Amidst the quagmire that is the summer TV schedule, it was a blessed relief to welcome back Game of Thrones for a penultimate run on Monday (Sky Atlantic and countless other outlets!). The first scene was a corker with a great twist in an opening episode that had everything going for it, short of the trademark GoT violence and sex, which I’m sure we will get further down the line.
We had a clash between Jon Snow and his sister; the return of an old character that we did not see in the last series, and we wondered whether he was alive or not; plenty of plotting from Queen Cersei; a wonderfully disgusting yet witty and brilliantly edited scene featuring bed pans and latrines, which had me grateful that I had finished my TV dinner an hour earlier; and a cameo from Ed Sheeran which even had him singing! GoT is a joy to watch and we even got a new character played by the peerless Jim Broadbent to round things off. Yes, I’m a fan and if you are yet to discover the joys of the land of Westeros, then you have plenty of time to go “box-setting” before the big autumn shows kick in.
I’m so pleased that Jodie Whittaker has been cast as Doctor Who after some many fine performances, most recently as Beth Latimer in Broadchurch. Broadchurch boss Chris Chibnall, and of course new Doctor Who guru, has made a fine choice and I bet he also popped the question as well to Olivia Colman, who said this week that Whittaker “would do the Doctor better than anyone”. Quite right too, and far better than some of the pompous sexist arguments that we now have with the first female in the title role since the show first appeared in 1963. Like in previous Doctor castings we are getting silly comments about what we are going to get, but hey Messrs. Tennant, Smith, and Capaldi all went through that rubbish as well. What I would like to see though as a bit of fun would be the return of Captain Jack played by John Barrowman just for one episode, who Chibnall worked with on Who spin-off Torchwood. Would he still have a crush on the Doctor now that the Time Lord will be a female?
Memo to ITV:- More Fearless please with Helen McCrory who carried the show, and who we’ll be seeing this autumn in the return of Peaky Blinders. Also ITV, why are you filling out this Saturday and Sunday with the zillionth screening of Hobbit and Harry Potter movies during prime time? Why not repeats of quality dramas like Victoria to set things up for the autumn?
If Helen McCrory is Fearless, then in the States, Viola Davis is How To Get Away With Murder, which belatedly returned to UK screens on its new home of Sky Living. Like with Game of Thrones, new viewers will struggle not knowing previous plot lines, but you can simpy marvel at how Davis grabs the camera and steals every scene that she’s in.
Farewell to Martin Landau who died this week at the age of 89. I loved him and the rest of the crew in Mission Impossible back in the sixties, and then with his Mission co-star (and wife) Barbara Bain, they headed up the Gerry Anderson sci-fi show Space 1999.