It’s 1963, Oswald has just been killed, and Dr. Blake has been missing for eight months. He went off to Sydney on the trail of a lunatic, and in the chase, he went off a bridge. No body has been found and Jean is trying to move on, but as she says, “there’s no justice without answers.” She has moved on from her housekeeper days, now a councilwoman, but she has her husband’s curiosity and critical mind for details. She recognizes inserting herself into investigations or going off on a hunch serves to fill the time.
The murder investigation started with a gruesome discovery made by a young scout on a camping trip. Ghost stories surrounding the murders/suicide at the abandoned Stanton House were too enticing for a group of pre-teen boys to ignore. They dared the meekest boy to sneak into the house and steal something…anything. Instead he comes out screaming having found more than he expected. And when he runs back to camp, another dead body is found in the woods…their scout leader.
To make matters even more interesting, the local newspaper is creating its own “news” publishing insightful and detailed reports on “Unsolved” cold cases: Triple murder/suicide. A fire killing two. Drownings in the river. Lovers Lane murders. Each case seems ripe for revisiting, but the motive of the reporter is suspicious.
One and Done?
I really enjoyed this telemovie, and although it’s not the original, the cast, the writing, and the Aussie flair were spot on. I was ready for the other three telemovies originally reported. Sadly, I learned that the decision was made to only do one. I hope the fans unite and plead to have the series continue. It’s definitely a gem of which I’d like more. And Dr. Blake? Maybe the real-life issues will be resolved, and McLachlan’s return as Dr. Blake is possible.
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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