Thursday, December 22, 2011

Season's Greetings

And so 2011 and the first six months in the life of the Period Drama King blog are coming to an end. All that remains is to have a go at the first annual end-of-year quiz, catch all the goings-on in Downton Abbey, Satis House and 221b Baker Street over the holiday season, look forward to the many delights coming our way next year (starting with Birdsong on the Beeb in January, pictured above) and generally have a merry old Christmastime. I have been thrilled by the fledgling success of this record of my various scribblings and musings and I'd like to thank all those who have supported this enterprise particularly the academic, the vicar, the forensics expert, the coolest couple in town, the Englishwoman, the Belgian, the lawyer, the emigrant, the jester, the blonde, the teachers, the first Mrs Bates and, last but by no means least, the muslin enthusiast. All I can do in gratitude is promise that wherever people are being dramatic in a time other than our own, I shall continue to be there. Period.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Lavinia Swire Period Drama Quiz 2011

1. In the Upstairs Downstairs revival, the cook Mrs Thackeray was relieved to discover that who was to be called George?

2. What was done by firelight in 1969 and on a beach in 2011?

3. "Do you remember the game we used to play when you were a baby? On the coldest winter nights, I'd creep into your room while you were sleeping, all cuddled up in your blanket, and I'd pull it off. Do you remember? I'd pull it off and I'd say that's what God does. That's what God does." Name the mini-series.

4. Tipping the Velvet. Fingersmith. Affinity. What's next in the sequence and why?

5. What did Cary Fukanaga and Andrea Arnold both do this year?

6. The distinguished television director John Howard Davies, who died in August, first found fame as a child actor. What iconic role did he play in 1948?

7. Hattie (pictured above) was a drama based on the life of comedienne and actress Hattie Jacques and depicted, amongst other events, the making of which movie in the Carry On franchise?

8. I have wooed Fanny Brawne, befriended Charles Ryder and been obsessed with scent. Lately, I've decided that the newsreels are dead. Who am I?

9. Headmistress Sarah Burton upsets herself by reflecting on the sacrifice made by her late, lamented intended whilst Lady Mary realises that Captain Crawley has not been killed in action but is very much alive and kicking. What's the connection?

10. In which recently-released period film would you encounter the stoical Mrs Elton, her dilapidated boarding house and its colourful inhabitants?

11. The celebrated actress Margaret Tyzack, who died in June, starred as Soames's sister in the 1967 adaptation of The Forsyte Saga, as Claudius's mother in the 1976 adaptation of I, Claudius and as Verity Hunt's guardian in the 1987 adaptation of what?

12. Gloria Stuart. Judi Dench. Kate Winslet. Joan Crawford. Who is the odd one out and why?

13. If tinker was Toby Jones's Percy Alleline, tailor was Colin Firth's Bill Haydon and soldier was CiarĂ¡n Hinds's Roy Bland, who was sailor?

1. George VI on taking the British throne after his brother's abdication in 1936.

2. The naked wrestling scene in Wome in Love.

3. The Crimson Petal and the White.

4. The Night Watch. It is the latest novel by Sarah Waters to be adapted for television.

5. They both directed adaptations of novels by the Bronte sisters, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights respectively.

6. Oliver Twist.

7. Carry on Cabby.

8. Ben Whishaw.

9. Both scenes involved the singing of First World War standards, Keep the Home Fires Burning in South Riding and If You Were the Only Girl in the World in Downton Abbey.

10. The Deep Blue Sea.

11. Nemesis by Agatha Christie.

12. Joan Crawford. They all played older incarnations of characters played by Kate Winslet (in Titanic, Iris and The Reader) except for Joan Crawford who played the same character as Kate Winslet in an older version of Mildred Pierce.

13. Nobody. Sailor was not used as a codename as it was deemed to sound too similar to tailor.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mad about the Girl

It's all about equal opportunities here at the Period Drama King blog so following on from the first look a few weeks back at Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham in Mike Newell's forthcoming movie adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, one-time Lady Dedlock Gillian Anderson returns to Dickensian territory and dons the wedding dress above in the rival miniseries set to delight BBC One viewers over three consecutive nights this Christmas season starting on the 27th of December. Dickens is not only doing wonders for Miss Anderson's bank balance but also for that of Ralph Fiennes who will not only be seen as Abel Magwitch alongside Bonham Carter on the big screen next year but will also star as the great man himself in a feature film depicting his extra-marital love affair with a young actress twenty seven years his junior named Nelly Ternan that lasted thirteen years until the day of his death.

Felicity Jones, whose breakthrough performance was as Catherine Morland in 2007's Northanger Abbey, will star as Nelly in The Invisible Woman, based on Dickens biographer Claire Tomalin's detailed examination of their secret, passionate relationship for which the novelist left his wife Catherine and risked his considerable reputation. The film, due to shoot in the spring or summer of next year, will also mark Fiennes's second foray behind the camera as director following his highly-acclaimed, soon-to-be-released, modern-day adaptation of Shakepeare's Coriolanus in which he stars alongside Gerard Butler, Jessica Chastain, Brian Cox and Vanessa Redgrave. On the subject of controversial attachments between older men and younger women, the BBC have announced The Girl, a dramatization of director Alfred Hitchcock's obsession with model Tippi Hedren whom he plucked form obscurity to star as the heroine Melanie Daniels in his classic 1963 orthonological suspense thriller The Birds. As he sculpted Tippi into the perfect Hitchcock blonde of his imagination, he became preoccupied with the impossible dream of winning the real woman’s love and his failure arguably destroyed both of their careers.

Writer Gwyneth Hughes, who previously put the regret into Jane Austen with Miss Austen Regrets, has conducted extensive interviews with Hedren herself and surviving members of Hitchcock's crew. Directed by another chronicler of the life of Miss Austen, Becoming Jane helmer Julian Jarrold, the single film will feature Toby Jones and Sienna Miller in the main roles with Imelda Staunton and Penelope Wilton as the other women in Hitchcock's life, his wife Alma and his loyal assistant Peggy Robertson respectively. Both the ballad of Charles and Nelly and the ballad of Alfred and Tippi are quite well-known in popular culture but have been under-represented on screen so I for one am very excited about both projects. It's always nice to see a new story being told rather than the same old ones about humble orphans and crazy old ladies in wedding dresses that take a shine to them. That said, I know where I'll be on December 27th and no mistake!