Back in April, one of my good friends asked if I wanted to go see McBusted with her last minute -she’d found seats and couldn’t resist going again (she went on to see them 3 time more.) It took me all about 10 seconds for me to say yes. I’m 23 years old, and while I haven’t been a huge fan of McFly, I was still a fan, and the added factor of having Matt Willis and James Bourne join the band from Busted, who I loved when I was in my early teens convinced me that it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. The seats turned out to be extremely good ones; we were only 5 rows from the front and I had one of the best times at a gig. The guys were energetic, fun and put on a brilliant show which left me with a huge smile on my face. When same said friend asked me over the weekend if I wanted to come see the tour film with her, I again couldn’t resist relieving the whole experience again. The movie revisited all the same songs I loved on the evening, offering footage from O2 Arena in London and also their show in the summer at Hyde Park, whilst also providing some candid backstage footage and interviews with all the band. Whilst watching the film, surrounded by dare I say, a lot of people/girls that were younger than me, I suddenly had those same emotions and feelings that I did on that night back in April -an overwhelming feeling of being happy. These 6 guys are incredibly infectious to watch -they may all be in their early 30’s with many in committed relationships or married, but their behaviour is a lot like children. They run round a brilliant set, jump, and sing their way through the McFly and Busted back catalogue, singing fan favourites such as “Year 3000”, “Crashed the Wedding”, “Five Colours in her Hair”, and “Obviously”. They looked like they were having a blast when I saw them live, and this film proved that -I lost count of the amount of times each of them said how blessed they felt to be given this opportunity, and how much fun they were having. This was particularly shown by the Busted boys, who thought they would never get the chance to sing these songs again after the band split up back in 2005. While the show didn’t show much of each members personal life, the film was very much about the band, and truly showed how well they all connect and get on. The chemistry shone on screen and it really plastered a smile on my face to watch their interactions and band rituals, particularly the clap. This involved all the band standing in a semi-circle before going on, following one members lead and clapping once so that it makes one sound. Each take they used in the film, the boys got it in one. For anyone that was or is a fan of McFly, Busted or McBusted, then this is a film for you. Even if you didn’t get to see the tour, you can experience the excitement and the fun that they created every night on-screen, and if you were lucky enough to see it, like me, then relieve it all over again. I promise it’s worth it.
Peaky Blinders which aired its first season last year was yet another brilliant original British drama from the BBC starring Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill and Helen McCrory. It’s based on the violent Peaky Blinders gang that ran out of Birmingham in the 1920’s that were famous for slashing their victims with knives in their caps. Cillian Murphy leads the cast as Thomas ‘Tommy’ Shelby, the head of the Shelby family and the Blinders gang. Murphy just has such an enigmatic face and is just fantastic in this role. As a war veteran, the effects are still very much there, and it comes across with his cold, detached nature. He’s also a man of not so many words, and Murphy lets his face do all the talking for him. Calm and collected, he faces a lot of twists and turns within the betting business the family run and also within the family unit itself.
The overall series arc involves Tommy coming across military guns, choosing to keep them rather than get rid; it brings Inspector Campbell to Birmingham and their door, played by the brilliant Sam Neill. The inspector goes through quite a transformation across the first series, from the bible quoting man who says he’s going to clean up the streets and make everything better, to a man who uses brothel houses (whilst mistreating and having rough sex with the whores there too) and ultimately loathing himself for not being man enough for the woman he loves. That woman is the centre of a tricky love triangle/power play between Campbell and Tommy Shelby. Grace, played by Annabelle Wallis begins work as a barmaid in the Garrison, a pub the family has as its stomping ground, and soon strikes an unlikely friendship with Tommy. That friendship soon turns into romance until Tommy finds out the truth in the final episode: Grace is in fact an undercover cop, feeding information to Campbell. Despite this, she begins to have feels for Tommy, believing him to be a good man, deep down inside. Tommy allows himself to feel; to fall in love with Grace only to find out her betrayal. Campbell’s rejection from Grace in favour of Shelby leads him down a dark path and he is quite the sour loser in the final two episodes.
His ultimate plan to try and kill off Tommy within a turf gang war between the Blinders and Billy Kimber, ultimately backfires and fails. The priceless moment comes from a best copper telling Campbell that ultimately it’s his own fault. The final moments of the series are that of celebration for the family, for surviving within the legal betting industry and of shock for the audience. Grace resolves to leave during the episode, leaving Tommy time to think about whether he can forgive her. As he writes a letter to her telling her he does, Campbell walks into the train station, aims a gun at her and shoots. The series cuts to black and we’re still left unaware of what the outcome was. Did Campbell shoot Grace, or choose to turn the gun on himself, leaving her with the guilt of his death?
The second series of Peaky Blinders is currently airing on BBC2 on Thursday nights and it’s 2 episodes in. I’ve yet to start watching it but I’m excited to see where this series goes, particularly with the brand new addition of Tom Hardy joining the cast. One final note about this series is just how brilliant Helen McCrory is in her role as Aunt Polly, the matriarch and real heart of the Shelby family. The boys all include her in decisions and she rules the roost with a strength within her that’s brilliant, a real strong woman within this TV series.
Peaky Blinders on the surface is a drama about criminals and gangs; these characters are all anti-heroes because you shouldn’t root for them, but you do. In various interviews I’ve read, creator Steven Knight has this series mapped out to the start of the Second World War, and I know I for one would love to see this series continue for a few more runs. Cillian Murphy is fantastic in the lead role, and with strong ensemble cast surrounding him, this is a knockout of a BBC drama.
Grace: You think I’m a whore?
Tommy: Everyone’s a whore, Grace. We just sell different parts of ourselves. (Peaky Blinders, Season 1, Episode 3)
BBC America launched this new sci-if drama last year and after finishing airing its second season back in the beginning of the summer, Orphan Black is locked as a firm fan favourite and a show that showcases the talent of a fantastic young actress.
Orphan Black tells the story of Sarah Manning, a street wise young woman who hasn’t quite found her way in the world, moving from place to place and scam to scam. One evening while waiting for a train, a young woman jumps in front of a train and kills herself right in front of her. If that wasn’t crazy enough, the young woman looks just like Sarah -as if she could be her twin. Freaked out and not sure what to do, she steals the identity of the young woman, Beth Childs a police officer who also comes with a charming partner Paul, played by Dylan Bruce (who is extremely attractive).
As Sarah digs further into Beth’s life, she discovers other women like her that have the exact same face. Sarah discovers that the reason all the women have the same face is because they are in fact clones. Sarah gradually meets her “sisters” a family unit created from science; first she meets Alison, a soccer mom who lives in the suburbs with her husband and adopted children; next she meets Cosima, a science geek who helps crack the science behind the clones and thus becomes a interest to Dyad, a group that after some exposition is discovered to be partly behind the experiments. Not all the clones however have the same agenda, and some are more self-aware of their situation than others. Sarah discovers that a killer is on the loose, targeting the clones and that the killer just so happens to also have the same face. Helena is slightly unhinged, and doesn’t have a lot of self love on account of being raised by a religious cult that believes the clones are abominations of God. Finally as the first season comes to a close, we also meet Rachel, a woman quite high up in the Dyad group, and a completely self-aware clone. She wants to experiment on all the clones, crack the secret of their DNA and also replicate the cloning further, and will use any means necessary.
As the season entered its second season, I couldn’t get enough of this show. After two great opening episodes, the series drags a little leading up to the middle, and then really hits its stride in the second half. At points you do have to pinch yourself whilst watching this and realise that all the clone characters are played by the same actress – Tatiana Maslany. The Canadian actress pulls off so many different accents, mannerisms, and material, she is such a huge talent and the fact she has not been properly recognised for her work with an Emmy nomination is a crime.
As well as Maslany steering the show, Orphan Black has a host of brilliant supporting characters that interact with one or more of the clones including Felix, Sarah’s adopted brother, who is with her every step of the way as she discovers more about the clone conspiracy. Jordan Gavaris plays him brilliantly; full of humour and honesty, Dylan Bruce’s Paul, who Sarah forms an unlikely friendship/bond with after she discovers Paul was Beth’s monitor, a person paid to watch their assigned clone and monitor their lives, but without knowledge of why. After Paul discovers the truth, he is put into a compromising position, acting as double agent for Sarah to gain further information. Alison’s husband Donny played by Kristian Bruun also provides many of the shows’ black comedy sketches, and has a great connection with Maslany. Maria Doyle Kennedy also features as Mrs S/Siobhan who raised both Sarah and Felix when they were children and acts as a carer to Kira, Sarah’s biological child.
The second season only built on a strong first season, bringing more characters into play and opening up the conspiracy further. The major reveal at the end of season 2 saw Sarah learning that not only is their female clones, but also male clones, owned by the military. The face the male clones all bear is that of a character we had seen throughout season 2 – Mark, who had worked for the religious cult that had captured Helena and tried to impregnate her in a bizarre cattle like experiment.
It’s fair to say this season of Orphan Black has seen some tense moments, some twists and turns and also some shocks. And it’s also fair to say that the last few minutes of the season was certainly a game-changer, a huge reveal that leaves many possibilities for season 3. That reveal at the end of the finale, regarding the male clones of Project Castor opens up so many questions for next season – how many other clones from Project Castor are out there, are others self aware, because it seems Mark is not. How will Mark and Gracie play into next season? What’s happening to Helena and why do the military want her? What will Rachel’s next move be? And more importantly what will Sarah do now with this new information.
Whatever will happen, I know it’ll be a long wait for season three.
Felix: You are a bloody wrecking ball. You are an exploding cigar. Do you know that? (Orphan Black 2.03 ‘ Mingling Its Own Nature with it’)