Dickens series coming

Press Release from the BBC
From the author of Peaky Blinders and Taboo, comes Steven Knight’s vision of Charles Dickens in a series of adaptations of his classic novels for BBC One.
  • A Christmas Carol announced as the first in a series of adaptations
  • Produced by Ridley Scott’s Scott Free London in association with Tom Hardy’s Hardy Son and Baker

624Commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, and produced by Scott Free London in association with Hardy Son and Baker, Knight will use his trademark style to create a boxset of Dickens’ most iconic novels in the next few years.

A Christmas Carol will be the first adaptation in this planned series. As Ebenzer Scrooge, the miserly cold-hearted boss, is visited by four ghosts from the past, present and the future, on a freezing Christmas Eve, he must face up to how his self-interested, penny pinching behaviour has impacted his own life and those around him, leaving him in a paranoid bubble of fear. Is it too late for him to save the spirit of Christmas, and himself?

Knight says: “Any question about narrative storytelling is answered by Dickens. To have the chance to revisit the text and interpret in a new way is the greatest privilege. We need luck and wisdom to do this justice.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “Steven’s unique ability to reimagine the past and to turn it in to must see drama make him the perfect writer to reimagine Dickens’ most famous works for a new generation. And in A Christmas Carol, that most familiar of Dickens’ stories, he has found the perfect place to start.”

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content says: “It’s incredibly exciting to have a genius like Steven Knight embark on a series of Dickens adaptations. What can I say? Be prepared to be blown away by his wholly original and visionary take on some of Britain’s best loved classics.”

Ridley Scott says: “It’s terrific to be continuing the creative partnership of Scott Free London with Tom and Steve that started with Taboo and continues with this exciting and ambitious anthology of British classics.”

Kate Crowe, Head of TV, Scott Free London, says: “A Christmas Carol explores miserliness, isolation and selfishness against generosity, charity and open-heartedness; a clash of ideologies that is as significant today as it ever has been.”

Tom Hardy, Hardy Son and Baker, says: “It’s extremely exciting to have the opportunity to team up with Ridley Scott, Steven Knight and our partners at the BBC with this rare and wonderful opportunity to revisit and interpret Dickens’ classic works. A Christmas Carol is a fabulous magical piece of theatre and an embarrassment of riches for our creative team – from character all the way through to design. Here’s to having a lot of intricate and wonderful fun. We feel very lucky.”

A Christmas Carol is a 3×60’ drama for Christmas 2019. It will be produced by Scott Free London in association with Hardy Son and Baker for BBC One. It will be executive produced by Steven Knight, Ridley Scott, Tom Hardy, Kate Crowe and Dean Baker, alongside Piers Wenger for the BBC.

Further details will be announced in due course.

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A Victorian Christmas at Harewood House

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This would be great to go to…just fantastic.

More than 200 volunteers spent the last three days creating a Victorian Christmas at Harewood House. It is the first time in five years that the house has been opened to the public at Christmas. The volunteers were working under the guidance of award-winning film creative director Michael Howells – who produced the set design for the ITV drama Victoria some of which was shot at Harewood.

“Harewood was incredible place to work filming Victoria for the last two years and has provided us with fantastic inspiration. It’s special place, filled with history and wonderful stories to tell,” said Mr Howells.

 

Forgotten London Mansion Was Empty Since 1895…

This is well worth looking at.

The city of London is full of history, though it’s easy to forget that when you see what is now a thriving, modern city. As generations pass and more of the city becomes modernized, it becomes harder and harder to learn about previous inhabitants’ lives.

mansion.jpgBut every once in a while, a piece of history remains that practically acts as a time capsule. That’s the case with one building in London that’s been so well-preserved that it allows us to take a one-of-a-kind look at the way the world used to be.

When you see inside of this stunning building, it’s like you’re transported back in time. What an incredible reminder of what the city used to be like, and what history we live among every day!

http://headcramp.com/empty-old-mansion/?as=6a23842634195030356

Victoria – fact or fiction?

Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes are back on our screens as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, which means it’s time for a return to that fine old British tradition of historical nit-picking. This is our week-by-week guide to the true history behind the ITV drama.

Was Dr Brydon really the only survivor of the retreat from Kabul?

In the Victorian era, it became a well-established myth that only one man survived the disastrous retreat from Kabul: William Brydon, an assistant surgeon in General Elphinstone’s army.

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William Brydon

The late Victorian artist Elizabeth Butler’s famous painting ‘Remains of an Army’ shows Brydon alone in a desolate landscape, and ITV’s Victoria paints a similar version of events.

But the reality of the First Anglo-Afghan War was slightly complicated. Brydon was the only British soldier to make it back to Jalalabad from Kabul without being captured, but there were also several Indian soldiers (then called sepoys) from his army who achieved the same feat.

Nor were they the only survivors of the Khyber Pass massacre; more than 100 officers, women and children were taken captive, only to be later released.

But the most extraordinary part of Brydon’s story to feature in ITV’s Victoria was completely true: Brydon’s life was saved by a frozen copy of Blackwood’s Magazine which he had tucked inside his hat. In fact, the TV retelling didn’t do justice to quite how close Brydon’s scrape was; the sword-blow that cut through the magazine also shaved off a fragment of his skull.

All joking aside, what’s up with Prince Albert’s helmet?

The first episode told us (a little unnecessarily, one might add) that Prince Albert dressed “on the left” – but we don’t mean that kind of helmet.

The helmet in question is the Albert Shako, which Tom Hughes’s prince brought up almost every time he opened his mouth, throughout episode one.

Introduced in 1844 as a more practical alternative to existing military headgear, we can’t be certain that it really was designed by Albert himself. What is certain, however, is that people hated it. Regardless of who really came up with the design, the idea that Prince Albert spent his spare time faffing about with hats was just as funny to Victorians as it is to today’s ITV viewers. In 1843, the satirical magazine Punch published a cartoon of “Prince Albert’s Studio”, in which the would-be hatter is shown proudly displaying his handiwork to a bemused Victoria.

Who on earth would eat that soup?

Lots of people. The departure of Victoria’s preferred chef, Charles Elmé Francatelli, meant guests at the royal table were forced to pick over a vile dinner of soup, made from leeks, prunes and (best of all) a whole boiled chicken’s head. Don’t pull that face – it’s actually rather popular.

TV chef James Martin would like you to know that cock-a-leekie soup is making a comeback, prunes and all. You can read his recipe for a modern take on the traditional Scottish dish at the BBC Good Food website. The Duchess of Bucchleuch certainly enjoys it.

How old was the Duchess of Bucchleuch really?

Much younger than she is on TV. Last night, viewers were introduced to Victoria’s new Mistress of the Robes, a fearsome Caledonian duchess played with aplomb by Diana Rigg. The real Charlotte, Duchess of Bucchleuch, was born in 1811. In 1844, when the show is set, she would have been 33 – just eight years older than Victoria.

Yes, that’s almost half a century younger than Rigg (79), but why not bend the truth if it allows for such a great bit of casting? It’s a certified historical fact that every TV show with Diana Rigg in it has been 35% better than the Rigg-less alternatives. So there.

Why did Francatelli really leave?

In the show, heartbroken Francatelli (Ferdinand Kingsley) left because he couldn’t bear to be near the newly promoted Mrs Skerrett (Nell Hudson), after she refused his offer of marriage back in series one.

In real life, however, the given reason for Francatelli’s abrupt departure from the palace was a fracas with another member of the household staff, Mr Norton the Clerk Comptroller. At the time, it was reported that Francatelli “took the opportunity of insulting Mr Norton in the presence of all the Pages and about 40 others”. After “high words ensued”, they called for a policeman to arrest him, but the hot-headed chef had done a runner by the time the police arrived.

Did Florence kill Jack the Ripper

There have been many, many theories about Jack the Ripper but how about this one.

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Did Florence kill Jack the Ripper?

Florence Maybrick may well of killed Jack the Ripper. 1889 the 27-year-old American was found guilty of poisoning her drug-addict husband James Maybrick with arsenic.

It was a shocking crime and the Daily Mirror reported the scandal.

Apparently new evidence has put Maybrick in the dock as a Jack the Ripper suspect.

A diary has been found under his floorboards and there are claims it has been written by the Ripper. And experts have managed to authenticate it was written at the right time, this could possibly mean the diary is genuine.

 

Florence had married Maybrick in 1881. He was 23 years her senior and lived in a middle-class home in Liverpool with their children James and Gladys. They were just seven and three when their father died – and their mother became the most notorious woman in the country.

Florence and James both committed adultery and when she ended up in court the judge James Fitzjames Stephen, was enraged. He told the jury if she was admitting adultery, she was no better than a murderess anyway and a death sentence was handed down.

Home Secretary Henry Matthews agreed to reassess her case and argued that it couldn’t be proven she had killed Maybrick in their home in Aigburth, in the suburbs of Liverpool.

PROD-The-trial-of-Mrs-Maybrick-at-Liverpool-1889.jpgHis decision rescued her from the gallows, but she remained in prison for 15 years, first in Woking, Surrey at Woking Convict Prison, she endured solitary confinement, hard labour and frequent ill health. In a book she wrote after her release, she describes her experiences as “torture”, “hideous” and “tyrannous”.

And then in Aylesbury, Bucks.

Florence was finally released in 1904.

So did she kill Jack the Ripper?

I guess that question remains…but hopefully not for too much longer.

Easter

Easter was very much part of Victorian life, the Church itself was important not only as a spiritual guide and charity but also as a great reformer of the age.

20160326_104323Victorians expressed devotion with beautiful floral arrangements that decorated churches as I did yesterday. Easter is about Jesus being risen from the grave, so new life is tied up in any decoration and in any spiritual significance.

In Ladies Fancy Work from 1876  described how to make Easter crosses with myriad elaborately handmade wax flowers, as well as rustic cross pictures sprinkled with diamond dust and hand-embellished with mosses, ferns, coral, shells and bark. Based on publications of the time, floral arrangements of Easter lilies, white and yellow tulips, violets, purple pansies, lilacs and Chinese azalea adorned Victorian vases and mantels. Women also made token gift posies with white and yellow or purple flowers, such as lily of the valley with violets, of course men decorate as well nowadays.

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We had an Easter Egg hunt for our children today, a tradition in our church that probably stretches back into the Victorian Era. In Delineator’s April 1896 story “Easter in a Southern Town” described their hunt for colored eggs hidden in boxed hedges, honeysuckle arbors and among lilies. Today our children enthusiastically leap around our graveyard seeking out small brightly covered eggs which they all find at least one…

He is risen…

He is risen indeed

A happy Easter to one and all.

The execution of Sherlock Holmes

There are many, many Sherlock Holmes stories, novels, novelettes on tip of the glorious canon left by Conan-Doyle.

The execution of Sherlock Thomas is a particularly enjoyable one. We find Holmes at his best against relatives (I didn’t like that idea but it works…more or less) of arch villains he taken down and finds himself drugged and locked up in the notorious Newgate Prison.

Watson of course tells the story but it really has the feel on Conan-Doyle…it just hits the spot for me.

Have a read…it is really rather good!images