Last Week – 5 – British Mysteries

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I thought I would write something abiut some of the TV I’ve been watching. I seem to be watching a bunch of British mysteries/cop shows from BBC America and WETA-UK. They are quite different for the American ones and I have been enjoying them quite a bit. No a game I’ve been playing while watching these is to look at the secondary characters and guests to see which ones might be a good Doctor Who. It won’t be one of the stars because they’re too much identified with that character.

The ones I have been watching are (in no particular order) –
Hetty Wainthropp Investigates
Midsomer Murders
Death in Paradise
Inspector Lewis
Rosemary and Thyme

Some of these have actors that I know from other series and movies. Hetty Wainthropp stars Patricia Routledge from Keeping Up Appearance (A British sit com that I didn’t like) as a retired woman in Northwest England who becomes a private investigator and solves crimes. This one doesn’t have her solving murders and such but usualy smaller personal crimes. Derek Benfield is her husband and Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings and Lost) is their lodger and Hetty’s assistant. This is a cozy, friendly show and we enjoy it quite a bit.

Death in Paradise stars Ben Miller who was the pompous bureaucratic head of ARC in Primeval (a show I was a fan of) as a pompous bureaucratic policemen who ends up on a British Caribbean island, running the police station. While his character (DI Poole) is very similar to James Lester (Primeval), he does loosen up as time goes by and is a very good, honest cop. This show, while a police procedural, has a nice atmosphere and interesting characters. Having the British style of a show in such a different location works well too.

Rosemary and Thyme stars Felicity Kendal, who I’ve been a fan of since Good Neighbors. She stars with Pam Ferris as gardeners who solve murders. Felicity’s character, Rosemary Boxer,is a botanist who does gardening consulting, Pam Ferris is a retired, soon to be divorced, ex-cop who ends up working for her. It seems that every job they take ends up having a murder happening which they end of solving. The two of them are delightful. A word of warning – don’t hire them, you may well die.

Those shows I started watching because I knew the stars and kept watching because they are fun.

We started watching Midsomer Murders because it was on one night and we though we’d give it a try. We haven’t missed one since. This is a cop show, about DCI John Barnaby and his assistant DS Gavin Troy who work murders in Midsomer County. Since there seems to be a great many murders in this county of small English villages, I’d probably not move there if I were you. This show has well done murder mysteries and the main characters are well drawn and acted. The depiction of English village life is very nicely done as well. Since the county is rather small, Barnaby and Troy are part of the society of many of the stories as well.

Inspector Lewis is a continuation of the Inspector Morse series. Lewis (Kevin Whately) was Morse’s working class assistant and is now a DI, still in Oxford. Laurence Fox plays his sergeant, James Hathaway. Robbie Lewis is a widower whose wife was killed in a hit and run. He has given himself to his work and often shows his disdain for the Oxford academicians. His intelligence is used to solving murders. Hathaway is a very guarded, private person who is very erudite and given to odd quotes. He joined the police after leaving a Catholic seminary. The interplay between these two characters while they are solving murders in the beautiful city of Oxford is very riveting. Some of the recent episodes have had some fascinating interrogations where each of the detectives sees something of themselves in the persaonalities of those they are questioning and you can see the realization in their eyes.

Next week I won’t be able to do one of these since I will be at the North American Discworld Convention in Baltimore.

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