APTCH – yes and nooooo!

So the “YES!” part is that A Place To Call Home has been renewed for a season 6! I am stoked for this as I have been enjoying season 5 so much. Filming starts in a few months and at the end of next year there will be even more APTCH to watch. Yay!

But now comes the “NOOOO” part, and let me warn you about spoilers ahead for season 5, after this following picture of George (Brett Climo) and Sarah (Marta Dusseldorp)! So, read on at your own peril!

APTCH season 5 Marta Brett

I just watched the 10th episode of season 5 last night. I was very glad Sir Richard got an arse-whooping but not before that prick completely humiliated our lovely doctor, Jack Duncan (Craig Hall), much to the worry of his wife Carolyn (Sara Wiseman), and us viewers, who saw Jack go off the deep end… Will Jack recover from this?

APTCH Jack CarolynBesides that, what was at least as unsettling was the final shot of Regina in that episode (which is not this picture)!

APTCH Regina

Up until the end of season 4 she was one of the best villains I have ever known. The actress Jenni Baird portrays mad and evil Regina so very brilliantly! Regina was finally stopped and sent to an asylum at the end of season 4 and then this season she came back different… reformed… And believe it or not, for such an anti-semitic murderer, I came to feel sympathy for her! Of course, throughout season 5 I was doubting whether she really had reformed, whether she still was evil-plotting. You never can be quite sure with Regina, and Sarah shows us this doubt, but the doubts left with the last disconcerting conversation between these two women in this past episode:

Regina:  Do you know why I so hate Richard? He’s a mirror. I see in him what I was to you. I see what can’t be forgiven, why I can’t hope for a future with the family.
Sarah: Which you can’t.
Regina: Without it, what do I have?
Sarah: You must have some idea of what’s ahead.
Regina: A void.
Sarah: Then you need to fill it.
Regina: With? I spent 3 years regaining my sanity, a year establishing it, months earning your trust – all to make reparation and once that’s done…. there’s nothing but guilt for my crimes… Millie Davis… Brian Taylor, yes, I did shoot him… I’m sure you never doubted…. That’s what will fill the void: guilt for their death.
Sarah: Which means?
Regina: Punishment. Whichever one I deem fit.

And now, at the end of that epsiode, the final shot is of Regina… lying dead (drowned?) on a beach! Noooo! What will A Place To Call Home be without the evil, scheming and possibly/probably reformed Regina? I was truly shocked and wasn’t ready to let her go but apparently it was time. I will miss Regina on this show and believe me, that surprises me too! More spoilers: here’s an interview with actress Jenni Baird about it.

Now we need to find out how she died! Suicide seemed suggested in that conversation she had with Sarah but in the end, I think it was Sir Richard who did this to her…  So much drama! And two more episodes to go…

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APTCH season 5 – halfway mark

A Place to Call Home has started season 5 now, with (I think) 12 episodes in total. Last weekend episode 7 aired, so we’re at the halfway mark for this series. I have only gotten around to (binge-) watching them these past few evenings after emerging from my Suits cocoon. And boy, it is good again! Beware: spoilers ahead, so read at your own peril!

The show starts 5 years after season 4 ended. George (Brett Climo) and Sarah (Marta Dusseldorp) are a couple but a secret one, albeit an open secret. Sarah lives with their son David in a separate house on George’s property (Ash Park). They can’t be together because legally George is still married to Regina, whom he still hopes to be able to divorce. They need to keep up appearances because George is in politics but he comes over to Sarah’s often, although he takes care to never actually spend the night…

Regina (Jenni Baird), in the meantime, is in the insane asylum and after 5 years seems like a very changed woman. She is able to convince her carers that she has changed enough to eventually be released.

The big question throughout these 7 episodes is whether she really is different and good now. She certainly seems to be sincere and apologetic, trying to make amends, but after all the truly terrible things she has done over the 4 seasons before this, it really is hard to believe. George confronts her…

APTCH Regina George

… as does Sarah (I find it magical watching those two women playing off each other on-screen!)…

… but Regina remains humble and in one of the latter episodes tries to take responsibility for her actions and explains some of her actions to Sarah…

Yet, she is still in contact with the absolutely evil Sir Richard (Mark Lee), who, while pretending to be a friend and advisor to George, really wants to take him down!

Sir Richard has been ‘grooming’ her to help him exact his revenge on George, but the question remains: is Regina really in his pocket or is she really repentant? Her actions suggest she really is repentant, as she warns the Bligh family about Sir Richard several times. Yet, she also reports some information to Sir Richard via phone, so it all remains a little dubious…

APTCH Regina (2)

And there are more characters to follow, like George’s sister Carolyn (Sara Wiseman) and her husband Jack (Craig Hall). They are going through a rough patch in their marriage. Carolyn still misses her progressive life in Sydney and tries to find her place (and something to do) as the wife of a town doctor, while Jack is far more conservative and set in his ways. It breaks my heart seeing them so tense together, because they were such an adorable couple (they are married in real life too, btw!).

They are trying to work through it, which becomes clear in a tender moment, but the question really remains whether they can make it through this.

The only truly happy couple are Elizabeth (Noni Hazlehurst) and Douglas (Robert Coleby), who have now been married for 5 years.

Yet A Place To Call Home wouldn’t be A Place To Call Home if some drama didn’t hit and it hits hard when Douglas become terminally ill!

Douglas raises the question of euthanasia, but the world they live in isn’t ready for that. In the last episode so far (number 7), Douglas dies and the actual circumstances of his death are examined. It is heartbreaking stuff and some of it reminded me of my dad passing, which made it extra hard to watch.

It was so beautifully acted by the two but especially by Noni Hazlehurst as Elizabeth. Her grief is palpable, difficult to watch and hits close to home… This last episode shows the grieving Elizabeth leaving Ash Park and makes me fear the worst for her…

APTCH Elizabeth says goodbye (1)

We also have Anna (Abby Earl), who is long divorced from Gino and trying to follow-up the success of her first novel with a second one but suffers from writer’s block. She is in a relationship with her editor, called Ed (Matt Day) but holds back with him, due to the hurt she still feels over her divorce.

The secret boyfriend of Anna’s brother James, Dr. Henry Fox (Tim Draxl), has started working at the Inverness hospital. He butts heads with Dr. Jack, who is less progressive than Henry, and is desperately waiting for James and his wife Olivia to return from Europe (the expectation is that they will have created grounds for divorce during their European trip).

Olivia (Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood) eventually does return from Europe, with her little son Georgie, but James has stayed behind in Europe!

George, upset, calls his son James (David Berry, who now has a part in Outlander, which I guess explains why he isn’t in APTCH so much). James explains that he has decided to stay in the Riviera and build his life there, where he feels he can be more himself than at home in Australia. He has also reunited with his old secret love, which of course breaks Henry Fox’s heart…

I love that A Place To Call Home addresses all these social issues. Being gay is an issue, euthanasia was addressed this time around, psychiatric treatment is again referenced (it was a bigger issue in past seasons when they tried to cure James being gay through psychiatric and shock treatment), rape is an issue (never do a business meeting alone with a man in an apartment or hotel room – feels very topical with all the #metoo news nowadays!), there is a storyline this season of an Aboriginal man named Frank (Aaron Pedersen) and how much every day racism impacts his life…

We also have Sarah struggling with religion. She is Jewish and observant…

APTCH Sarah George Shabbat

… but, other than Shabbat celebration with friends (of whom the daughter is struggling with her Jewish identity), Sarah hasn’t done much to raise her son David in the Jewish faith. It becomes a huge discussion point between her and George when she decides she really does want to raise David Jewish after all.

Sarah is also confronted with her past in the concentration camp of Ravensbrück during World War II when, during a social event, she runs into a former camp guard! It totally throws her off course…

… and she later goes to confront this lady called Gerda/Frieda (Helen Thompson) in her hotel room. This is a tour de force by actress Marta Dusseldorp who battles with initial fear but overcomes it, becomes angry, threatening and makes it clear to Gerda that in the end her past will catch up with her.

She later tells George stories of what Gerda did in Ravensbrück, which too is heart wrenching…

I am still really loving this series and I especially love the very strong female roles. Sarah, Regina and Elizabeth are the three most fascinating characters and I swear they all 3 deserve awards for their performances! I also really like Carolyn (she could use an award as well!) and I like Anna too. The men are not exactly supporting characters but I think the stories really are mostly women-driven. You don’t see a lot of that on TV, I feel. Of the men, George and Jack are great to watch as well and I am so sorry we had to lose Douglas… I am loathing Sir Richard, which means the actor is playing his role well, and I am also sorry we’ll be having less James (I like him more than Henry).

There is still enough to explore for the rest of this series and if I were religious, I’d be praying that they won’t let Elizabeth die! I’m also hoping Sir Richard, that schemer and rapist, comes to some horrible end.  And will Caro and Jack make it? Will George and Sarah finally be able to marry? Is Regina really done with her evil, scheming ways? Many questions and more to be answered in the second half of this season and I am looking forward to it! I hope there will be a sixth season after this…

Down time & Mr. Rochester

After a few very busy weeks since our summer holiday, I finally feel like I have a moment to breathe again, sort of like my kids in this picture from a few weeks ago in England:

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Here is the list of what’s been occupying me (and I didn’t even put the news or Digital Theatre on it! Still haven’t heard from them, by the way, need to send a reminder e-mail…):

  • Attention has been focussed on my kids who both started new schools. They have both made very good starts and I can’t even begin to express how relieved I am about that! The relief is especially big in my daughter’s case, as she’s had it so tough last year. She has been coming home from school happy and I haven’t seen that in her in a long, long time. My son was a bit overwhelmed with the world of his new hotel management school at first, but even he is coming home happy. Yes, a good start and when the kids seem happy it does a lot for a mama’s happiness as well.
  • The house was in disarray for a few weeks due to some projects but that’s under control now.
  • The Dutch class I teach for a very small group of foreigners will be starting up again next week but some things in the organization have changed, so there have been meetings and e-mails and such.
  • Work has been busy for us but especially so for me. Yesterday I had to train a group of colleagues (it was a pilot) with an afternoon programme that I had completely set up and prepared. It was one of the reasons why I was hired, so the pressure was really on for it to be good. Luckily, it was! It will need a few small tweaks here and there (it’s not a pilot for nothing), but overall it went really well. Another great relief!

I have been working so much this past week that I was able to take this afternoon off and do some clothes shopping. I finally found a coat for the autumn that I like and for the right price too! Back home again and right now, my daughter is upstairs in her room chatting on her phone with friends, my son is at a friend’s house, Mr Esther is preparing his delicious signature lasagna dish for dinner and I’m on the couch at my laptop. I keep on thinking I need to jump up and DO something but no, I don’t need to do anything! I can just be! It feels a little unreal…

So, I just had to use this down time to blog again, but as I don’t know what about (and no, I can’t do news right now, it’s a bit overwhelming with all the horrible floods in Texas and South East Asia), this is the post you get. 🙂 I can now more fully focus my attention on the more trivial things in life. For example, I am excited for season 5 of A Place To Call Home to begin, the first trailer is looking lovely and dramatic…

It’ll be another month before it airs but it’s really something to look forward to!

I also just stumbled on this picture of Richard Armitage again while my screen saver was running earlier and it made my heart skip a beat again…

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And finally, I hope that this weekend I will find the peace of mind to write-up my impressions of the Jane Eyre play I saw in Leeds a few weeks ago. I’m still very much in Jane Eyre world as I am reading Mr Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker right now, which tells the story from Mr. Rochester’s point of view. The largest part of the book covers the time before he meets Jane and (almost surprisingly) I am flying through this and am finding it a great read!

This fan fiction (which this or any other re-telling basically is) is, I think, the best I’ve ever read! And hey, doesn’t the profile on the cover remind you of someone? Maybe (besides Shakespeare in the theatre in London at the end of next year – yay!), having Richard Armitage cast as Mr Rochester for a film adaptation of this book would be a good idea? A girl can dream, right?

The little shows that could…

You leave town for a few days and all sorts of good things happen! Maybe I need to leave town more often… 😉 This is about two women-centered shows that look really big production-wise, but have been struggling to get continued and financed.

The first piece of good news is that it looks like there really will be a Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries sequel! The show has stopped for now, after 3 seasons (broadcast between 2012 and 2015), but there has always been talk about wanting to continue, about maybe making a Miss Fisher movie. That dream seems to be getting closer to reality now, as announced on their official Facebook page recently:

Miss Fisher Essie Davis Nathan Page

I would so very much welcome this, I love this show! They have a passionate fan following, I hope that helps with getting this thing financed as well.

What passionate fans can do is shown with another Aussie show I love called A Place to Call Home. That show was cancelled after two seasons, but after protests from fans and an action group called “Save A Place to Call Home”, another channel picked up the show after all and two more seasons were made. A fifth season is being filmed now as we speak. And now, this past weekend, the show has won the most important Australian TV award, a Logie, for ‘Most Outstanding Drama’! Such a thrill for a show that has been on the brink. I really liked the acceptance speech given by Noni Hazlehurst, who plays the matriarch on the show:

I am thrilled for the show and that it has become so successful against all odds. They have been nominated last year and this year in other (mostly acting) categories as well, and now this win just tops it all. Personally I would have liked to see Jenni Baird win as well for Outstanding Supporting Actress (she plays the baddie and wore the black dress with flowers at the awards); she is one of the greatest baddies I have ever seen in anything! Alas, the lead actress, Marta Dusseldorp (also nominated!), couldn’t be there…

Marta Dusseldorp

… but the rest of the cast made a very nice-looking group during that awards evening.

Congratulations to the A Place to Call Home team!

A fan video post

In the past few months I have made a few new fan videos. I uploaded the latest today and thought I’d share. The first two videos may only appeal if you actually know the shows they were made for, the last video may have a wider appeal.

In October I made a video for the BBC series Silent Witness; it wasn’t for the more recent series, but for the older ones when Nikki was still working with Harry and Leo and the three of them made the best team. I started making fan videos because of this show and thought I was done because Harry and Leo are no longer there. Then I heard this song and immediately images of Nikki and Harry flooded back again. So, I dusted off the old clips I had once made, and created this video. I still miss Harry and Leo and the magic of these three together so very much… and I still secretly hope that Harry will one day return (sadly Leo will never be able to)!


The second video is for the Australian TV series A Place to Call Home. This past fall series 4 aired which was yet again good and very dramatic. I have made several videos before for this series but this time I made a video with only season 4 clips, illustrating the latest part of the journey for Sarah and George. So, beware of series 4 spoilers if you haven’t seen the latest A Place to Call Home series yet!


And last but not least, a ‘miscellaneous’ project I have had cooking for a while now, ever since I saw this video about President Obama. It is no secret that I have loved the Obamas in the White House and that I will miss them. I have been looking at pictures over the last months, mostly taken by White House photographer Pete Souza, and the images are beautiful, touching, fun and striking. I have been collecting them and all the while two “Don’t go” songs have been swirling around in my head while I look at them. So, I made a 7 minute video with images set to both these songs. In a working democracy it is inevitable that a president leaves, even if he was a very good one in my view, but I will miss the Obamas nonetheless…

I have been sitting on this video for a while (just added the last two images today) because I really don’t want to get into political discussions. It would be pointless, I won’t agree with the opposing view and the opposing view will not agree with me anyhow. However, especially after yesterday’s disastrous inauguration speech by the new president, I do really want to celebrate the Obamas and I am pleased to have now done that with this video.