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…

Blog FAQ… sorta…

As those of you blogging on WordPress may know, you can see what search terms were used by people who have found your site. Most terms are not recorded due to privacy issues, but some searches do make it ‘on record’. The latest one I saw on my stats list today is “audrey hepburn showing middle finger” in Russian (I had to google-translate it)! Oh, that made me laugh!

Many of the search terms used are general ones about Richard Armitage or Colin Firth or Simon Baker and The Mentalist but some search terms are just downright intriguing, interesting or funny! I find myself reacting to some of these searches as if they were frequently asked questions posed to me. It’s a nice little game to play.

So, here goes, the “FAQ’s” that lead to my blog! Well, not really… sorta… (most of these questions are only mentioned once on my list). 🙂

audrey hepburn showing middle finger – Hahaha! Now that I’d like to see… When googling it I find this manipulated photo/gif, apparently it’s a thing!

audrey-finger

 

images eddie redmayne socks – What is special about Eddie Redmayne’s socks? I can’t seem to figure it out but I’d love to know. So, if anyone can elaborate, please feel free to do so. Maybe his socks are very colourful, just like Richard Armitage’s seem to be?

 

richard armitage beautiful man – Well, yeah, can’t argue against that! If you read this blog, you will know that that is a fact of life for me.

RA Woof

 

james cromwell in a fairy film – Apparently when you type that into google, my site is the first one to come up! I guess the search must have been for the movie Babe. Yeah, I blogged about that once. Lovely film!

JC fairy film search

 

i absolutely love colin firth – Me too! He features regularly on my blog!

 

is alistair appleton married? – I confess that I don’t know. He occasionally presents Escape to the Country on the BBC, he’s a Buddhist, he’s a psychotherapist and gives workshops, it says on wikipedia that he’s ‘openly gay’, he has his own site and blog! Every time I look at him I am filled with warm feelings. It’s something in his eyes and a kindness in his face.

 

richard spandex – Ah, yes! Looks like that could become a thing maybe? Sadly it looks like we will never get to see Richard Armitage in spandex now that he won’t be in the Mid Life Crisis movie anymore (not that spandex was guaranteed in that movie by any means). The closest thing to an image of Richard in spandex (that I know of) is the picture of him in that dragon suit for Hannibal.

RA Dragon

Of course, this question may have nothing to do with Armitage at all but could be about any Richard out there… This is what my ‘richard spandex’ search came up with in the first few images displayed (be warned when clicking on them, there’s at least one quite graphic image amongst these 😉 ):

 

richard armitage bare chest AND richard armitage crucible naked – He wasn’t actually naked in The Crucible but yes, he definitely was bare chested in it for a little bit! Wish I had been sitting on the front row in the theatre for that, but luckily it can all be viewed beautifully again and again on Digital Theatre.

armitage proctor @washbasin

 

wet mr darcy – Yes, please.

In fact, the post I once did on wet shirts and bare chests is still quite well read… 😉

andy serkis shirtless – I see a search theme emerging here… I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Andy Serkis shirtless! I have seen him in spandex, or whatever that tight stuff is that he has to wear for his CGI work.

serkis gollum cgi.jpg

 

michael palin the hobbit – Alas, no, Michael Palin wasn’t in The Hobbit. More’s the pity…

daughter is in jail – Well, she’s only 12. I suppose juvenile detention could be an option but no, I have not seen real criminal tendencies in my daughter yet.

how do you say, “happy belated birthday”, in czech? – Even though I have been to the Czech Republic (and the next visit is coming right up, this time to the East right near Poland), I have not learned to speak Czech yet. Google Translate says that “belated happy birthday” translates as”opožděné přání k narozeninám“. Not at all sure how you pronounce that and of course I can not vouch for the correctness of the translation.

is the book of esther a comedy – No, can’t say that it is. Not this one and not the Bible one either. Although maybe some parts could be funny-ish.

was the book of esther about love – This Book of Esther blog is about things that I love and care about, so in that sense, yes. The Book of Esther in the Bible (incidentally, I was named after that Esther) is about love too. The Persian king loves Esther, Esther loves her people and saves them from persecution. I can’t quite remember whether Esther actually falls in love with King Ahasverus herself, but yeah, lots of things are done in the name of love in that Bible book.

Megillat Esther
(source: http://www.loc.gov/rr/amed/guide/hs-foreword.html)

 

boys sexy 3 piece suits – Oh, yes please! I’ve blogged about that too.

esther rose thomas lovely deaf signer – For a moment I thought it said ‘singer’ but it says ‘signer’. I’ve never heard of her, but she sounds and looks lovely!

jisbon fun photo – Which one? I hope you found it! (For those not in the know: Jisbon is the ‘shipper’ name for Patrick Jane and Theresa Lisbon from The Mentalist). I get quite a lot of searches about The Mentalist, Simon Baker and about his wife Rebecca Rigg. They truly are a gorgeous couple worth searching for.

 

call the midwife mark strong – Nope, Mark Strong was never in Call the Midwife. I do get quite a lot of Mark Strong searches, but alas, I haven’t blogged about him that much. I do like him, though!

marta dusseldorp nose – Ah, the lead actress in A Place to Call Home! Yes, her nose does have quite a distinctive shape (click on images to enlarge). I love distinctive noses. In fact, her co-star Brett Climo has a distinctive one as well! Just like some other people I know.

 

chris armitage brother of richard armitage – This is the most used search term in my list, which surprises me because I don’t think I have ever blogged about Richard’s family! I know nothing about them except for their names (except for Richard’s sister-in-law’s name) and that they come from Leicester.

have a beautiful day my love – Thank you!! You too!

Fan videos, fan fiction, fangirling

The latest “Mach was!” (“Do something!”) topic is Pö’s challenge to do something with your favourite TV series.

I have loved stories in movies and stories in certain TV series for ages and ages. And I’ve always been a fangirl of some sort! I’ll stick to my TV series fangirling here (although, when I started ‘fangirling’ I don’t think it had that name yet!).

The first TV series I loved as a young girl was Little House on the Prairie. I loved the series, I loved the books, I wanted to be Laura Ingalls, wanted long brown hair like her and the worst possible insult was being compared to Nellie Oleson (which sometimes happened because I was blond like her)! I found out much later that as much as Laura and Nellie hated each other on-screen the actresses portraying them (Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim) became good friends in real life.

I collected pictures from magazines, read everything I could about Laura – basically did the best fangirling I could do before the internet.

My first own fan creation is a fan fiction I wrote (not typed, but actually wrote in a paper notebook!) at the age of 19 or 20. I still have it somewhere, never finished it though. I wrote it for an Australian TV series called The Flying Doctors that I was absolutely addicted to at the time. My favourites on the show were Dr Geoff and nurse Kate and I loved watching their relationship slowly unfold.

The fiction I wrote, however, was not about them but about Dr. David Ratcliffe, a young new doctor who came on later in the show.

I wrote a story about him falling in love with an original female character (travelling through the Australian outback but setting roots for a while in the town of Coopers Crossing where the doctors were based), as the writers didn’t seem to be able to give David a proper love interest on the show. I never realised I was writing what is now called ‘fan fiction’ and I imagined I was the only one in the world doing that. Thanks to the internet I now know many many others have the urge to write fan fiction as well!

The next fan fiction I wrote was some 16 years later! I had seen the North and South TV mini series, I had fallen in love with Richard Armitage and I just needed to continue the story! So I wrote about Margaret returning with John to Milton, making peace with Mrs Thornton and about Henry trying to break them up again but not succeeding… Here’s the title page I made for that fic:N&S continued

Reading it again, it’s alright but not great and rather sappy with quite some mistakes in it too, so I don’t think I want to own up to it here… It was the first fan creation I shared on the internet, though! And it’s still around if you know where to look. 😉

North & South also awakened my interest in fan videos. I watched countless fan vids online that were being made at the time. I had no clue how to make them myself, though. But finally one day, I tried one. Not for North & South however, as there were already so many good ones for N&S out there; I made my first fan video for another TV series.

The TV series was called Silent Witness and again, there was a couple at the heart of the show – the developing relationship between pathologists Dr. Nikki Alexander and Dr. Harry Cunningham. In fact, my interest in these two had been awakened by a fan video I had accidentally come across and had really enjoyed! So, I started watching Silent Witness and along the way made screen caps for myself. I one day decided to set these screen caps to music in a PowerPoint presentation. Only after I had done that did I discover I actually had video making software on my laptop and I started experimenting with it. That old Windows Moviemaker software has more possibilities than the current newer version, so every time I got a new laptop I installed the old Moviemaker on it. To this day that’s what I use to make videos. It’s not very advanced software but it’s free. Anyway – I remade that first Powerpoint video in Moviemaker, set up a YouTube channel and posted it. Here is that first crude effort, in case you’re interested (I made vids under the pseudonym of  ‘Hannah’):

Not long after that I ‘graduated’ to making videos with actual real video clips (that I had painstakingly sourced myself)! Figured it all out on my own and was quite proud. Those vids aren’t great, but hey, it’s a learning process! Alas, Harry & Nikki never actually got together on the show, so in my frustration I also wrote fan fiction about them where they of course do get together! Also still around on the internet if you know where to look. 🙂

Sometime later I discovered The Mentalist and became completely enamoured with that show! Four years ago I made my first Mentalist video to the song That man. To this day that remains one of my absolute fave vids that I made. The image sizing isn’t ideal, which at that point I hadn’t quite figured out yet, but I still love the pacing and rhythm in this video and how the lyrics suited the images (all of them from season 3) that I had chosen. To this day it is also the most popular video on my channel.

I have made videos to some other TV shows as well. There are a few The Lizzie Bennet Diaries vids (technically not a TV show, but a YouTube vlog series), I even made two Remington Steele ones, I made a few for Call the Midwife and lately I have been vidding like crazy for two new (to me) Australian TV series that I have absolutely fallen in love with! What’s extra fun is that both these series connect back to The Flying Doctors, the object of my first fan creation!

First off, A Place to Call Home which stars Brett Climo in the lead male role. Climo also played David Ratcliffe, the doctor I wrote my first fan fic about! In A Place to Call Home he is even briefly reunited with Andrew McFarlane who played his colleague Dr. Tom Callaghan on Flying Doctors and on A Place to Call Home McFarlane plays the small role of a far less heroic psychiatric doctor in season 2…

Anyway, I digress. I have made a few fan videos for A Place to Call Home that I already blogged shortly about here, here and here.

And now I am also obsessed with Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and there are Flying Doctors connections in that too! Phryne Fisher’s best friend Doctor Mac is played by Tammy Macintosh who also briefly played nurse Annie on Flying Doctors.

And Phryne’s ex-lover Rene is played by Peter O’Brien who was pilot Sam on Flying Doctors.

And even my fave doctor Geoffrey Standish (Robert Grubb) had a small guest role on Miss Fisher (series 1 episode 4 as owner of a business whose workers are on strike).

But this post isn’t about Flying Doctors connections, it’s about doing something with your favourite TV series. So, adding to the many favourite TV series I’ve known, I am right now into making Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries videos. I already posted about two video’s I had made here and here but in the meantime I have made 4 more videos… Yeah,  I know, it just needs to stop… Anyway, here they are:

“Ain’t she sweet”:

“A heart that runs as deep as the Pacific ocean” (a bit of an angsty video):

“A coffee, a sandwich and you” (as Jack loves his food so much):

“That’s what friends are for”(highlighting the tactile side of the Phryne & Jack relationship):

There are more TV series I really enjoy (like right now Blindspot) but not all series make me actually want to be creative. For Blindspot for instance, I would have no idea where to start or what to do. I’m not sure why the series I have mentioned above have made me do something creative. Maybe it’s a sense of needing to add something, the need to resolve something that is unresolved or the need to relive a certain aspect of certain characters’ stories. Yes, reliving certain aspects has a lot to do with it, now that I think of it… in my videos I am always highlighting a certain aspect of a relationship I love, telling that part of the characters’ stories.  But sourcing clips takes up a lot of time, so I only do it for those TV shows where I feel I have something to add to what’s already out there.

As for fan fiction – that’s about resolving unresolved issues. In addition to fics already mentioned, I’ve written a Mentalist short one shot and I even wrote a short Ally McBeal one because I always felt she should have ended up with Larry (and I pretended the last season never happened). I sort of start writing the fan fiction in my head in bed before I fall asleep at night. It relaxes me and takes my mind off any worries I might have, works better than any sleeping drugs out there. Sometimes the nighttime stories in my mind need to be written down and they turn into fan fiction. They never feel quite good enough, though. I am braver about posting fan videos than owning up to my fan fiction attempts…

So yeah, I have done quite a lot with TV series… perfectly fitting to share all of this for the “Mach’ was!” challenge, I figured! 🙂

A Place to Call Home!

My latest obsession – an Australian tv series set in 1953/1954 called A Place to Call Home!

APTCH (2)

By accident I caught most of the first episode of the series here on TV and was instantly intrigued. Got my hands on the rest of the series and I am hooked now! I’ve been bingewatching all the episodes, I just can’t get enough…  Apparently the series was unexpectedly canceled after 2 seasons but by popular demand of many fans was resurrected on another channel. I find it absolutely wonderful that a series can be revived because of fans! Series 3 finished airing at the end of 2015 and series 4 will be made this year.

The story centres around the nurse Sarah Adams who in 1953 returns to Australia after having lived in Europe for 20 years.

 

APTCH (8)On board ship she meets George Bligh, a widower with a 20 year old daughter and a just married son. They are returning to Australia after the son’s wedding to a young English woman.

APTCH 1x01 (43)

Sarah works as a nurse during the 3 week ship crossing and has to care for George Bligh’s mother who takes an instant dislike to her, which is heightened when Sarah saves George’s son from a suicide attempt.

Once in Australia Sarah visits her own mother who wants nothing to do with her, as Sarah converted to Judaism before the war and her mother can not forgive her for that. So Sarah writes to George, who had told her of a job opening in the hospital of the town he lives in, and she goes there – to try and find a home and settle down, something she hasn’t been able to do since the war in Europe.

Sarah is full of mystery and only over several episodes is her tragic and difficult past revealed in bits and pieces as she tries to fit in to life in the town of Inverness. She has to deal with a venomous Mrs. Bligh who desperately does everything in her power to make Sarah leave but she also makes friends: with the hospital doctor, and an older man she had to care for who offers her a place to stay, and of course, George Bligh. The characters in this series – I love them!

Sarah (Marta Dusseldorp – Dutch surname, the actess’s dad is apparently Dutch!) is the woman who has risen from a very dire past and wants to make a living for herself. She also finds herself falling in love, something she had never expected to ever do again.

vlcsnap-2016-01-30-23h02m57s917

George (Brett Climo) is the warm and gentlemanlike friend who falls in love with Sarah. He is also the reason why I got stuck watching that first episode! I remembered the actor from my absolute favourite TV series at the end 1980s/early 1990s (also Australian) called The Flying Doctors. He played Dr. David Ratcliffe in it who eventually came to a tragic and sudden end and that absolutely shocked me at the time (and I still haven’t forgiven the writers for that!). Anyway, ‘David’ is now kind George Bligh!

APTCH 1x01 (96)

George’s son James (David Berry) is newly wed to Olivia (Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood) but suicidal, hiding the secret that he is gay… That storyline is heartwrenching, absolutely worth the watch in seeing how he tries to deal with the ‘abomination’ of being gay and how his wife, who eventually finds out, tries to deal with that as well.

placetocall-olivia-james

George’s daughter Anna (Abby Earl) is a happy, seemingly carefree twenty year old, in love with neighbouring young Italian farmer Gino (Aldo Mignone), which has to remain secret as he is not upper class and wealthy enough to be an official suitor for her.

Anna Gino

George’s mother, Elizabeth Bligh (Noni Hazlehurst), is a formidable woman. No scandal is allowed to touch her family. She is a lioness fighting for her cubs, wanting ‘what’s best’ at all cost, trying to control them and fit into convention and yet, deep inside, there is a heart there… somewhere.

Mrs Bligh

Then there’s Dr. Jack Carson (Craig Hall), who feels an instant connection to Sarah but has his own war time demons to deal with. A warm character who has a very close connection to Mrs. Bligh and only as the story goes on do we understand why. He also turns out to have a connection to George’s sister Carolyn (Sara Wiseman) who, as the ‘black sheep’ of the family, lives a bohemian life in Sydney.

APTCH (7)

And there’s tough farmer Roy Briggs (Frankie J. Holden) with a heart of gold who instantly connects with nurse Sarah. They develop a warm friendship, a father-daughter kind of relationship, and he offers her a home. There’s also town gossip Doris (Deborah Kennedy), who needs to be carefully navigated. She means well, but can’t help poking her nose into everything.

Roy Doris

Last but by no means least, later on in the first series we are also introduced to Regina (Jenni Baird), the sister of George’s deceased wife. She is chillingly, menacingly evil and will do absolutely anything to ensnare George for herself.

Regina

Ah yes, I’m so hooked! A story about a lost woman, damaged by the war, trying to find herself and a life. There’s romance, secrets, heartwrenching drama, intrigue and love in all sorts of forms.

APTCH 1x06 (8)APTCH 2x02 (21)

I love that this series centers around a middle-aged woman and man. I love that it’s mostly about people who have actually experienced life and still have new challenges to meet. However, it is also about young people starting to deal with what life has to throw at them. I love the 1950s setting, the effect of the war still very much being felt and still influencing the lives of the people. I love that it raises issues such as learning to live with past trauma, homosexuality, antisemitism, interfaith relationships, out-of-wedlock pregnancy, trying to deal with social conventions. It all looks gorgeous too, sets are beautiful and then there are the cars and the fashion – all in all, a delight to watch! Here’s a trailer:

 

I hear of comparisons of this series to Downton Abbey but while I have never been that big on Downtown Abbey, I am very big on A Place to Call Home! The series is slowly starting to gather an international following as some countries are picking it up for broadcast. Should this have awakened your interest: the DVD’s are available from Amazon. There will be a series 4 and already I can hardly wait for it! I will have to, though, as I think they haven’t started filming it yet…