Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tossers and Unmitigated Asses

Most people have until December 24 to finish buying Christmas gifts. However, this does not hold true if you are a knitter whose gifts must run the gauntlet of both foreign and domestic postal services to get to the intended recipient. This is November 20 and I am running out of time. In fact, I am feeling panicked enough that I am doing something I never do. I am knitting during the weekday afternoons. A combination of guilt and more pressing things that need attended to (well, more pressing if we want to eat, have clean clothes and the bills paid) usually keep me and my needles apart until after dinner. Not so this week. I am knitting like a mad woman.

Thankfully I have a collection of my favourite DVDs to keep me and my needles company. These shows are like old friends, and because I have seen them all before it doesn't really matter if I'm following a difficult chart and need to keep my eyes on my knitting rather than the show. I know the scenes. I know the lines. I know the looks on the actors' faces.

I thought I would share my list of British favourites with you. Hopefully there will be quite a few new ideas here for my readers from outside Britain, and I am hoping my British readers can chime in with some more suggestions for me to add to my list.


  1. Pride and Prejudice: I am sure most of you are aware of this DVD. The dilemma is which version to watch. If I am in need of a quick P&P fix I pop the Keira Knightly one in my computer. But when I am wanting perfection it is the BBC version with Colin Firth that tops my list. 
  2. Jane Eyre: Please avoid at all costs the horrid 2011 version of this show. It is the 2006 BBC television series you want to watch. 
  3. North and South: I find myself at a loss of words for this one. If you haven't yet read the book or watched the movie you are missing out on a wonderful story. Plus this show was my introduction to Richard Armitage. Oh my.
  4. The King's Speech: I'm pretty sure people on both sides of the Atlantic know about this movie, but I couldn't not mention it. Colin Firth and this movie deserved every single award they got for it. 
  5. Inspector Morse: I have borrowed almost everyone of these old programs from our library. John Thaw is wonderful as Inspector Morse. 
  6. Goodnight Mister Tom: This movie is from a book with the same title. It is a touching story of a small boy who is evacuated during WW2 and ends up staying with a crotchety old man, brilliantly played by John Thaw. 
  7. Judge John Deed: I have only watched the first couple in this series, but have enjoyed them immensely. I am waiting for our library to get the rest of the series in. The judge is played by another one of my favourite British actors - Martin Shaw.
  8. The Murder Room: This movie scores double points. It stars Martin Shaw, and the story was written by P.D. James.
  9. MI-5: This show ran for 10 seasons. I just finished the final one and was sorry to have it end. One word of warning though. The British kill off their main characters at a rate most North Americans would find alarming. Just so you know.
  10. Twenty Twelve: Oh. My. This is one of the funniest programs I have ever watched! It was Jean Miles who first put me onto this show, and am I ever glad she did. Even my husband, who is seriously humour challenged, laughed at this one!
  11. Downton Abbey: I know. You would have to be living under a rock to not already be aware of this show. But just like The King's Speech, I couldn't not list it. I am a Downton Abbey fan, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. In my defence I would like to say I fell in love with the program before it became a hit on this side of the Atlantic. 
  12. Doc Martin: I love this show! Martin Clunes plays the part of a surgeon who has developed a fear of blood. He ends up working as a small village doctor. He hates the people. He hates the place. He hates his job. In spite of all this he is quite endearing. And very, very funny.
I would love to hear your suggestions for more shows I can watch while I try to finish off this Christmas knitting. And does anybody know what two shows inspired the title to this post?



24 comments:

  1. Ahh all those classics... How about the Timothy Dalton version of Jane Eyre and Wuthering weighs? (spelling, sorry)...He is my favorite but I never managed to see either of them (withouth some awful polish dubbing, LOL), but I would love to look at him, (especially when he was young) just for the aestethic reasons...
    These days I usually knit to D Who (my son's favorite, but I love it as well) Smallville, Warehouse 13, Supernatural (Notice a tendency here???), and I usually put on something "softer" like the Tudors, or Tess of the Urbvilles, and the like when I spin...go figure...

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    1. Thanks for the suggestions! I will have to check our library for that version of Wuthering Heights. I have seen the Jane Eyre, and it was really well done. Tess of the d'Urbervilles is another great suggestion. I'm not sure about Dr. Who. I know tons of people watch it, but I am not a huge sci-fi person. Maybe I should at least watch one though before I make a judgment. :-)

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  2. Yeah, and did you ever tried the (original) BBC version of Life on Mars?

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    1. I just checked and Netflix has this show! I will give it a try tonight. Thanks!

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  3. Speaking of knitting Christmas gifts, I'd better get moving. Although Korean's Christmas timing is looser than home. Maybe it will be a "Winter Break" gift.

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    1. Winter break works. Or you could go by when the Eastern orthodox celebrate Christmas, which would give you until early January. :-)

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  4. So much for that myth about you being culturally illiterate! :) My two favorite BBC shows are Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who.

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    1. My cultural illiteracy is confined to North American popular culture. Trust me, I know nothing. :-)

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  5. I couldn't help you with British shows as even though I am British, I love all things American and much prefer American series. xx

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    1. Ha! A classic example of the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence. :-)

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  6. Thank you for sharing, some of your suggestions are my favourites, and others are new to me, so I will be looking them up!! BBC Pride and Prejudice is my all time favourite though!

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    1. I agree about the BBC Pride and Prejudice. It is absolutely the best! But I do like the other version too. They each have their own strong points.

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  7. "Sense and Sensibility" with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. "Parade's End" has just been on - brilliant. And "Sherlock" with Benedict Cumberbatch. Do try lace knitting, Kristie, because, as Franklin pointed out, it is basically just a matter of YOs and K2togs.

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    1. I haven't heard of Parade's End. I will have to look that one up. Commenter Rick above also mentioned Sherlock, so with two recommendations I better check that one out too.. Thanks for the suggestions!

      I would really like to try lace knitting again, but my past attempts at the simplest of patterns have all resulted in failure. I think my two problems are not paying attention to where I am in the pattern, and worse, not knowing how to fix mistakes. I greatly admire all of you who are able to knit lace!

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  8. You are going to think me crazy but hear me out........ lol
    I just read in the news that Mr. Bean is going to retire! He doesn't want to continue his career any longer as a little boy in an older man's body. It sounds disturbing (those are his words).

    I remember spending HOURS watching Mr. Bean with my girls and laughing till we were crying. I went to the library and ordered a 6 dics collection of his shows. I want to laugh like that again!

    And, also along the lines of laughing....... another fave show of us girls (we watched a lot of tv together while we waited for "Daddy" to get home from work - which was always after 10pm.) Fawlty Towers! What a gut splitter that was! British humor is wonderful!

    Work those fingers! You can do this!

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    1. Actually, Mr. Bean is a great suggestion! And I think Fawlty Towers might be available through our library. It's nice you have such great memories of watching those show with your daughters when they were young.

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  9. I don't have any more suggestions for you, I just had to say that I love British television. That's what my sister & I grew up watching and loving!
    I completely agree that the BBC versions of #1 & #2 are superior.
    MI-5 is pretty good although I don't know if I could knit & not watch the action.
    Downtown Abbey is amazing I can't wait until we get the new season over here.
    Doc Martin, again one of my fav's. I hate that we have to wait so long for the new season.

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    1. I think they are filming a new Doc Martin season in 2013. I just discovered the series not long ago so I was spoiled. I didn't have to wait from season to season while I caught up. I would love to go visit the town where the show is filmed. It is so beautiful!

      You have a point about MI-5. I put my needles down a lot during that show. :-)

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  10. We love British TV and I've watched quite a few on the list (and I loved MI-5 and tell everybody I recommend it to not get attached to any characters...and that last episode, really BBC, can't you have a happy ending?).

    I'd add another vote for Sherlock although there are only 6 episodes (streaming though!) and I'd add a vote for Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren. She's amazing in this role and it's so honest regarding human condition (also streaming). Shorter series to recommend: State of Play (british version of course which is streaming) and Second Sight with Clive Owens. Also, I've not watched it yet but I hear Upstairs, Downstairs (the 70's version which is streaming) is incredible and very similar to Downton Abbey. These should keep you busy. Good luck getting the knitting done!

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    1. Wow! Thanks for all the great suggestions! And yeah, that last episode of MI-5 made me mad. I couldn't believe how it ended. After all the people they had killed off I thought they owed us all a happy ending.

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  11. Kristie - I love British shows too. If you lived closer I could loan you an armload of wonderful dvd's! Thanks for the list - I've watched some of them (especially love Downton Abbey) and will check out the others.

    Here are a few of my favourites:

    Cranford:
    http://www.amazon.ca/Cranford-Collection-Return/dp/B002XTBECY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353621511&sr=8-1

    Berkeley Square:
    http://www.amazon.ca/Berkeley-Square/dp/B004JMSIQS/ref=pd_sim_d_11

    Foyles War:
    http://www.amazon.ca/Foyles-War-Sets-Dunkirk-VE-Day/dp/B0024OW1QQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1353621671&sr=8-2

    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy:
    http://www.amazon.ca/Tinker-Tailor-Soldier-Alec-Guinness/dp/B005DXCO94/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1353621730&sr=8-4

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    1. I forgot to mention Cranford and Berkeley Square. Did you find the end to Berkeley Square rather odd? They must have meant to do another season. So many things seemed unresolved.

      I will check out Foyles War and Tinker, Tailor. Thanks for those suggestions. If you think of any more please let me know!

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  12. I'll second the suggestions for the tv series of State of Play, Cranford and Parade's End. The last was some of the best televison I've seen in a long time, but perhaps with too much going on to knit through. There's also Small Island, and last years adaptation of Bleak House with Gillian Anderson.

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    1. Great suggestions Annie! I checked and our library has Small Island, and I bought State of Play from iTunes. That should keep me going for quite awhile!

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