athousandwinds: (I <3 books)
I was watching the second episode of Crooked House (the Christmas haunted house drama by Mark Gatiss, not a hitherto unknown adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel) and while it wasn't terribly scary (I only screamed once, and I'm incredibly squeamish about horror), it made me think.

Is it just me, or is there a trope with regard to upper-class men in costume dramas dealing with the first half of the twentieth-century? One of them's going to be gay. At least. (Particularly if we're talking Edwardians or the late 1920s.) It can't all be due to Sebastian Flyte and Merchant-Ivory, can it?

N.B. I am not complaining, merely commenting.

Speaking of unexpected gay characters in historical dramas! I was reading Pleasure for Pleasure by Eloisa James and that was probably the best part.

spoilers! )

All in all, it was a good read - better than Kiss Me, Annabel and The Taming of the Duke, which I should also talk about at some point, but I think Much Ado About You is the best of the bunch. But there are no stealth lesbians in Much Ado, which is a great pity.
athousandwinds: (icon by luna norvegese)
Just been house-hunting. We looked at one which has damp and which is cold; the current tenant claims that it's not a problem. Also, the fourth bedroom is right at the top of a set of corkscrew stairs, which could be problematic when drunk. Everything else seems all right, though.

Is anyone else having problems with iPlayer? Whenever I try and put something on, it tells me that the content isn't working right now and that I should check back later (this has been going on for at least a week?). Thankfully it didn't conk out in the middle of Einstein and Eddington, else I would've screamed.

Einstein and Eddington, by the way:

spoilers )
athousandwinds: (icon by prettypictures)
Something I've been thinking of for a while:

Lenny Henry was recently embroiled in a race row over lack of non-white people in television, both in front of the camera and behind it. Read the Guardian article, it's excellent and brings up a number of important points. Reading over it again, I think I agree with just about everything in it. But the part I want to discuss particularly is:

As well as more diversity in the industry, more ideas from a wider range of writers, producers and directors are vital to hold up a mirror to contemporary Britain, he says. In the speech, he joked about Sunday being the night that the National Front would stay in and watch television that depicted "blue skies, green fields, white people".

Not much has changed, he ventures, with the wall to wall period dramas that now dominate - including Lark Rise to Candleford, starring his wife Dawn French. As a recent English graduate, he is bursting with ideas for other adaptations that don't always feature an overload of "bonnets and crinolines".

Now, I will admit freely that I am fairly in love with costume dramas. They're the one genre which I will go out of my way to watch; not even sci-fi or comedy gets that kind of viewer loyalty from me. And I fully agree that it would be brilliant to see something that wasn't part of the BBC's stock parade of empire waistlines and pantaloons, much as I adore them, and particularly something that isn't whiter than a BNP meeting. And no, random black characters showing up in 12th century England or as vicars in the Victorian age doesn't help, I don't think, since it only gets the producers ridiculed. Even Djaq in Robin Hood, much as I love her, makes no sense in context (interestingly enough, I think the writers are much more comfortable with her gender issues than her race issues).

So. What novels, what stories do you have in mind that would make for brilliant adaptations, that feature characters of colour?

Wide Sargasso Sea (done in the last two years, but only as a complement to the all-white Jane Eyre)
Death Comes As the End (Ancient Egyptian murder mystery)
Gilgamesh (along with truly great adaptations of the Iliad and Odyssey. Though Gilgamesh would almost certainly work better in a cinema, where it could be properly epic)
The Queen's Fool (centred around a Jewish girl in Tudor England)
A Great and Terrible Beauty (admittedly, not a finished series. But it has crinolines and Indian characters. Well, one. It probably doesn't qualify for this list, thinking about it.)

Last, and this is only because I'm reading it right now, a Count of Monte Cristo series which incorporates the book's actual ending (where he marries his Indian slave, Haydée, rather than Mercedes) would be fantastic. I'm just up to the part where he's actually put in prison, so I don't know how uncomfortable the race issues get to a modern audience; please feel free to smack me down on this one.

My pipedream: a series, probably for children, which tells a different mythological story each week. Animated, to save on costs, and done sort of Jackanory style (based on my very, very vague memories of Jackanory). Sheherezade could be the narrator and it's not like you'd ever, ever run out of material. The Arabian Nights alone could go for years. A lot of them would have to be watered-down for after-school fare (can you imagine trying to explain that one story about Horus and Set? "Well, they had sex but Horus caught Set's semen in his mouth and spat it out into the river and then he jacked off onto some lettuce..."), which makes my inner classical scholar cry a little, but even so.


athousandwinds: (Default)

September 2012



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