Tag Archives: Private Eye

BBC’s Jamaica Inn – excellent stuff!


Am I the only veiwer in the UK who liked BBC1’s recent production of Jamaica Inn? True, I could only understand about two-thirds of Joss Merlin’s (actor Sean Harris – see photo) mumblings – but the drama was set in Cornwall, for goodness sake! Have any of those that complained actually been there? I have Cornish relatives and I spent a lot of time there when I was younger. Also, the last firm I worked for had its head office in Falmouth. My recollections are that I only ever understood about two-thirds of anything the (real) locals said. I made up the rest. It’s amazing how agile and inventive one’s brain can be when faced with strong accents and dialects.

Private Eye (Eye No 1365) seems to have hit the nail: ‘…the main location is a drinking place – with the result that the characters are often pissed – and that many of the people featured are smugglers and murderers who are terrified of being overheard.’ Also, Sean Harris ‘…accurately re-creating the sound of a pissed Cornishman whispering out of the corner of his mouth as a precaution against being rumbled.’

I wasn’t as concerned with the mumblings as I was with the flintlock pistol that fired at least three shots without being swabbed and reloaded in between firings. Now that really was inexcusable…


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Life after Life: Masterpiece?

L after L
What can I say? I don’t pretend to be a reviewer (though I have made a few comments about Kate Atkinson’s books in the past). If you have never written a novel you might not readily understand what a masterpiece Life after Life is. I say masterpiece – but a masterpiece was an examination piece produced by an apprentice to prove they had mastered the art. Atkinson is no apprentice. She is a master – so this piece must surely represent the very pinnacle of a writer’s art (hell, this might well be destined for Private Eye’s Pseud’s Corner).

Merely to hold such sequences of events with their myriad of alternatives in your head while you are writing is a mind-boggling feat. To reproduce them on paper in the correct sequence and without muddling the events is nothing short of miraculous.

Be warned. If your imagination is anything like mine then you will have trouble staying dry-eyed through the final chapters. Somehow (like me, she isn’t old enough to have been there) she got it right.

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