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Posts Tagged ‘brendan coyle’

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Amok was originally published in German, but has been translated and turned into this audio dramatisation, featuring – amongst others – Adrian Lester and Natasha McElhone.

The story opens with Jan May, an esteemed psychologist, waiting for his girlfriend Leonie to arrive for dinner. Tonight is the night he is going to propose but then he receives a panicked phone call from her telling him that “they” are going to tell him she has died, and not to believe “them.” Almost instantly, a policeman appears at his door and tells him that Leonie has died in a traffic accident.

Several months later, Jan takes a radio presenter and several visitors to the radio station hostage, and takes over the programme. He says that he will be phoning a random member of the public each hour and if they do not answer with the correct slogan, he will shoot a hostage dead.

Meanwhile, police negotiator Ira Samin has decided that today is the day she is going to kill herself. Unable to get over her eldest daughter’s suicide for Ira blames herself, and distraught because her younger daughter won’t speak to her, Ira sees nothing to live for. But when Jan May says that she is the only negotiator he is prepared to deal with, her plans to kill herself are put on hold. She has to negotiate with him live on air and this  includes discussing her dead daughter and revealing intimate secrets. He demands that she finds out the truth about Leonie, otherwise all of the hostages will die.

Although that sounds like a detailed synopsis, all of the above happens early on in the story – as Ira delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Leonie, she discovers the truth at the same time as the listener.

This is the second audio dramatisation I have listened to, and I do enjoy them; in this case the cast, which includes the aforementioned Adrian Lester and Natasha McElhone, as well as other stalwarts of theatre and television such as Rafe Spall, Brendan Coyle and Peter Firth, were all excellent. The narrator who joined the seams together was Robert Glenister, who can also always be relied upon to put in a solid performance.

While the production held my attention, particularly in the first half, the story did get somewhat convoluted and far fetched in the second half, and relied heavily on coincidence. I would have preferred a straightforward hostage drama, rather than the machinations that transpired. Nonetheless, this was still an entertaining production and I would listen to other dramatisations of Fitzek’s work.

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Downton Abbey finished it’s seven episode run last night – sob!  However, the good news is that there will be another eight episodes next year, and I’ll be looking forward to watching them.

This show really captured viewers’ imaginations, pulling in an audience of nine million.  And why not?  It had it all – it looked fabulous, the writing was great with all the elements required for a great drama – intrigue, scandal, romance, secrets, treachery and humour.  However, what raised it head and shoulders above so many other shows was the top-notch cast: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Dan Stevens, Brendan Coyle, Joanna Froggatt, Penelope Wilton, Ron James-Collier and Maggie Smith, to name a handful.

The story starts in 1912, when Lord Robert Crawley (Bonneville) discovers that his cousin and heir to Downton has perished aboard the Titanic.  As Lord and Lady Crawley only have daughters, this means that the heir is now a distant nephew, Matthew Crawley (Stevens).  As Matthew and his mother Isobel (Wilton) move to a cottage on the estate, the family and the new heir find it difficult to adjust to the new arrangement.  In particular, Lord Robert’s mother, Dowager Crawley (Smith) is concerned that her eldest grand-daughter, who was due to marry the original and now deceased heir, will lose out on the family’s fortune.

This provides the backdrop to the story, but equally as much time is focused on the lives of the staff at the house, and the social events in the lives of all of the characters.  The villains of the piece are footman Thomas (James-Collier) and Lady Cora’s maid, O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran).

In a time when there seems to be a dearth of good drama on television, and instead there is a deluge of awful reality and ‘talent’ shows, Downton Abbey provided some fabulous and intelligent entertainment.  If you didn’t catch it while it was on, I highly recommend that you put the DVD box set on your Christmas list, and indulge yourself!

Year of release: 2010

Directors: Brian Percival, Ben Bolt, Brian Kelly

Writer: Julian Fellowes

Main cast: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Brendan Coyle, Dan Stevens, Penelope Wilton, Rob James-Collier, Joanna Froggatt

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