Thursday, 28 June 2018
I believe this to be the last Marple Agatha Christie wrote. Although not the last to be published, that was Sleeping Murder. There is a dark melancholy at the heart of much of Agatha Christie's work. This novel is drenched in just such a mood, the cancerous ghosts of the past poisoning the now, disfiguring everything it touches. I think this book was published around 1971. The sixtes were over now, the long hot summer of love already seeming like an invented memory, not shared by all. Ms Jane Marple was getting older herself and though frail in body her mind was as sharp as ever.my favorite interpretation of the character being Joan Hickson (Although i will always reserve a special place in my heart for Margaret Rutherford. Not so much for being any one other than herself. Surely her greatest creation.) When I read Agatha Christie Ms Marple novels I see and hear Joan Hickson, her soft but precise delivery and those amazing eyes of hers. The eyes of a bird of prey. Eyeing her prey with steely precision until ready to deliver a wordy coup de gras. Delightful.
I got to read his page turner of a Rose adaption, a novel based on his own script. Its as energetic and enjoyable as you could wish for. A few updates are included including a glimpse of The Doctor's incarnation to come and a couple we most likely never see. Although..
He also manages to take the infamous Graham Norton, infamous in rarefied Doctor Who circles that is, incident in which he awkwardly interrupted a tense scene involving an Auton and Rose in a spooky late night department store basement, and make it canon. Well sort of make it canon.
So much depended on that first episode of the new series and even in hindsight it turned out so much better than we could have hoped for. Sure a few of the effects have not aged well but aren't special effects often the first thing to date in any movie or telly series. That is a statement not a question.
The original Target series of books were among my very favorite reads growing up. Now that I am in fact grown up I remain optimistic this new series will have a similar effect on my crumbling palette.
Just look at that amazing cover.
Written mostly by the legendary PJ Hammond each assignment revolves around a small set of individuals in a spooky location. There are no elaborate fight scenes, no gun fire, no awkward romances, none of the standard tropes for present day science fiction or fantasy. They generally involve small incidents which if left unchecked could lead to larger disasters; enter the mysterious Sapphire And Steel if not quite to save the day at least to prevent that larger fall out. Their resolutions could not quite be considered happy endings.
The two leads are just fantastic and a special mention must surely go to David Collings as the hugely likable and clever Silver. I believe in some alternate reality David Collings was cast as The Doctor after Tom Baker left the role (Well, sort of left the role when in fact he never did.) and stayed for just as many years as the great man.
Hard SF mixed with Weird Fantasy mark this short lived series like no other genre series before or since.
Did we, the viewing public, really sit though a very disturbing but riveting half hour of Sapphire And Steel only to then watch a half hour of Coronation Street?
A weird juxtaposition of programmes that showed British Television at its most British.