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It’s all over for Sam Tyler, or is it?

Andy SimpkinsAndy Simpkins   on April 11th, 2007

Well,as you have all probably seen,it was the last episode of Life On Mars last night.I failed to see the first series but curiousity drove me to see the second series.And all I can say is that I will be hastily borrowing the first series box set off one of my mates to watch avidly.
Well,what do you all think of the last episode?As for my personal opinion,it was a very Prisoner-esque ending.Does he escape from The Village or is it all an illusion?Does Sam Tyler finally go back to the present day or is he actually residing in 1973 and the future is all a concoction of his comatose brain.There is a lot of speculation about what actually happened to Sam in the last episode but my own personal conclusion is that he experienced a ‘flash foward’ to the present day.He complained that he could not feel any sensation and had to find out the hard way by jumping off the roof of his police headquarters,confirming that he was indeed residing in 1973.

At least it ended on a happy note where he finally works out where he belongs,he gets the girl and is subject to the whim of a foul mouthed,politically incorrect superior officer.The final appearance of the Test Card Girl,for some strange reason,reminded me of the Thats All Folks segment at the end of all Warner Bros cartoon strips.
A bloody good series and it almost makes me glad to pay the licence fee.We shall just have to wait and see what happens and whether any light can be shed on what happened in ‘Ashes To Ashes…..



“Patrick Stewart has hair!!” or One Clav Divs,Part II

Andy SimpkinsAndy Simpkins   on October 15th, 2006

Instead of making my first blog entry a general ‘How do you do,my name is Andy.I’m 42 years old,I like golf,swimming,scuba diving and I am a New Man and very touchy-feely in a Dave Cameron stylee….’,I thought I would continue in the same vein as my esteemed and pressed collegue on this site;the Boris Johnson lookalike,Mr Tony Gallichan.

For a few weeks, the BBC had been advertising the new TV series:”Ancient Rome;The Rise and Fall of an Empire”,charting the more notable emperors and players in the snakepit of political intrigue that was Rome.I have been following the series which has had some good actors in it like Sean, the son of P’Twee, as Julius Caesar,trying to be a fair ruler of Rome and quelling a Sea Devil uprising in a lighthouse off the mainland of England…(sorry,wrong actor but the soundtrack was great!)

After the first episode had finished and it went to programme links,the announcer said that the costume drama ‘I, Claudius’ was about to start on BBC 4 shortly.Having recently coming into possession of a TV that could pick up the all new,all singing and dancing digital channels, my interest was piqued,to say the least.

“Ah Ha!” I said and flipped over to BBC4.It has been a long time since I saw “I, Claudius” and I was curious to see how it would look again through a pair of eyes that had aged slightly since the last time.At great risk of revealing my age, let’s just say that it first came out on BBC1 (or was it 2?) back in 1976 when I was in my second year at secondary school.Blimey,doesn’t time fly!

Derek Jacobi still shines as the lame and stammering man who would eventually outlive the diabolical machinations of his almost reptilian grandmother Livia,magnificently played by Sian Phillips, as she systematically poisons,banishes or otherwise gets rid of everyone who would stand in her way so that she could make sure that her beloved but surly and taciturn son ;Tiberius (played by George Baker of Blakes 7 and Inspector Wexford fame) can gain ascendancy to the throne of Rome.Brian Blessed as the BOOOOOMMIINNG Augustus Caesar,who despises what he sees but is either too weak or too blind to resist the implacable will of his wife.He,too, eventually falls victim to her schemings after eating poisoned figs.The particular scene I must raise my hat to as Brian Blessed,lying on his death bed, managed to play dead and keep his eyes open and remain expressionless for the best part of two minutes while the camera focused on his face whilst in the background,Livia explained, almost to herself, her motivations and her aims,secure in the knowledge that he could never reveal her innermost thoughts.

I found my eyes watering in sympathy for Brian as I could never keep expressionless for that long and keep my eyes open that long without blinking in order to keep my eyes moist.

In last weeks episode, we saw Patrick Stewart in one of his earliest TV roles as Sejanus;captain of the guard,sporting a full head of wavy hair, and a loyal servant of Livia.This was rather unnerving as I have always imagined that he was born without hair and never developed any during his entire adult life after seeing him appear in ‘Star Trek:The Next Generation’ and ‘Dune’….His role was only a couple of minutes onscreen as he received orders from Livia to go and despatch some of her opponents in a very blood-thirsty manner.

The series is a veritable rolecall of stalwarts of British TV,film and Theatre including a very young looking Ian Ogilvy as Germanicus and John Hurt,who would appear later on in the series as a completely barking-mad Caligula and in the final episode,strangely enough,Christopher Biggins as Nero.An odd choice for the role but he does carry it off very well indeed.

In passing, all I can say is go out and buy it and watch it for yourselves.Where other period costume dramas can look, well, dated,’I Claudius’ has stood the test of time due to the calibre of the acting and those actors who portray those who once took such a major role in forging an empire whose influence still echoes down the ages to this day……..