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It’s almost unimaginable to me that seven years, nearly to the day, have passed since I started this blog. What began as writing practice morphed into a passion (some would say, an obsession) for British TV and pop culture. The unexpected bonus of interacting with fellow bloggers, telly addicts and Anglophiles has made this exercise an even more rewarding pleasure.

For those who have been around for awhile, you may have noticed that the blog has been quiet recently. For over three months to be exact! There are several reasons for this extended absence.

One is that I’ve been dedicating more time and energy to my freelancing for PBS affiliate WETA’s Telly Visions blog. Gotta pay those bills. I’m sure you understand. This is in addition to my part-time reference duties at a local library.

I also made choices during this period to allocate more of my attention to family commitments. The holidays, obviously, but my children are also in different places in their lives than when I started this endeavor. And so I’ve been making time to help plan a wedding and arrange visits with one who has flown rather far from the nest.

But the main explanation for my truancy has been a change in mission, I suppose. When I began this blog, my main purpose was to share things I had learned about the UK by watching their TV programs. I considered myself a cultural explorer; seeking out traditions, vocabulary, and regional attitudes of the British public based almost solely on how they portrayed themselves in the television medium.

The more I watched, the more I learned. But inevitably, unfamiliar experiences – be they slang words, public institutions or historical references – became fewer and farther between. Indeed, sometimes a tweets-worth of information was all I had to share about an episode of any given show.

At this point I struggled with how to proceed. I had never wanted this to be a conventional review site. There are plenty of places where you can go to read recaps or opinions about the popular series of the day. And there are loads of people who do it better anyway.

Rest assured, I never stopped watching British telly. I was just struggling with a new direction that would be unique for readers and would make me want to write again. As many of you out there can attest, there is nothing worse than feeling the pressure to turn something out while simultaneously lacking any enthusiasm for the process.

With that in mind, I have been mulling over this idea for some time now and it seems 2017 may be the time to implement it. I’m inviting my son Ross to join me in an experiment. We will watch an agreed upon TV series or film and then compare our impressions. Just a 50-something woman and a 20-something man who share some DNA, employment in the library field and a few character traits, but live in different states and have widely varied tastes otherwise.

me-and-ross

 

Our first joint venture will be a discussion of the 2004 costume drama North & South which stars Richard Armitage, Daniela Denby-Ashe and Brendan Coyle. Watch this space as we anticipate our inaugural post will be ready soon.

Thank you for your readership in the past and I hope you’ll join us as we undertake this new approach!

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As some of you might be aware, besides this disorganized, weird and wonderful blog I’ve created for my own pleasure, I also contribute to PBS affiliate WETA’s British TV and culture blog, Telly Visions.  There I mostly write reviews, recaps and miscellaneous articles of British entertainment interest.

My most recent post was a review of the film Cuban Fury which was released on DVD in the US earlier this week.

Cuban Fury Poster  image credit Studio Canal

Cuban Fury Poster
image credit Studio Canal

 

If you’d like to see what I had to say about this British salsa comedy or just want find out what I get up to over at Telly Visions, please click on the link directly below.  If nothing else, there’s a hilarious car park dance-off scene to look forward to.

Five Reasons You Should See ‘Cuban Fury’ | Telly Visions.

 

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who read, vote and comment on my posts. Your participation encourages me to keep doing what I love to do.

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Call off the search! I’m perfectly fine.

For those kind souls out there who may have been wondering and worrying about where I’d disappeared to (to where I’d disappeared?) for the past month I’ve been safe and sound this whole time, sitting on the couch watching some of this:

 

 

and some of that:

 

 

I’ve also been busy writing posts for some really wonderful bloggers such as Smitten by Britain.

SBB logo from Smitten by Britain website

 

 

as well as WETA UK’s blog, Telly Visions.

 

Telly Visions from WETA UK

 

 

Honestly, I’ve been hard at work.  If you don’t believe me, have a look at my latest posts here and here.

And though I’ve been away, I promise that I never once stopped thinking about this blog and the lovely people who somehow found my site and actually take time to read what I write.

So with all of you as my witnesses, I swear to never abandon this blog and you, its readers, in such an inconsiderate way ever again.  I’m energized just thinking about getting back here and blathering on about whatever I like.

Don’t get me wrong! The ladies I work with/for at the aforementioned blogs are brilliant and collaborative and just the kindest people you’d ever want to know…and I’m not just trying to butter up the bosses here.  Hi Melissa!  Hi Lacy!

I look at getting back to my blog as the opportunity to write about random things I love that just don’t fit into the format of more professional British culture sites. Therefore, I suggest you watch out!  I have no bloody idea what I’m doing next, but I’m quite excited about doing it.  I hope you’ll join me when I decide and I promise it will be very soon!

 

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In an effort to provide you, my dedicated readers, with even more tidbits of British culture via the telly, I have started a Facebook fan page.  This page, oddly enough, has the same long-winded and verbose title as this blog… I figured I’ve established a “brand” now so I’d better be consistent. In the Facebook format, I’m able to be brief, timely and spontaneous without being restricted to the arbitrary 140 character limit of Twitter (which I still can’t get the hang of, by the way).  I can share news, photos and video clips without having to craft a full-blown post and for those of you who blog, you know it’s a more difficult task than it might seem.

Not to worry, I’m not abandoning the mothership, as it were.  I will continue to post my longer, slightly more cohesive ramblings here.  The Facebook page just allows me to capture those random nuggets that I want to share with you.  Up to this point I would try to find some contrived way to insert said nuggets into my posts so hopefully this will solution will lead to better blogging and a more informed you.

So if you are a Facebook subscriber and would like to follow my newly launched supplement, just click the Like button you will find midway down this page in the right hand side margin, just below the email subscription button.  You’re just one click away from experiencing the obsession that is my life.  (Between you and me, it’s really not that bad. I do have a job so I can’t be posting all the time and I promise I won’t clog up your FB newsfeed with my rubbish).

And as always, comments on both sites are desperately encouraged…

Thank you for your attention.  That is all…for now.

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I was actually in the midst of writing about something quite mundane (the comedic contributions of mockumentaries and men dressing as women) when I realized that this next post would be my 100th.  Obviously, one hundred is a momentous and, well, very round number.  In just the past week, the 100th anniversary of the heartbreaking sinking of the Titanic was observed.  The broadcasting of the Downton Abbey-esque Titanic mini-series on ABC last weekend, not so impressive. (I’m disappointed in you, Julian Fellowes).

And today there’s this, of course:

100 days to the London 2012 Olympics depicted in soldiers?

So how could I let this occasion pass without doing something out-of-the-ordinary to commemorate this achievement?

When television shows reach 100 episodes they get a big cake or something…

Please note – this Office cake celebrated the century episode of the American version.  The original British show produced only twelve regular episodes and one two-part Christmas special, not all that unusual for a television series in the UK.  Let’s just say I don’t think  BBC producers would have much use for the services of The Ace of Cakes, Duff Goldman.

When tv shows reach this milestone, sometimes they turn it into a trip down memory lane, full of clips from episodes past.  The intent of such an episode used to be to reward loyal viewers by allowing them to reminisce and relive their favorite scenes.  Now in these days of syndication, dvd box sets and online services, no one really wants to see a new episode wasted on something they could just as easily call up on YouTube.  If anyone makes a clip episode anymore, they’re definitely attempting to save a few bucks – or quid, whatever the case may be.

But since my blog budget is non-existent, I’m afraid you’ll have to be content with a summing up of the highlights and exclusive, little known facts behind “Everything I Know about the UK…I Learned from the BBC”.

1.  I often forget the precise wording of the title of my blog and have to pull it up on-line to double-check.

2.  My first post hit the blogosphere on January 17, 2010 and pulled in one, count ’em, one view during the rest of that month.

3.  “Is Bloody Really a Swear Word?” still remains my most viewed post which tells me there are an awful lot of people out there who should probably be joining Ralphie in a little snack.

Lifebuoy, yum!

3. According to my tag stats, I was not surprised to find I have referenced The Office more times than any other series.  Doctor Who came in a respectable second. The fact that I seem to have mentioned Noel Fielding more than any other performer, however, gives me cause for concern:

4. Thursday, July 28, 2011 was the busiest day my blog has seen so far with a total of 123 views in one 24-hour period.  I can’t account for this relatively large number of hits as there were very few referrals from other sites and barely any search terms used that day. My best guess is that one person toggled back and forth between the home page and each individual post.  I guess that’s double dipping but, hey, I’ll take what I can get.

5. After various search engines, Facebook is my biggest source of referrals.  Good for upping the blog numbers, maybe not so good for privacy…

6.  A little known fact, except to those who live in my house: I spend an exorbitant amount of time putting these posts together.  For example, I started working on the bones of this post Monday morning, searched around on YouTube and Google images last night for the media for this piece and have been typing and editing for three hours today.  Oh, and I also must mention that I create all this on a really crap, out-of date computer.  Please someone!  Pay me to do this so I can  justify this hobby/obsession!

7.  I check my blog stats multiple times a day to see if my view count has budged.  I can’t help it…the internet has ruined my attention span and any time management skills I used to possess.

8. I probably average three  hours of British television viewing daily in order to generate material for this blog.  Who am I kidding?  I’d watch that much (or more) if I wasn’t writing this.

9.  All of the readers who officially follow my blog are either family, friends or fellow bloggers.  In fact, my first comment was from a friend and blogger, kymlucas.  She kindly got the ball rolling by elaborating on a post entitled “Croeso I Gymru (Welcome to Wales)”.   Truth be told, I would have hoped to broaden my readership a bit by now, but I greatly appreciate the support of those who take the time to peruse my ramblings!

It doesn’t seem right to end this list here.  It should have 10 items to feel complete, eh? I think it’s that insidious metric system, still chipping away at us.

10. My greatest joy about doing this is when people share their recommendations with me.  My catalog of knowledge grows, which I love, and I usually get a chance to laugh in the process.  Here’s a laugh recommended to me that I’d like to share with you – the classic British comedy of Morecambe and Wise:

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