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Jason King & Mr Norrell

I am re-reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, because the TV series has gone away and left me, and I miss it. It's nice to revisit the book, as it's been quite some time since I last read it, and I had forgotten bits. Also it's fun seeing which bits made the TV series and which didn't, and which bits the TV series made up. Slightly disappointed that one of my favourite bits of the series wasn't actually in the book - Strange's introduction to Wellington, which I loved. It's that "I'm Strange." ; "Indeed..." which was so perfect; although admittedly that was 99% down to Ronan Vibert's line delivery, and Ronan Vibert definitely isn't in the book. Or at least, he isn't in my copy, which is a terrible shame - though probably not if you're Ronan Vibert. (I readily concede that it's unlikely you are).

Elsewhere, I am still Department S-ing. It's nice to know that, though years pass and casts move on, and new series come to take the place of the old, some things always remain. Such as the fact that, in any Monty Berman production one cares to name, getting into a white Jaguar Mk II means a one way trip over a cliff. Seriously, for your own protection folks, never accept a ride in a white Jaguar Mk II. It will fly over a cliff. Even if there isn't a cliff. Trust me on this. Even more impressively, it will always be the same cliff, wherever in the world you happen to be. I suspect a conspiracy.

Department S is proving very entertaining, anyway. I'm not watching it in order, which is generally for the best with these things. The problem with Network is that they diligently arrange shows on DVD into their original production order, which is very sweet and helpful, but fails to take into account that there was a good reason for the production order - such as prop and location availability - which means that you tend to get a rash of episodes with very similar plots, all in a row. It also means, quite infamously amongst fans of The Champions, that the episode "The Interrogation" is on Disc 2, which doesn't make an ounce of sense, as it clearly takes place far later on, and I'm waffling about the correct order of episodes in a little-remembered telefantasy show, aren't I. Shut up, that's a perfectly normal pursuit.

Anyways, I'm quite taken with Department S. It's not as good as its Championy stablemate, but it's very nicely done, and the characters are engaging. I'm also impressed by how Sullivan's boss manages to be black, at a time when almost every other show on British TV had failed to notice that there are black people in the world, let alone that they might like to act occasionally. Otherwise it follows a very similar template to The Champions. A threesome of crimefighters (except this time they're not an actual threesome), with one being an action man, one the more cerebral type, and one a genius, heavily science-orientated woman. There are differences of course. Stuart Sullivan is far more down-to-earth than Craig Stirling, and doesn't hurl himself into danger with quite so much wild glee; Jason King and Richard Barrett certainly don't dress alike (thank heaven); and Annabelle Hurst is clearly in (requited, if hesitant) love with Sullivan, whereas Sharron Macready was very much one of the guys. Necessarily, one might quietly point out, given that Craig and Richard always seemed more interested in each other. All the same, it's clear that Monty Berman and co liked the basic template. They must have liked the actors, too - Sharron just turned up in an episode of Department S, as a fabulously two-faced blackmailer. In celebration, I decided to give Peter Wyngarde's episode of The Champions a spin. Damn, but that's a good show. Sorry, Department S, but you'll never be half as good a crimebusting squad as Nemesis.

But to get to the point (yes, there was one!), who should turn up in an episode called "The Man In The Elegant Room", but Juliet Harmer, formerly of Adam Adamant Lives!. So, beneath the cut, is Georgie Jones undercover as an art critic. In living colour!

Hello, Georgie.

1960s telephones, as big as your head, and twice as heavy! And check out that twisted cloth lead!

Included especially for liadtbunny - the strange sight of Jason King dressed sensibly. Not a kaftan in sight! Although that might have been preferable to disappearing into the carpet. So much brown, and it's not even the seventies yet...


( 16 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Jul. 14th, 2015 07:12 am (UTC)
I started to read Jonathan Strange a few years ago and stopped because I just couldn't get into it at all. I hardly ever stop reading a book, I have to say ...
Jul. 14th, 2015 07:24 am (UTC)
It does seem quite a niche thing. People either love it, or give up altogether!

Might be worth you trying the TV series, if you're interested in the plot but not the book. It's been very popular with both book fans and those who haven't read it. No idea if it's likely to air in Germany though...
Jul. 14th, 2015 10:51 am (UTC)
Probably some time in the very distant future ...
Jul. 14th, 2015 07:51 pm (UTC)
It's worth waiting for, honest!
Jul. 14th, 2015 08:31 am (UTC)
*checks to see if self=Ronan Vibert* Nope, sorry 'bout that.

I'm missing JS horribly. Sundays are not the same.

it will always be the same cliff
Same clip inserted into every show? How very impressively economical and recycl-y of them.

Prehistoric tech is a little frightening. How did we survive?
Jul. 14th, 2015 08:02 pm (UTC)
Fortunately, JS&MN is still underway in the States, so there's a fair bit of ancilliary gubbins about. Fills a bit of a hole. Nice interviews here and here, and a promising looking new blog from Peter Harness here. Nothing there yet, barring a pretty banner, but might be worth keeping an eye on. That first interview thingy is rather good, for the character insight from Marsan and Carvel. Marsan describes Norrell as being jealous of Strange, but wanting "to possess him", which is half tragic and half deeply sinister. Also somewhat slashy, but I'm trying to avoid thinking that, as slash + Norrell is probably a swift route to madness. It's nicely fic-prompty though...

YouTube playlist of behind the scenes bits here. Nice little Twitter thing here, that somebody pointed me at the other day. Good old Childermass!

But yeah. Not the same as new episodes. :(
Jul. 14th, 2015 09:46 pm (UTC)
You are a fount of wonders! *glee*

Re: slashiness, I have a yen for some Raven King/Strange or Raven King/Stephen Black. A few hundred years in fairyland is a long time not to be getting any: I expect he's quite in the mood when he eventually shows up.

I expect someone will already be right on that, and I'm going to investigate.
Jul. 15th, 2015 07:00 am (UTC)
Oh dear. Be careful what you read! Some things should never be discovered. ;)
Jul. 14th, 2015 09:22 am (UTC)
I see Georgie, though, is doing her best to fight the oncoming brown with purple and sunflowers. I'd expect nothing less. :-)

Jul. 14th, 2015 08:03 pm (UTC)
She looks good in colour, doesn't she! And yes, a fine strike back against the terrors of brown.
Jul. 14th, 2015 03:01 pm (UTC)
On the back of the colour Callan eps set Network proudly proclaim they are in right order, as it was messed up when broadcast, but it still isn't as Cross and Lonely forget they met a couple of eps earlier. Old TV is daft.

Gasp, Jason King looking normal! I think Georgie is going to bash him over the head with a canvas though.

They used to fight to get a white jag out for car over the cliff scene. It cost a lot apparently! I don't know why they didn't choose a cheaper car.

This isn't true - black people do exist in 60's TV! As noble savage African Kings, er, moving swiftly on....
Jul. 14th, 2015 08:06 pm (UTC)
It's not just old TV. People have been arguing over the proper order of "Robin Of Sherwood" for years.

Actually, I suppose technically that is old, isn't it. Eep.
Jul. 15th, 2015 02:11 pm (UTC)
Over thirty years! Def old if it's a tractor;p
Jul. 15th, 2015 02:59 pm (UTC)
All things considered, I'm pretty sure it's not...
Jul. 14th, 2015 10:24 pm (UTC)
There's a TV series I like called Garrison's Gorillas which pretty much no one outside of China has heard of - it was very popular in China, for some reason. Anyway, one of the characters randomly turns up in a horrible brown suit that looks almost the same as that. It wouldn't surprise me if it was the same suit, as Garrison's Gorillas was also made in the 60s and studios were well known for recycling outfits.

I haven't seen Department S at all, though I keep on hearing about it. I also keep on hearing about The Champions, which I have seen, and I'm fighting the urge to buy the DVDs.
Jul. 15th, 2015 06:58 am (UTC)
That's an American series, I think? But no, it wouldn't entirely surprise me either, especially as it only lasted one season, and they could quite easily have tried flogging off the costumes cheap. It's remarkable how the same props and costumes move around from place to place!

It became quite a game amongst fans of SG:1 to spot the Doctor Who TVM props amongst piles of alien artefacts, for instance; and the props and costumes from Irwin Allen's various 60s sci-fi shows are pretty infamous for their reappearances!
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