Monday, June 4, 2012

Those Brits are Keepers

By Evelyn David

First, let me offer my congratulations to Lillibet, otherwise known as Queen Elizabeth II, who is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee. In today's economy, anyone who can hold a job for 60 years is impressive.

I adore Great Britain and have been fortunate enough to spend a fair amount of time there. I studied at Oxford one summer; spent several months in London while my husband did research; visited my kids when they've spent academic semesters in The Big Smoke (aka London), Edinburgh, and Glasgow. And does it count that I love tea and collect teacups?

And then there's my life-long fan crushes on British actors: Richard Burton (I waited four hours in the rain to see him walk by when he appeared on Broadway); Sean Connery who I would listen to read The Yellow Pages; Maggie Smith who can be a wizardess or a dowager with equal ease; and Helen Mirren who is convincing as both The Queen and a no-nonsense Chief Detective.

 I've gotten totally hooked on a British TV series…and it's not Downton Abbey. It's a quirky comedy/drama called Doc Martin and is best described as a fish out of water tale about a surgeon, with a slight case of Asperger's and a fear of blood, who moves to a small village in Cornwall, falls in love with the local schoolteacher, while hilarity and medical crises ensue.

Let me say upfront that the Brits know how to do television series. The settings are always lush and for the most part, the cast is made up of character actors who have steady gigs in a variety of shows. Part of the fun is recognizing that the judge in MI-5 and the doctor in Midsomer Murders, is now playing the village plumber/caterer in Doc Martin (Ian McNeice).

One of the reasons I think these shows are so successful is because they have such short seasons – 6-8 episodes a year. In the case of Doc Martin, there was even a year-long hiatus between season 4 and 5 so the star Martin Clunes and his wife, producer Philippa Braithwaite could take their daughter on a proper holiday. And after a year's absence, the opening episode of Season Five continued the action on the same day as the previous season had ended. Just a couple of hours had elapsed in Doc Martin country.

The British approach seems to be a more manageable pace. It means that the writers, the actors, and the audience don't get worn out by a glut of episodes, usually 22 for an American series, which are often mediocre because they've been churned out like soft-serve ice cream.

So may I offer a toast to Queen Elizabeth II, on this momentous occasion. We'll raise a cuppa and offer, Love Live the Queen!

Marian, the Northern half of Evelyn David

Zoned for Murder - Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries - e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Lottawatah Twister - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Missing in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

The Ghosts of Lottawatah - trade paperback collection of the Brianna e-books
Book 1 - I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries (includes the first four Brianna e-books)

Sullivan Investigations Mystery
Murder Off the Books Kindle  - Nook - Smashwords - Trade Paperback
Murder Takes the Cake Kindle - Nook - Smashwords - Trade Paperback
Riley Come Home (short story)- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

Love Lessons - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

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