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Posts Tagged ‘The Hobbit’

Turner as The Hobbit's Kili image credit New Line Cinema

Turner as The Hobbit’s Kili
image credit New Line Cinema

Before you get the wrong idea from the somewhat misleading title of this post, let me clarify the nature of my rendezvous with the owner of the most talked about abs of 2015. Through no obsession or conscious planning of my own, I found myself, on and around January 1, binging on a lot of Irish actor Aidan Turner’s recent work.

Never mind the fact that my daughter and her boyfriend had been watching The Hobbit trilogy which featured Turner as Kili, the designated heartthrob in a pack of thirteen dwarves. I was already part the way through Poldark: Series 1 on DVD when I discovered the newly broadcast Agatha Christie mystery And Then There Were None was available to stream on Daily Motion. I was on Aidan overload, but there are worse things that can happen on New Year’s Day so I went with it.

If I’m honest, Poldark, a remake of the 1977 post-Revolutionary War period drama, had been a bit of a slog to get through. I’d watch an episode or two, then take a break of up to a week sometimes and then resume with a new sense of resolve. It wasn’t that the Cornish landscape wasn’t breathtaking or that the love story between Turner’s gentleman Ross Poldark and his wild servant girl turned devoted and pure of heart wife, Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson), wasn’t engaging. There was just so much misfortune and so little joy in these characters’ lives, it got to be a chore to watch what would befall them next.

And not all of the bad stuff can be blamed on fate or various societal inequalities of the time period. Yes, Ross has many strengths, among them being a friend to those of lower station, his apparent incorruptibility and his loyalty to his family and all others who can earn his trust. However I couldn’t help thinking that if he had been a bit more amiable to George Warleggan (Jack Farthing) who was obviously eager to be sitting at the “cool table” with Ross and the other Poldarks, he might not have been arrested on a number of serious counts at the cliffhanger conclusion of the series.

In the end I endured the unfair imprisonment of Jim Carter (Alexander Arnold), the downfall of well-meaning but ineffectual Francis Poldark (Kyle Soller who is American by the way), the shunning of cousin Verity (Ruby Bentall) and of course the heartbreaking death of Ross’ baby Julia as a result of the putrid throat epidemic (which turns out is what we now call diphtheria.) And for what? For moments like this one…

 

On the other hand, the three part mini-series And Then There Were None was compelling and practically beckoned me to watch it. In this 2015 adaptation of the Agatha Christie tale about eight strangers and a pair of domestic staff summoned to a secluded island in Devon under false pretenses, Mr. Turner portrayed mercenary Phillip Lombard. When each house guest is accused of a murder, Lombard freely admits to his slaughter of twenty-one East African natives in order to gain access to a haul of diamonds. He is unapologetic, brutally honest and charming which, in the end, does him no good when he finds himself one of the last survivors on this island of revenge and terror.

There are several particularly notable moments for Turner in this series. One is obviously his provocative towel scene. In the story each guest is required to strip down to a robe or towel so the others may search their room for Lombard’s missing revolver. It worked very well for Aidan – for Toby Stephens, not so much.

Vera Claythorn (Maeve Dermody) and Turner in the OMG moment of And Then There Were None image credit BBC

Vera Claythorn (Maeve Dermody) and Turner’s Lombard in the OMG moment of And Then There Were None
image credit BBC

But I also felt he got the best line of the series. When Lombard tells the others he plans to kill their tormentor with a bullet between the eyes, Emily Brent (Miranda Richardson) is repulsed by his vulgarity and asks how he can say such horrible things. Lombard responds with a snear, ” I just open my mouth and it comes out.”

Aidan Turner is definitely on a hot streak and, based on the comments I get at the library from ladies of all ages looking for his work on DVD, he’s getting hotter as we speak. (To those who have discovered him through Poldark, may I recommend Being Human?)

And so there you have it, my first telly experiences of 2016. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead and, of course, to sharing my British TV observations with you. Happy New Year and happy viewing!!!

 

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Today is the big 4-0 for one of my favorite British actors, Martin Freeman.  He first came to prominence as self-deprecating, nice guy Tim Canterbury on The Office. Since then he’s appeared in many films and several other television series including Hardware, The Robinsons and most recently the highly acclaimed new Masterpiece Mystery series, Sherlock as Dr. John Watson.  Currently he is filming the two-part epic The Hobbit portraying none other than the hobbit himself, Bilbo Baggins.  Very exciting!

Here’s a clip of a gracious Martin accepting the BAFTA Best Supporting Actor award for his role in Sherlock this past year:

 

 

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