Thursday, April 24, 2014


Well, we struggled through all three episodes of BBC1`s swashbuckling, bodice-ripping, dark, brooding take on Daphne du Maurier`s classic Jamaica Inn but unlike thousands of others who have lodged complaints about the quality of the production I can`t be bothered and in any case the BBC are never wrong.   It wasn`t particularly swashbuckling and I must have missed the occasional bodice being ripped, but it sure was dark and brooding, especially the inaudible sound and the mumbled dialogue.   I tried the subtitles as the mumbling got worse, only to find that the subtitles said, "Mumble, mumble, mumble."

But it did have a couple of redeeming features.   First the location on North Cornwall`s Holywell Bay with the dark and brooding Carter`s Rocks providing a haunting backdrop, although I didn`t find Kirkby Lonsdale up in Yorkshire to be an especially convincing Launceston.  The other was the inclusion of the delicious Joanne Whalley playing the part of Aunt Patience.  And maybe, at last, this is where the Connections come in.

You see, I fell deeply in love with Joanne Whalley when I saw her all those years ago playing the part of Emma Craven in Troy Kennedy Martin`s wonderful `Edge of Darkness` so it was a rare treat to see her back on our screens again even if I didn`t catch a word of what she was saying.   Anyway, another distinguished actor in Edge of Darkness was John Woodvine and in my eclectic collection of videos/DVDs I have one in which he narrates the journey around the south west coast path.

Next week, God willing, a good friend of mine and his wife will be walking the last stretch of their own journey around that coast path which began at Minehead in Somerset and will end at Poole in Dorset - a total distance of 690 miles.  I wish them well for the last leg of their journey and offer my congratulations on a memorable achievement.   As for me, next week I`ll be back in my old haunts in the New Forest, so you will be spared any more rants from me for a while.

And another thing.   The story of Jamaica Inn is too well known for me to go on about it here but its dastardly vicar, Reverend Davey, was almost certainly based on Frederick Densham, the real life dastardly vicar of Warleggan, not far from the real Jamaica Inn at Bolventor on Bodmin Moor.  My membership of the Daphne du Maurier Society confirms this stunning fact. 

With all those connections, no wonder I feel like James Burke, who went to school in Maidstone here in Kent and spent some time in Ramsgate teaching English as a Foreign Language, which is what my youngest son does for a living and who will, along with his family, be joining us on our New Forest adventure next week and which itself was the scene for many of my own boyhood adventures.   As the revered Chic Murray once said, "It`s a small world, but I wouldn`t want to paint it."

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