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It’s time for a good TV ‘swords and sandals’ !

Posted by Big John on April 16, 2015

I have posted previously about how much I enjoy a good TV historical/costume drama: but alas the latest ‘crop’ does not always live up to my expectations, and some are only worth watching for a laugh and to spot how little (if any) historical research has gone into some of these productions.

I did enjoy ‘Wolf Hall’, and I’m a fan of the latest in the ‘Vikings’ series which really seems to portray those warriors from the north as I imagined them to be. Scruffy Scandinavian farmers, turned sword wielding warriors, with a few hairy bikers thrown in for good measure.

Now I know ‘Poldark’ isn’t strictly ‘historical’, but it’s not bad entertainment, although a lot of time is wasted with Ross on horseback galloping along the Cornish cliffs; and although he looks heroic, unlike all the other ‘gentry’, he never shaves, combs his hair, or wears a wig: and, come to think of it, he’s not keen on wearing underwear.

So, what of  ‘Banished’ .. Oh dear ! .. What a disappointment this ‘epic’  has turned out to be, with one critic branding this story of the first criminals transported to Australia as .. “I’m a convict, get me out of here” ! .. Well, the ‘celeb reality’ show’s Ant and Dec haven’t turned up yet, but they would probably fit in nicely with the odd assortment of starving prisoners, filthy floozies, a nutty vicar, a randy major in charge of a bunch of moronic marines, and dialogue which included a reference to a ‘Dear John’ letter, a term which wasn’t used until US soldiers invented it during World War 2: and had convicts playing poker with their guards. A game that was only introduced to Britain when Queen Victoria showed an interest in it in 1871, nearly a century after this load of old .. drama takes place !

‘Indian Summers’ is quite good with the action taking place in India during the last years of the ‘Raj’, and as you would expect there are plenty of very unpleasant colonial ‘pukka sahib’ types around, and lots of talk (but not much explanation) about Gandhi, ‘Congress’ and the untouchables. There is also a rather raucous Julie Walters as the memsahib owner of the Royal Simla Club, bastion of snobbery, colonial rule and gossip. Perhaps the next series of ‘Downton Abbey’ could be set in India with a plot featuring a ‘downstairs’ scandal about Mrs. Hughes and the new Dhobi Wallah ?

Must go now, as I’m off to switch on and watch my favourite epic medieval fantasy  … Yes ! … ‘Game of Thrones’ is back, and although I’m not too confused by the story at the moment, I have a feeling that …

… I soon will be !


2 Responses to “It’s time for a good TV ‘swords and sandals’ !”

  1. rummuser said

    I don’t watch TV and am totally clueless about the serials that run there. Your post however intrigues me enough about Indian Summers to see if I can get it on DVD or some other medium. There are enough real life scandals here with Dhobiwallahs to keep us otherwise entertained!

  2. Ginnie said

    I didn’t realize I was so far behind on reading your entries, John … or did you post more frequently than usual? Whatever, I have to admit that I am like Rummuser…I have never even heard of the shows you mention. Nighly news followed by “Jeopardy” is about it for me on a daily basis.

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