Posts Tagged ‘The Thin Blue Line’

Anglophiles United at our "local" pub quiz Image Credit Laurie Frashure

Anglophiles United at our “local” pub quiz
Image Credit Laurie Frashure

As you may know I occasionally report on the activities of my Anglophile group, cleverly named Anglophiles United. This week a large contingent of our membership hit the road in hopes of experiencing an authentic British pub quiz. This outing was educational in scope and the fact that alcohol was freely available had nothing to do with our healthy turnout…

We gathered at an establishment with a name designed to avoid any confusion about its purpose or mission, The Pub. This American franchise concentrated in the Midwest and Southeast is to the the public house what mock Tudor housing developments are to historical stately homes. The serving staff wear kilt-ish uniforms, in addition to ales and whiskey they serve American cocktails like martinis and Manhattans, and they are located in an upscale shopping mall complex. To be fair they don’t claim that they’re the genuine article. Their slogan is “British-inspired, American-crafted” after all.

After keeping our tartan-clad wait staff (yes, we had three) busy with orders of shepherd’s pie, scotch eggs and lots of beer and wine, the quiz began. We broke into three teams -ours chose the name Jiggle Me Timbers because my son thought it would be amusing if the quiz mistress had to announce it over the PA system. There was no vetting process or pre-quiz selection though I can’t blame Inspector Fowler for trying to weed out the dimmest of the dim on his team.



The quiz itself consisted of twenty general knowledge questions, a speed round which required participants to order an actors’ films from oldest to newest, and the final round which tested our musical knowledge. Apparently technical difficulties are common as we had a similar experience to the members of the Phoenix Club – just without the record player.



None of our trio of teams won the big prize; however, luck was with us as each participant was given a ticket for door prizes and our entourage won all three drawings!  Each team left with bar glasses and gift certificates and no animosity towards the Hot Moms who apparently beat us by two lousy points. Nor was there any shoe throwing out in the parking lot after…



And as far as I know, there were no diva pub quiz champions in the crowd that night. At least no one threw a hissy fit like the Oracle did in Benidorm. It’s all just a bit of fun, mate!



All in all, I’d have to say our pub experience was a fun night out.  However if British TV shows accurately depict the UK pub quiz experience, ours did not approach the same level of competitiveness or nor was anyone’s ego or reputation at risk if they lost. Well, perhaps my son had higher aspirations for our side. That being said, he did win the speed round for us and the indeed the Jiggle Me Timbers team had their name announced throughout The Pub for all to hear.




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Continuing on with the second day of our Royal Wedding blitz, here are some important tips for William and Kate to keep in mind for the actual ceremony:

1)  Don’t invite these guys:

The Thin Blue Line coppers 

2)  Make sure your best man has the ring:

Only Fools and Horses best man, Del Boy


3)  Take time to remember those who can’t be with you on your big day.  You might need a hankie for this one – I did!

Gavin and Stacey  and the ride to the church

4)  And finally, end with a brilliant musical surprise!

Love Actually – Peter and Juliet’s wedding

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At some point in my youth, I had heard that police officers in London carried billy clubs as their only weapon.  “What a country!”, I thought, “where even in their largest metropolis, it was considered unnecessary for law enforcement to carry firearms.”  To this day, apparently, ordinary beat officers are not usually armed or even trained in the use of such weapons, though some exceptions exist.

Detective/special agent programs abound in the UK  and they are very good at producing that genre. In fact they are so popular that PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery features them regularly.  But for the moment, I want to focus on the good old uniformed police officers and how they are portrayed in British television. 

Let’s start with the small village police officer.  They are dedicated men who take their duties seriously.  While the villagers they protect often discount their diligence, when they are needed, these brave officers come through for their friends and neighbors. 

1) Garda Ambrose Egan from Ballykissangel is a stickler when it comes to the law.  While sometimes bumbling in his personal life, he is calm and clear-headed whether he is enforcing village traffic laws or going undercover to break up a drug ring in a biker bar.

2) Doc Martin’s PCs Mylow and Penhale protect Portwenn with good intentions though their diligence can be sidetracked by scheming women in the case of the former and various medical and mental disorders in the case of the latter.  But in their minds, police work defines who they are and they are always on the lookout for law breakers.

3)  Hamish Macbeth of Lochdubh, on the other hand, is a different type of  small town police officer.  He is actually more normal than most everyone else in his village.  He keeps the peace just fine without being terribly concerned with details of the law.  And he often gives credit to others for solving crimes in order to avoid being promoted out of Lochdubh.

The Thin Blue Line follows an entire police department through their daily routines in the town of Gasforth.  As mentioned in the previous examples, Inspector Fowler (Rowan Atkinson) is dedicated to his job and performs his duties earnestly.  His subordinates are a diverse group and there is a definite rivalry between the uniformed police and CID (Criminal Investigation Department) aka plain clothes detectives.  The cocky detectives don’t always do things by the book, and in those situations, the tried and true men and women in blue triumph, if only by accident.

Hot Fuzz is a film and not a tv series, but I want to mention it anyway, because I love Simon Pegg movies and because it is a hilarious take on the work of police officers in the UK.  PC Nicholas Angel is such a perfect law enforcement officer that he is making the rest of the London force look bad.  Therefore the powers that be send him to the seemingly idyllic village of Sanford.  Once there he is mocked for being suspicious of the many accidents that are claiming villagers on a nearly daily basis.  Throw in a dash of American police buddy movie violence and the ending is like nothing you would expect from a proper British bobby. 

I have not watched any British police dramas of the Hill Street Blues variety, so I can only gather my impressions from the comedies.  Yes, these characters resemble Barney Fife at times, but I think that they are endearing jabs at a profession and the people who protect us on a daily basis.

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