13 February 2015

Bodies... and a dose of Alan Partridge

Mini-series such as Criminal Justice, Afterlife and Sea of Souls are quintessentially British. The dialogues involve idiom, regional dialects and slang, yet Susan, western PEI born and bred, has taken them in her stride. I've seen them all before and rate them highly. Occasionally I have paused to explain a peculiar expression, or a specific cultural reference but by and large these dramas, some gritty, some deep, speak to a wide audience. I've gambled and won!

The medical drama Bodies deals with cover-ups and whistle blowers in an Obstetrics and Gynecology Ward. Acting is top notch, the situations credible and the reality unflinching. Graphic scenes abound: sexual intimacy, childbirth and surgery feature in every episode. There is maternity, death, catastrophic error, eroticism and from the mouth of surgeon Tony Whitman (Keith Allen), sledgehammer wit and brutal sarcasm. Like all good TV it quits while it's ahead and leaves you wanting more.

In stark contrast and by way of an antidote I threw in Alan Partridge, Season 2 (which is where the wretched and cringe-worthy character really gets into his stride). The humour is biting, even ugly at times but well within the bounds of decency and always peppered with irony. I felt it would appeal to its new Canadian audience, and it did. I know the script by heart and we laughed like drains!

By way of a periodic cleanse of the palate we take in episodes of BBC property show Escape to the Country, a beautifully gentle series where city dwellers hope to adopt rural life. Needless to say we tear the house hunters and their foibles to shreds. It's a great way for a Canadian to see the beauty of rural UK from her armchair, pick out cultural differences in furnishing and decor, not to mention gasp at the lack of storage space, no basements, miniature fridges, and washing machines in the kitchen. Such fun, and a great way to enjoy snowbound storm days!

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