Posts Tagged ‘James Nesbitt’

Just thought I’d shoot off a quick Five for Friday to remind everyone that it’s Mo-vember, that month-long campaign to raise awareness of men’s health issues by growing some hair above your lip. For those of you who are already sporting a bit of stubble, here are a few examples you might want to aspire to.


Ronnie Barker as Albert Arkwright in Open All Hours image credit BBC

Ronnie Barker as Albert Arkwright in Open All Hours
image credit BBC


Stephen Fry as General Melchett on Blackadder Goes Forth image credit BBC

Stephen Fry as General Melchett in Blackadder Goes Forth
image credit BBC


David Suchet as Hercule Poirot image credit Carnival Film & Television

David Suchet as Hercule Poirot
image credit Carnival Film & Television


John Cleese as Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers image credit BBC

John Cleese as Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers
image credit BBC


James Nesbitt at Tommy Murphy in Murphy's Law image credit Tiger Aspect Productions

James Nesbitt at Tommy Murphy in Murphy’s Law
image credit Tiger Aspect Productions

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As promised, I return with another installment of British tv chick magnets, as it were.  I consider this subset to be the “okay to flirt with, but don’t fall for them” type because underneath the candy coating of charm and flattery lurks damaged goods.  So for the purposes of this post, I nominate actor James Nesbitt as poster boy for this most perplexing category – Charming but Damaged.

The reason I’ve chosen Mr. Nesbitt for this “honor” is based mainly on a number of roles he’s played which fit the charming but damaged criteria – that being a substantial degree of charisma, of course, and some sort of tragic event from the past which prevents the character from fully trusting or committing to a relationship.  The other reason I chose him was that his Northern Irish accent just oozes charm and mischievous intent.

And so, on to the two most pertinent examples:

Tommy Murphy (earlier seasons of Murphy’s Law) – As an undercover detective, Tommy Murphy is often required to pour on the charm in order to get in with the bad guys.  In his personal life, we’ve witnessed him slinking from the clichéd and quite probably alcohol-induced one night stand situation. He’s even engaged in the politically incorrect behavior of suggestively chatting up his female superior officer, always with just enough cheek to steer clear of full-on sexual harassment.  However, Tommy has suffered an unbearable heartbreak and is consumed with guilt over a decision he made while working as a detective in Belfast which cost his young daughter’s life and consequently his marriage.  By the end of the series, there is nothing left of the light-hearted Tommy we first met; only anger and despair remain. This montage of clips created by SimplyFiona will give you a taste of the more amusing (and functional) Murphy.

Gabriel Monroe  (Monroe) – In the very first episode of this series, we meet Mr. Monroe, a confident (some might say, arrogant) and accomplished brain surgeon.  At work, he is at the top of his game with young doctors-in-training at this command and an excellent rapport with most of his patients and their families.  But back at home, he is suddenly blindsided by this wife of two decades.  Just as their son has been packed off to university, she drops the bomb that she is leaving him for an infidelity that he committed years before.  We also learn that this indiscretion took place in the aftermath of the death of their daughter from, ironically enough, a brain tumor.  The subsequent episodes follow this newly broken family through their pain and healing which, for Monroe, includes the seduction of and short-lived affair with a hospital employee.  Regardless of how this sounds, Monroe is not a casual and habitual adulterer.  You sense that when his life undergoes a major upheaval, he turns to these flings for an escape from his pain.  In this clip, you witness a fine example of the witty banter which serves as Monroe’s trademark and shield.

In general, Nesbitt plays the damaged man with aplomb.  In Occupation, he plays Mike Swift, one of three soldiers in the same unit who are forever changed by their time in Iraq.   These changes in turn play a part in the destruction of his family.  In Five Minutes of Heaven, he plays Joe Griffin  who, as a young boy, witnessed the murder of his older brother by a member of the UVF during the unrest of The Troubles in Northern Ireland.  Years after his brother’s killer has served his time, a meeting is suggested between Joe and the man who altered his life forever.  And in Jekyll, James portrays Tom Jackman who finds he is inexplicably losing consciousness and apparently wrecking serious havoc around town.  Could it have anything to do with the fact that he is the only living link to Doctor Jekyll? This role in particular shows his talent for damage (Jackman) and psychopathic charm (Mr. Hyde).

There are other troubled charmers out there in tv land :

1. Mitchell, the vampire from Being Human, a smolderingly good-looking immortal with the best of intentions but then you know the need to feed takes over…

Mitchell (Aidan Turner) vamping out on a train. Perhaps he wanted a window seat?

2.  Jackson Brodie (Case Histories) is a former policeman-turned- private detective whose childhood was marred by the tragic death in his sister which still haunts him.  The current custody struggle over his beloved and precocious daughter makes him all the more vulnerable which lends him a more subtle brand of charm to which needy and manipulative women seem to flock.

Brodie (Jason Isaacs) with his true love, sidekick and daughter Marlee

3.  Captain Jack Harkness (Doctor Who and Torchwood)  has a smile and a pick-up line for everyone, and I mean everyone, but inside is tormented by many truths about the man he’s been in the past and, oh yes, the fact that he can never die.

Don’t let the smile fool you, Jack (John Barrowman) is one seriously messed up time traveller.

So feel free to nominate your favorite toxic charmer of the small screen.  You may think you can fix them but you know deep down that never really happens.  After all, what would happen to the ratings?

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BBC television is funded by license fees and is therefore commercial free, aside from promotions for their own programming.  However, there are commercial tv networks in Britain and they do rely on adverts to pay for the shows they produce.  Often you will see British ads pop up on those World’s Funniest Commercial shows because, let’s face it, the land that gave us Monty Python sees the world in a uniquely funny way. 

Here’s one of my favorite commercials for you to enjoy while I work on a more in-depth post for next time.

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