Happy New Year …. & Happy Birthday, Colin Morgan !!!

Irish Blessing.3

Irish Blessings for a New Year filled with Joy as we watch Colin continue to build our memories, leaving his imprint upon our hearts.

May brooks and trees and singing hills
Join in the chorus too,
And every gentle wind that blows
Send happiness to you.

May you live a long life
Full of gladness and health,

May the dreams you hold dearest,
Be those which come true, and
The kindness you spread,
Keep returning to you.

Thanks to everyone who visits, reads, or comments on this blog.  It is wonderful to share our interest in these films, tv series, and actors who provide us with exceptional moments of joy and laughter, sorrow and tears.  This is especially true of Colin Morgan who has brought a new appreciation of the skill of acting and has elevated it.  It is now art to me in a way I never saw before.

I wish you a new year filled with special moments, good friends, music in your hearts, and smiles on your faces.

“Athbhliain Faoi Mhaise Duit” 


The Fall … series 3


The Fall … next day thoughts

This one is tough for me, and that dilemma has nothing to do with Colin’s performance.  Like all of you I enjoy his approach to anything the writer asks of him.

Let me start with The Fall as a series.  The story was never my choice of viewing, but I do understand the need to set up and put events in context and so endured the creepy killings and sadism.  Much of the series was intense and interesting when it came to pursuing Paul and building a case against him.  Background music tones kept the tension and our expectations alive.  Season 3 particularly benefited from the valiant hospital attempts to save his life.  The actors certainly measured up with excellent performances.  However, on the whole this one will not be calling me to return as so often happens with many of Colin’s projects.  Following the character studies of both the killer and the hunter, and the effect their actions had on those caught in the resulting ripples gave plenty of room for thought.  Like a huge boulder thrown in a large pond, shock waves emanated further and further out with no end in sight.  Many of us watch events expecting some kind of ending … this one was rather unsatisfactory in terms of a resolution to the story.  But the questions raised were good ones …

Now we turn our attention to the question of DS Anderson.  I’m glad Colin is keeping busy, and we would never give up a chance to see any role he adds to his CV.  We do recognize that not every role has the substance which calls upon Colin’s emotional depth, though we keep looking for glimpses of it anytime he fills the screen.  Colin certainly gave everything possible to this ambitious detective.  My personal belief is that Colin, himself would not have felt good about being listed third in the opening credits, certainly not ahead of actors like John Lynch whose role was far more entangled with the plot.  These choices are not Colin’s to make, but his respect for the talents of others would not have made this his choice.  It’s Allan Cubbitt’s choices I question with regard to DS Anderson.  Why pander to ‘fan’ obsession with the Tom/Stella/Paul connection?  And that choice certainly weakened our view of Tom, which was not only unnecessary, but led absolutely nowhere.

(screen cap (c) BBC, The Fall)


Audie Murphy … remembering

Audie Murphy.2.
The Strangest Thing happened to me this morning. I woke up remembering an actor who I greatly admired as a very young person. His name was Audie Murphy. Perhaps some of you are old enough to remember him. As I grew into my teenage years, I saw many of his movies, eventually seeing “To Hell and Back”. This amazing man died in a plane crash when I was quite young, so all I knew of him was his screen presence. Something charming about him, the way he carried himself, the pleasant, boyish face, the interesting accent, something elusive that set him apart for me. This wasn’t the same as my interest now in Colin, but real quality was there. A boyish face, as was Colin’s 8 years ago, not a devastatingly handsome one, almost an innocence about him.

As I grew older, occasionally I would see an early movie of his and became interested in his story. This was a man to admire on many levels. The odd thing was, I hadn’t even thought about him in several years, but I woke up this morning with him on my mind … have no idea what might have triggered it … Well, I thought, “Murphy”, perhaps he was of Irish ancestry. Though he was born in Texas, USA, his sons were given very Irish names: Terry Michael Murphy and James Shannon Murphy.  So, first thing at the computer, I looked up his biography.

Astonishingly, his birthdate … June 20th … 91 years ago this very day.

Not a great actor, but a good one for the day. He had a screen presence that made us interested in watching him. Nothing about him physically ( 5’8″, slight of build, almost fragile-looking, shy and soft-spoken.). None of these things spoke to his bravery or his valiant efforts as a young boy to help support his large family … 11 brothers and sisters in rural, very poor, Kingston, Texas. Raised in a sharecropper’s, run-down cabin. Almost an Abraham Lincoln kind of story … from poverty to greatness… for young Audie Murphy became the most decorated U.S. soldier in WWII history.

Audit Murphy.1

Although underage at the time, he entered the Army at age 18 with the consent of his older sister and legal guardian.  He was 21 at the end of the war.  During these 3 short years, he was awarded 33 medals for bravery, among them was the United States highest tribute, the Medal of Honor. France and Belgium acknowledged his fearlessness in battle with another 5 medals.. Altogether a story almost unbelievable in its integrity and courage.

Here is the link to his biography, which tells his story. It brought back many memories.
Audie Murphy’s life and career are also included in an even more extensive biography on IMDb.  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001559/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

It leaves one to wonder … Is there something about certain humans that speaks to us, something tenuous and uncertain, but strong and compelling … something beyond the physical, beyond nose, and hair, and eyes, and profile. This keeps roiling about in my head, and I have decided to make it a post … and shared, not to Tumblr, whose fans may not be interested, but confined to Google, because it is the anniversary of his birth, and this site, where I want to have it in the archives.

Perhaps an honorarium to a man who rose above what could have even been imagined of him as a boy.

Haunted, you say?

This Radio Times article is fascinating.  We were going to try to do excerpts, but found the entire article too good to attempt editing.  We are reprinting it here, with full credit, no copyright infringement intended,  … because we have found sometimes links are taken down, and we would like to preserve this one regardless of potential future internet loss.


(By Huw Fullerton  Friday 17 June 2016 at 4:10PM)


The set of The Living and the Dead is haunted, all seem to agree.

Sure, seeing a few spooky sorts is an occupational hazard when you’re making a Victorian ghost story for the BBC (which you can watch now on iPlayer), but most of these spirits aren’t ones written into the script.

No, these spectres were at 16th-century manor house Horton Court long before the camera crew – and they seem to have taken a personal interest in filming.

“People have said the odd thing,” series star Charlotte Spencer tells us. “There was a woman near the fireplace in the hallway. There’s others…someone’s seen a little boy on the roof.”

“Supposedly a boy did drown in the lake in the 1930s,” adds Colin Morgan, who plays a psychiatrist-turned-farmer called Nathan Appleby in the new series.

According to the former Merlin star, a similar drowning takes place in the series, which mainly focuses on Morgan’s character and his wife (Spencer) returning to the family farm only to encounter a series of supernatural occurrences that test their marriage.

“I hope it’s coincidence,” he says with a grin.

Myself and the other cynical journalists on the set scoff and laugh at these claims – but as the days goes on the stories keep piling up.

The shadowy figure lurking at the back of scenes who was later nowhere to be found; the mysterious footsteps ringing down the corridors while they did a second take; the filming of a séance interrupted by an angry flurry of flying papers, a moment actually caught on camera.

“We were doing a sequence with Colin who was doing a Ouija board scene where he’s calling up the ghosts,” recalled producer Eliza Mellor. “He was calling out, ‘Are you there? Are you there?’ and suddenly all these papers flew off the shelf onto the floor and we were all really freaked out.”

I can sympathise with the feeling.

These papers flew off the table during a Ouija board scene

The heating breaks in the disused chapel we’re using for interviews, which has stood on these grounds for a thousand years, and a chill runs through us all. I pull on gloves and check the time on my phone to see how much longer we have to stay here. I’m a little unnerved. And there are still more ghost stories.

“One time we were filming,” Spencer recalled, “and I hear footsteps and I was like, ‘Someone doesn’t know we’re filming obviously.’

“So I turned around thinking they would run away, but there was no one there. And the first [assistant director] was about to say, ‘Who’s walking in the corridor’ and there was no one there.

“They were the loudest footsteps I have ever heard down the corridor and sound never picked it up.”

Charlotte Spencer as Charlotte Appleby

“It’s a bit spooky. A bit weird,” agrees series co-creator and writer Ashley Pharoah, better known for the supernatural Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. “There’s been a lot of those things happening. The scariest one was the telephone one.”

A telephone? What makes a telephone scary?

“Quite recently we were filming and we could hear a telephone ring and we were saying ‘God, that’s really odd’,” Eliza explains. “Like old fashioned telephone rings. Why is the phone ringing?

“We went down to talk to the National Trust and they said the phones had been been cut off for years, and we said we have heard that twice yesterday.”

Hmmm. That one’s pretty tenuous, I think, suddenly feeling more secure in my non-supernatural world. Lots of people have that “classic phone” as their ringtone, and we’re not usually calling in the Ghostbusters every time they get a PPI call.

I check the time again on my own (non-novelty ringtoned phone). Despite being on 70 per cent charge 10 minutes ago, it’s gone dark. Stone dead.

And now Eliza has remembered something else.

“The next moment we were filming again and somebody said, ‘Oh, there’s somebody in there, can you move out of the way’” she recalls, “and then we went in and there was nobody there.

“We all looked and played back and it really looked like somebody had been there.”

Filming at Horton Court in Somerset

Keen to leave the dark church and the deep shadows that lie in its corners, we later get the chance to wonder around the house and grounds where filming takes place. The wooden, authentically Victorian interiors have a gloomy atmosphere that would make anyone find things a bit spooky, let alone if you already had your mind filled with ghostly ideas for the series.

Unlike Morgan and Spencer’s characters in the series (who genuinely do seem to attract some nasty supernatural forces as they try to mechanise their farm), there’s no need for anyone to be scared, though the room filled with dusty old children’s toys (below) isn’t helping my nerves.

But then again maybe I’m denying my own nature – because Ashley Pharoah is pretty convinced that we all like being a little frightened from time to time.

“I think everyone’s on the same journey as an ending,” he tells us. “Everybody is interested in what the next great adventure is and I think people like to be scared.

“It’s a really ancient need to sit around a fire and tell ghost stories.”

He’s expressing an apt sentiment for someone promoting an atmospheric supernatural drama, and it’s a nice line to round off the day. I can see that.

But my phone’s still dead, and I’ve checked with the other journalists. Two other phones have also blacked out, and the others have lost signal. And as noted, all the phone lines in the house were cut years ago. Frankly, I’m quite happy to not hear any more ghost stories today.

“I don’t get a bad feeling in this house,” Spencer says. “I wouldn’t dismiss it or say, ‘Yes there definitely is something,’ but I don’t get a bad feeling.

“It’s more that they’re interested. I wouldn’t spend a night in there by myself. There would have to be a big group of people.”

Let’s just say that from hereon out I’m very happy to keep my ghost stories on my TV screen.


Photos are (C) BBC and Robert Viglasky