Episodes – TV Review


I love British comedy. Not all British comedy – I just cannot bring myself to turn on Mrs Brown’s Boys – but a lot of it. Sometimes, someone in the US also likes a British sitcom and then everyone starts to worry; at least if the person liking it is  a producer. Episodes is a British/US collaboration on just this and it is marvellous.

Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Grieg) are a successful British writing team who have just won a BAFTA for their comedy Lyman’s Boys. Seduced by an American producer, they head to Hollywood to create an American version, and it is a disaster at every step – starting by replacing the main actor, Julian Bullard (played by the recently very sadly deceased Richard Griffiths) with youthful American star Matt Le Blanc (playing a wonderful fictionalised version of himself.

I loved it. It’s clever and witty and very hilarious. The cast is fabulous, not least the brilliant Daisy Haggard doing the most amusing faces as the head of comedy. I think the show is watching just for her reactions. Brilliant.

Hugo (2011) Film Review


Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is an orphan who lives about the Paris train station, hiding from the evil Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen), watching and stealing small parts from toy booth owner Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley) and rebuilding the automaton his father (Jude Law) was fixing before he died. Before long, Hugo befriends the god-daughter of Georges Melies, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz) and they embark on the adventure of finding what the world hold, and what place they have within it.

It’s a sweet little story, tying in with some of the real history of cinema, but it just didn’t win me over. Why, I wonder? The story and characters were strong, and it was certainly beautiful. Perhaps it was the acting.  I felt that the young lead was doing far too much eyebrow and mouth acting, like Daniel Radcliffe throughout the Harry Potter films. I think when you see films with amazing child actors, you know that there is better than this. I really had very little interest in what happened to Hugo, and I guess that is pretty important to the film. I think there was also the element of brushing over the ugly side of life; yes, the orphans were captured by the evil Station Inspector, but I didn’t feel the fear that they were trying to portray here.

Hugo won Oscars for Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Best Achievement in Visual Effects and Best Achievement in Art Direction. It was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing (Martin Scorsese) Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (John Logan), Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Costume Design and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score.