The Dragon’s picks #thetrialofchristinekeeler #dracula #chernobyl

Photo by Victor Freitas on

The first of my resolutions for this blog was more tv, film and shorts reviews so here it is as promised!

You may be inspired to watch some yourself, or maybe you have already seen them, I seem to be pretty late to the game on some that have taken the audience by storm. In any case, it will be a handy reminder to me what has stoked my imagination.

As I said in my 2020 shake up-post I had the opportunity to read my pal Phillip E. Hardy’s Dracula script. This then reminded me to watch the BBC’s recent Dracula tv mini-series that aired over the festive season. Particularly I wanted to see what they had chosen to take and add from Bram Stoker’s original story and also what Phillip had written in his.

This modern version of Dracula’s story was in three parts and all so totally different which was refreshing and interesting. Dracula in the modern-day – what would he be like? I was pleasantly surprised by this adaptation. Specifically for me was the most brilliant performance of Dolly Wells as Sister Agatha/Zoe Helsing. Dare I say she stole the show…

Written by Mark Gatiss (The League of Gentleman, Sherlock) and Steven Moffat (Sherlock, Doctor Who). I hope to approach these writers for an interview here, fingers crossed! 

Another BBC drama I have been watching is The Trial of Christine Keeler.  A politician having an affair now seems quite a regular, predictable event. But the scandal it caused back in the 60’s has been captured perfectly in this new series which explores the story of a young model and middle-aged, powerful politician.  I first came across this story in 1989 when I saw Scandal at the cinema, which I must hunt down and view again. Ian McKellen as Profumo, Joanne Whalley as Keeler and John Hurt as Ward.

My favourite performance was of James Norton who played Dr. Stephen Ward, Keeler’s ‘friend’ who fell from high society in his part of the scandal. Watching YouTube clips of Stephen Ward you can’t deny Norton didn’t nail this character to a tee. I’d seen him in McMafia and was totally blown away in that too. I look forward to his next series, a Victorian drama, ‘The Never’s’ which is out next year. 

Written by Amanda Coe (Room at the Top, Apple Tree Yard)

Chernobyl, Sky Atlantic, has been the most recent series I have watched and WOW.  I remember this event as a child, but as an adult to see how events unfolded is truly shocking. My husband and I were shocked while watching this, at the lying, cover-ups, red-tape challenges, bravery and determination of these people affected in so many ways by the hugest human-made disaster of modern-times (some scientists say Fukushima is worse). I am not surprised at the 9.5/10 rating on IMDb at all. The only thing I would mention is the accents, there are no Ukranian/Russian accents at all. Which is odd but no way distracts from the story.  Emily Watson provides a powerful performance as usual, along with a stellar cast. If you haven’t seen it then I would recommend it, not for entertainment but for an honest look back at a disastrous part of human history, some which prevail today. Good luck to Chernobyl at tonight’s National Television Awards.

Written by Craig Mazin (The Hangover Part II, The Huntsmen: Winter’s War)

That’s all for now – thanks for reading.

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