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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My latest brush with fame!

I’ve had a few brushes of contact with famous people in my life. Not many, but some!

My first brush with fame was when I was a 4 year old girl living in Jerusalem and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Max van der Stoel, came to visit. They wanted a small Dutch kid to present him with flowers and my parents were approached for this, I think through the mayor’s office. My dad and the mayor knew each other through the work my dad did. I actually remember this occasion! I was very excited beforehand, I remember wearing a light blue dress, but when the time came, I got too shy and my dad had to help me hand over the flowers. That’s Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek grinning in the far left of the picture, Van der Stoel with the flowers and dark-rimmed glasses, shy me with hands in my mouth and on the right my dad, grinning wildly after he helped me hand over the flowers.

Max van der Stoel

When I was 15, I briefly met German president Richard von Weizsäcker once when he visited my dad’s office in Germany in support of the work my dad did in Jewish-Christian dialogue (you can see the back of my dad on the left in this picture)…

1985 Von Weizsäcker in Buber House

Another famous man my dad worked with a lot and whom we saw on occasion was the former Archbishop of Canterbury from 1974-1980, Lord Donald Coggan. Donald Cogggan was a very special and warm man, modest, smart and funny. He used to call my younger brother and sister and me his ‘scallywags’ and there is one picture of us that I treasure…

Scallywags_ed

Another brief moment of contact with a famous person is with Gregory Peck, although I never met him personally. I had once written him a fan letter (the one and only one I have ever written) and requested an autograph from him. I never heard back, gave up on it, until two or so years later I finally received a response! I got an autographed picture, along with a note of apology. Apparently a bag of fan mail had been misplaced, which is why it had taken so long for me to get a response! That autographed picture has gotten lost in this house somewhere and I am still determined to find it, along with the note and the envelope it came in. The picture that was signed looked like this one (found this image on Ebay):Gregory Peck autographWhen I was 22, I went to a book signing in a bookstore here in The Netherlands and briefly met Peter Ustinov! He signed his book for me, which I was getting for my birthday on that day. Esje is my family’s nickname for me and I can’t remeber why I would have told Mr Ustinov that. I do remember him being very personable, maybe he asked if I had a nickname? It’s too long ago, I can’t remember…

I have of course met Richard Armitage briefly at the stage door in London in 2014 and have autographed items and a picture to help me remember that…

I have caught a glimpse of Pierce Brosnan up close and personal and he signed a picture my friend, a huge Brosnan fan, had…

I have spent an evening in the company of Michael Palin, listening to him talk about Ernest Hemingway and, a few months later, received a personally autographed book from him that my husband had gotten for me for my birthday!

And this past summer, I even briefly met and chatted with Lord Charles Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother. He also signed a book for us (but it’s also made out to my husband, so I won’t post a picture of that here, Mr Esther’s real name is not for this blog).

My greatest brush with someone famous on the internet was when actress Sara Wiseman, who plays Carolyn on A Place To Call Home, liked my retweet of her tweet on Valentine’s Day 2016 and I was stoked about that…

Sara Wiseman tweet like 14-02-2016

And now today, two and a half hours ago, I discovered my latest brush with fame: Marta Dusseldorp, lead actress playing Sarah on A Place to Call Home, actually RETWEETED my tweet of yesterday in which I gush about APTCH season 5! Holy crap, I swear my heart stopped for a moment when I saw that! I never aim to have likes, replies or god forbid, retweets of any kind, but this one certainly has me stoked! Here, a screenshot from my phone when I discovered it!

Marta Dusseldorp retweet

So, thank you Marta Dusseldorp for making my day! And may we enjoy your talents for a long, long time to come!

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…

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!

The good TV news post

So, first off: Berlin Station. Berlin Station has been renewed for a second season! Whether Richard Armitage will be part of that remains to be seen. I watch this show solely for Richard now and while I at first was quite intrigued with Berlin Station, my interest has slowly waned. The spying and double agendas and such have become a tad annoying to me. We really continue to know little about the characters, notably Daniel Miller (Richard’s role), and there is so much going on – just when you start to feel invested in one storyline, another is picked up and followed. But I still love the Berlin Station titles sequence with David Bowie’s song (and Bowie songs playing regularly in the background in several  episodes), I like that it’s set in Berlin and I think they should have billed Richard Jenkins above Richard Armitage because for me the show is more about Steven Frost than Daniel Miller (and Jenkins totally nails his role!).

richard_jenkins_in_berlin_station_2016Oh, and the Daniel and Esther (!!) fantasy (I ignore the double agendas) is nice to look at… 😉

However, If Daniel Miller doesn’t survive this first season I doubt I will watch the second season.

Next up: A Place to Call Home. A Place to Call Home is nearing the end of season 4 in Australia right now. I love the show, have made fan videos for it,  and this past week it was announced that there will be a season 5! The press release says: “Season five will time jump to 1958, where four years have passed since we left Sarah (Marta Dusseldorp) and the Bligh family.” The baddie, Regina (absolutely brilliantly and chillingly acted by Jenni Baird) is so evil – it looks like her end is nearing in season 4, but will she really be defeated?

aptch-regina

And will George and Sarah finally be free to marry?

aptch-sarah-george

And there are many more questions which will possibly be answered in the final episode of season 4 next week – but what will it all mean for season 5? I’m already stoked for the future of this series!

Also, great news about Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which is another show I love and have made fan videos for! Miss Fisher will (most probably) be continued in a trilogy of movies! Filming next year for the first movie, with a release in 2018. I really hope this happens, can’t wait to see what’s in store for Phryne Fisher and also Jack Robinson!

Last but not least – in three days the 4 new TV movie episodes of The Gilmore Girls will be released on Netflix! After my recent binge-watch of a lot of the series I am really giddy with anticipation for this one. I hope it can live up to expectations…

Yes, in a time of awful election news and subsequent daily US news that leaves me more and more depressed, these little TV highlights really do cheer me up somewhat!