Monday, 24 October 2016


In Death comes to Pemberley (2013), based on the book by P.D. James, the characters of Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice (1813) are caught in a murder case investigation.

This sumptuous BBC period whodunnit is available since October 12 on French Region 2 DVD from Koba Films.

English crime writer P.D. James (Phyllis Dorothy James, 1920-2014) is best known for the Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries (1), 14 novels published between 1962 and 2008. Her other works include The Children of Men (1992), adapted as a 2006 film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Death comes to Pemberley (2011), her sequel to Pride and Prejudice, is born from her love of both crime fiction and Jane Austen. Of course, Austen is a television favourite and the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (2), starring Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Fitzwilliam Darcy, is a reference.

« It is a fine Pemberley tradition for the master of the house to be irritable on the eve of the ball. »

Aired in three parts on BBC One during Christmas 2013 and later in 2 x 90 minutes on American network PBS, Death comes to Pemberley is directed by Daniel Percival (Strike Back, The State Within) and written by Juliette Towhidi (Calendar Girls). Elizabeth and Darcy have been happily married for 6 years and they have a young son, Fitzwilliam. Elizabeth prepares the annual Lady Anne Ball at their magnificent Pemberley estate (« Ah yes, the chaperones' chairs. Yes, we ran short last year, Mrs Reynolds. ») Darcy’s younger sister Georgiana has two suitors, her cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and Henry Alveston, a young lawyer. Elizabeth finds time to visit the Bidwell family as Will, the son of of Darcy's head coachman Mr Bidwell, is dying.

Later the Darcys welcome Mr and Mrs Bennet, Elizabeth's parents. Married to the ne'er do well George Wickham (« Am I never to get that man out of my life? »), Lydia, their youngest child, is not invited. But on the eve of the great day she tumbles out of a carriage screaming murder and leads Darcy's search party into the Pemberley woods. There, her husband is found near a dead man, covered with his blood. Darcy has to inform Sir Selwyn Hardcastle, the local magistrate. Thanks to its source material and a convincing cast, Death comes to Pemberley successfully combines two of the most popular TV genres: period drama and crime/detective drama.

« You've brought such laughter to Pemberley, Elizabeth. »

Starring Welsh actor Matthew Rhys (The Americans, Brothers and Sisters) as Darcy, Anna Maxwell Martin (The Bletchley Circle) as Elizabeth, Matthew Goode (Wickham), Trevor Eve (Sir Selwyn), Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) as Lydia, Rebecca Front (Lewis) as Mrs Bennet, James Fleet (Mr Bennet), Eleanor Tomlinson (Georgiana), etc. James Norton, who plays Alveston, stars in ITV's detective series Grantchester. Colonel Fitzwilliam is performed by Tom Ward (Silent Witness), who played Lieutenant Chamberlayne in Pride and Prejudice. Is there a ghost in the woods of Pemberley? Why is poachers a "delicate ground" between the Darcy and Hardcastle families? Who is the mysterious Mrs Younge?

Produced by Origin Pictures with Masterpiece in association with Far Moor Media and Lipsync Productions. Supported by the Yorkshire Content Fund, Screen Yorkshire and the European Regional Development Fund. Exec produced by Ed Rubin, Joanna Blackie and P.D. James. David M. Thompson and Eliza Mellor are the producers. Steve Lawes is the cinematographer. Music composed by The Insects (Tim Norfolk and Bob Locke). Filmed in Yorkshire and Derbyshire (Chatsworth House was used as the exterior of Pemberley). The one-disc DVD set of Death comes to Pemberley from Koba Films contains the 2 x 90-minute version with the original dialogue track, subtitled or not.

(1) Roy Marsden portrayed Adam Dalgliesh on television from 1983 to 1998 for ITV. Martin Shaw played the character for the BBC in 2003-2004.
(2) Available on French Region 2 DVD from Koba Films.

Monday, 17 October 2016


From today antibiotics are my new best friends, so "normal service" of this little blog should (hopefully) resume in November.

Currently working on late reviews (DVDs, books).

Wednesday, 12 October 2016


The filming of two new episodes of French pubcaster France 2's hit crime/comedy series Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie has started this week in and around Lille.

Starring Samuel Labarthe (Commissaire Laurence), Blandine Bellavoir (Alice Avril) and Élodie Frenck (Marlène), these two episodes are Le miroir se brisa and L'homme au complet marron. They are both directed by Rodolphe Tissot (The Churchmen/Ainsi soient-ils).

Le miroir se brisa is adapted from Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd by Jennifer Have and Zina Modiano. L'homme au complet marron is based on The Man in the Brown Suit and written by Thierry Debroux. A regrettable drop in the quality of the recent batch of episodes (see our reviews) didn't damage the popularity of Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie.

Filming will take place until December. Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie is produced by Escazal Films and France Télévisions, with the support of Pictanovo and Région Hauts-de-France.


The Night Manager, the brilliant six-part television adaptation of the book written by spy novelist John le Carré (the pen name of David Cornwell), premieres tomorrow in France on pubcaster France 3

This big-budget co-production for the BBC and American cable channel AMC stars Tom Hiddleston (best known as Loki in the Thor and Avengers movies), Hugh Laurie (House), Olivia Colman (Broadchurch), Tom Hollander and Elizabeth Debicki.

The Night Manager marks the return of the work of John le Carré on television 25 years after a TV movie based on A Murder of Quality, and almost 40 years since the BBC version of Tailor Tinker Sailor Spy. Penned by David Farr (Spooks) and helmed by Danish Academy Award-winning director Susanne Bier (Serena), The Night Manager is a clever update of le Carré's 1993 novel on the scale of a James Bond film. Stephen Cornwell and his brother Simon, the author's sons, are behind it through their prodco The Ink Factory. For the big screen they produced Our Kind of Traitor (2016) and A Most Wanted Man (2014), both from novels by their father.

The Night Manager is centered on Jonathan Pyne (Tom Hiddleston), an ex-soldier turned night manager of a luxury hotel in Cairo. At the height of the 2011 Egyptian revolution, Jonathan  receives a plea for help from Sophie Alekan, an elegant and enigmatic guest who's the mistress of playboy Freddie Hamid. Hamid is an associate of Richard Onslow Roper (Hugh Laurie), a British arms dealer posing as a businessman and philanthropist. Pyne makes a decision whose tragic consequences haunt him for ever. Four years later, he works for a prestigious hotel in Switzerland when Roper arrives with his girlfriend Jed (Elizabeth Debicki) and his entourage.

Jonathan Pyne accepts to infiltrate the inner circle of "the worst man in the world" under the supervision of British intelligence operative Angela Burr (Olivia Colman). The Night Manager was filmed in Switzerland, United Kingdom, Morocco, Spain and Turkey (each episode cost £3 million). Produced by The Ink Factory in association with Demarest Films and Character 7 for the BBC and AMC. Exec produced by Stephen Garrett (former head of Kudos), Simon Cornwell and Stephen Cornwell. Rob Bullock is the producer. Music by Spanish composer Victor Reyes (Los nuestros). Michael Snyman is the cinematographer. Opening titles made by Elastic (The Leftovers, True Detective).

Sophie is played by French actress Aure Atika. Though John le carré's book is titled Le directeur de nuit in French, the serial arrives on France 3 as The [pronounced "ZE"] Night Manager: L'espion aux deux visages ("The Night Manager: The spy with two faces"). Swiss TV aired it this summer as The Night Manager. Between Wiseguy (Stephen J. Cannell's show), Shakespeare and the aforementioned Spooks, The Night Manager is pure Must Watch TV in every department, starting with its solid ensemble cast. On BBC One each of the six one-hour episodes caught more than 6m viewers overnight.

Our February 2016 review of the first episode:

Monday, 10 October 2016


Death comes to Pemberley (2013) will be available this wednesday on French Region 2 DVD from Koba Films. This BBC serial adaptation of the P.D. James novel  successfully combines two of the most popular TV genres: period drama and crime drama.
Also available on wednesday on DVD from Koba, El Tiempo entre costuras (The Time in Between), a lavish 2013 Spanish drama based on the novel by María Dueñas. It has to be noted that the DVD set has both the French dubbing and the original Spanish dialogue track.

Reviews ASAP.