Afternoon all! I do apologize for the lateness of my weekend binge review! I had one of my famous ‘lapse-in-concentration-and -motivation’ starts to the weeks. While some people may suffer a crisis of confidence for an evening, I wallow in self-doubt for at least 72 hours! My cross to bear 😀
Last weekend I took a trip back through time to distant lands. I spent six episodes watching a class struggle played out through union strikes and witnessed the birth of professional football in The English Game, set in Lancashire and London in the 1870s. I then traveled across the pond to the west coast of the United States, following a group of amateur detectives from England outsmart the authorities and serial killers in The Bletchely Circle: San Francisco, set in the 1950s.
Both shows deal with issues of class and racism in different time periods. At the same time both shows are easy watches. They are both slightly predictable in their endings but are both really enjoyable. If you like football (soccer) then the former is for you. If you like detective stories then the latter is for you. Luckily, I love both!
Fergus Suter (Kevin Guthrie), moves from Scotland to Darwen, Lancashire, with his Partick teammate Jimmy Love, to play football for Darwen F.C. Darwen are in the quarter final of the F.A. Cup against the much favored Old Etonians, captained by star player Arthur Kennaird. What follows is the struggle between the upper-class Old Etonians and the working class Lancashire clubs like Darwen and Blackburn Rovers. We follow those three clubs as thier fortunes and futures change along with the future of the English game.
This was a very enjoyable show. You had the mix of family struggles and the joy of playing sport – a sport in its infancy. Football fans will have a laugh watching the rugby-style that was played back then. While the show delves into more serious topics such as class, poverty and the ignorance of the upper-class, it is not bogged down by these issues.
It is relatively predictable but that doesn’t stop you playing every game, kicking every ball and celebrating every goal along with ‘Suter the Shooter’.
Guthrie is brilliant as the quiet, shy but assured Fergus Suter, a man torn between his love of the game and the needs of his family.
Edward Holcroft plays Arthur Kennaird. Many believe Kennaird to be the first real star of the game. He won five F.A. Cups and was in the final a record nine times. Holcroft is very convincing as the troubled star, wondering whether he and his posh friends are harboring a more malicious intent with trying to deny the smaller clubs their fair due.
Would recommend but also appreciative of the fact that the subject matter and the pace of the show might turn people off. 6.5/10.
This show is a favourite of mine. OK, it gets way too fantastical towards the end of the series, with our detectives getting themselves wrapped up in Cold War plots and state secrets. There is no denying these characters are curious and inquisitive. However, the magic of the first few episodes where they used logic and their skills to solve a series of murders is lost as they survive on pure chance in extravagant plots towards the end. It is still enjoyable and fans of the original series will be happy to see Millie (Rachael Stirling) and Jean (Julie Graham) back to solve more murders and plots across the pond.
The follow up series deals with race, sexuality and misogyny in abundance. The team is made up of four women – two white, one black and one lesbian (lesbian is not a skin colour I know). They are not going to be the most respected group in America during the civil rights movement and the beginning of the Cold War. Luckily, the Bletchley Circle deal with these setbacks and differences the only way they know how; by doubling down and showing the police, the FBI and their suspects that they will always solve the crime.