Saturday, 28 December 2013

Not Mellow Bird's

Yes Mellow Bird's, it's for people who like the idea of coffee but don't actually like coffee, not that I advocate that all samplings of that beverage should be succeeded by the sensation of ants crawling inside your skull for the next five hours, like the cappuccino in my local cafe, but it takes the concept of mellow to a ridiculous level. At one time Joanna Lumley graced the TV ads, as they were trying to lift the brand from its rather sedate customer base, that consisted largely of your granny and her mates at the jam making circle. The ads that established the brand featured Kenneth Moore, whose on screen chemistry was still potent enough to entice his ageing female fan base into the fold. Moore was an interesting screen personality, he's kind of like the British version of Marlon Brando, by that I mean they were both singularly undemonstrative but strangely effective actors. Brando would portray tension and repressed aggression, Moore would represent attributes associated more with a British stereotype, the stiff upper lip and those wounds that don't show on the surface but cut deep in the flesh of the character.

So it's with a certain fondness I remember one of his later outings on the small screen, An Englishman's Castle, written by Philip Mackie. These days it would be called a mini series but I think the term had little coin back then. First shown in 1978 or possibly 79, two - er interesting years if lived in Britain at the time, an Englishman's Castle is one of those alternative history stories ie, what if the Germans won the war. Mackie's take on this topic concerns a TV dramatist, the writer of a historical soap opera -- that concerns itself with the German invasion of Britain. The script is pretty damned clever and Mackie doesn't shy away from the odd stylisation and use of artistic licence to tell his story and it's a bloody good story too, that I recall resonated sharply with the audience. In fact I'm pretty certain that a British comic writer of renown cribbed more than a few ideas from it when he came to publish his own depiction of a dystopian Britain a few years later.

Unfortuantly there's some very bad news concerning An Englishman's Castle, see it was produced by the BBC and their custodianship of Britain's TV legacy is somewhat wanting, so it's no surprise to learn that the master has been long since been whipped. There is whoever some good news, looks like some naughty bod taped a monitor feed and if you can ignore the synchronous time stamp in the upper corner, some other naughty bod has made it available on Youtube, give it a go, it comes highly recommended from DeadSpiderEye.


  1. Kenneth More (yup, that's how it's spelt) was a great actor - very understated. Much acclaimed for 'Reach For The Sky', I also enjoyed the western he did with Jayne Mansfield, wherein he was mistaken for a 'quick-draw' shootist. One of those Sunday afternoon movies, but entertaining nonetheless.

    1. I suppose I should edit that error, I normally leave 'em in when someone's pointed 'em out to vindicate the person who spotted it but it's peppered all the way through this one. I haven't seen the Jayne Mansfield film and it's decades since I've seen Reach for the Sky. I really enjoyed seeing him in An Englishman's Castle though, he was perfect for the part.

    2. Hey, I've just thought, seeing as I make reference to an author I meant to keep unnamed, I wonder if the error could be considered a parapraxis?