The Woman in Black: Wuthering Hate

I was going to do a full recap of this, but to be honest, I didn’t want to have to watch it again, so this will be a review instead. Harry Potter is over, which means it’s time for the younger members of the cast to redefine themselves as something other than their Potter roles. For Daniel Radcliffe, that meant taking on a couple of … Continue reading The Woman in Black: Wuthering Hate

The Perfect Summer

Our lucky British friends get Downton Abbey back this weekend, while those of us on the wrong side of the pond have to wait until 2012 for season 2. Thanks a lot, PBS! If, like me, you’re looking for something to fill the time, or if you’re curious about what life in the Downton Days was like, Juliet Nicholson’s book The Perfect Summer: England in … Continue reading The Perfect Summer

The Duchess of Duke Street: The Outsiders

A man with a battered suitcase makes his way into the foyer, instantly removes his hat, and looks around like he’s never seen such a place before. There’s nobody there to greet him, but Fred soon raises the alarm, bringing Starr running. Starr asks the man what he needs and the man asks where the check-in desk is. Starr instantly realizes this guy’s out of his league at the Bentink and he suggests another hotel nearby. The man protests that he doesn’t want to go to this other hotel, he wants a room at the Bentink. Starr shortly tells him to get lost, because they’re full, and the man goes to leave, but then rethinks and says he doesn’t believe Starr. Starr tries to persuade the guy to go, because he knows this man can’t afford the Bentink, but the guy gets belligerent, and right about then Charlie comes down the stairs and the guy assumes he’s the manager. Because Charlie’s an affable guy, he offers to help out, introducing himself as Charlie Hazlemere, rather than using his title. The guy finally introduces himself as Stanley Parker. Charlie asks why the guy’s so determined to stay at the Bentink and Parker says he’s heard it’s the best hotel in London.

Louisa comes in, fresh from a shopping trip, to make this little confrontation even more fun. Starr fills her in on Parker. She tells Parker he’ll be more comfortable elsewhere, but Charlie steps in and basically forces her to let the guy stay there. She tells Starr to show him to a room. Once he’s gone, she asks Charlie what he was thinking, because the staff and other guests will look down on Parker and make him uncomfortable for his whole stay. She hisses that he meant to be kind, but it was the cruelest thing he could have done. Charlie follows her into her office and easily says this is really no big deal, and she really should chill out.

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Downton Abbey Update

Good news for Downton Abbey fans: filming on series two has officially begun! Not too many secrets have been leaked (it’s early days, though), but there are a few tidbits we’ve learned. 1. In one of the set pictures, Robert appears to be in uniform, so  it looks like he’s going back into the service in some capacity, which isn’t too surprising. 2. Bates’s wayward … Continue reading Downton Abbey Update

The Duchess of Duke Street: Trouble and Strife

Louisa emerges from the hotel, apparently on her way to a cross-channel trip. She fires off some last-minute instructions to Mary, kindly predicts she’ll come back to a huge mess, and then sets off in her new car with the Major behind the wheel. Mary and Starr wave her off, and Starr takes note of a frizzy-haired woman watching them from across the road before he and Mary go inside.

They’re not in the door two seconds before some bird-faced woman comes downstairs with her equally pinched maid to complain about the maid finding a cockroach in her room. Mary apologizes and Starr offers to give their rooms a sweep. Mary returns to the kitchens and Merriman comes in to hand Starr a letter a young woman just left for him at the back door. Starr asks him to keep an eye on things and steps out.

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The Duchess of Duke Street: A Lady of Virtue

Previously on The Duchess of Duke Street: Louisa Trotter bought a hotel, worked herself almost to death, and managed to make a success of it after all.

We can hear loud cheering from one of the upstairs rooms as Merriman comes down the steps with some empty champagne bottles. Starr asks what’s up and Merriman says it’s some Liberals celebrating their victory in a Yorkshire by-election, with Louisa in attendance. Merriman shoves off with the recycling, just in time for Fred to start losing his little terrier mind over a basket held by a well-dressed lady who’s just come in. The woman holds the basket out of reach, looking alarmed, and Starr jumps into action, shoving Fred into his little bed and greeting the lady. He snootily asks the woman if there’s an animal in the basket and she tells him there’s a cat in there. Starr says that explains it, because Fred doesn’t usually freak out that way. I think this might be a good time to offer the lady an apology for your dog’s behavior, Starr. He does not, which irks me a bit. I love my dogs to death, but you can be sure I apologize all over the place if they behave badly towards someone. The lady’s a lot nicer than I am towards Starr and tells him she’s there to meet with a Sir James, who’s up with the partying Liberals. The lady, who introduces herself as Mrs. Strickland, asks Starr to tell Sir James that she’s arrived. Apparently, Sir James is lending her his rooms. Starr asks Merriman, who’s passing by on his way back upstairs, to tell Sir James that Mrs. S has arrived.

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The Duchess of Duke Street: For Love or Money

Previously on The Duchess of Duke Street: Louisa and Charlie started an affair that resulted in a daughter who was adopted by one of the grooms on Charlie’s estate. Louisa realized mothering wasn’t really in her genes and promptly returned to the hotel.

Louisa proudly shows a new guest, Sir George, to a room in the hotel. He seems inclined to be critical, but Louisa’s either really good at faking being cheerful with guests, or she’s in a really, really good mood. He asks if there’s a parlor room open, but she tells him they’re all taken, including Charlie’s, because they’re expecting a friend of his.

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The Duchess of Duke Street: A Bed of Roses

Previously on The Duchess of Duke Street: Louisa almost worked herself to death trying to pay off Gus’s debts and was rescued by the very timely re-introduction of Charlie Tyrell, erstwhile seducer of maids and rescuer of red-headed damsels in distress. He bought out the lease on The Bentink, filled it with fancy stuff, and proudly stood by with champagne as Louisa relaunched.

Charlie’s helping Louisa vet inquiries for rooms as she fusses around with some flowers and comments that there have been lots of inquiries but nobody’s actually checked in yet. Charlie easily says it’ll take time and she shouldn’t worry. Particularly since he’s talking the place up with all his high-class buddies.

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Downton Abbey: Hope and Heartbreak

Dear PBS: Fire the person who was responsible for editing the original British version of Downton Abbey into the 90-minute episodes that aired here. That person is an idiot. I was annoyed with some of the scene switching that went on in earlier episodes, but tonight’s episode was a total hack job. Scenes never showed up (which made some later scenes confusing), we had at least one scene that started with a character in mid-sentence yet again, and a whole subplot got dropped. All so we could get this thing done with plenty of time for yet another annoying, overlong commercial for Antiques Roadshow. Thanks, PBS, you did a great job here. You’re on notice.

Anyway, for anyone who was confused, seek out the original version of the show. I’ll try to explain things as well as I can.

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All That Glitters

On January 26, 1905 the Cullinan diamond was discovered by Frederick Wells, the surface manager of the Premier Diamond Mining Company in Cullinan, South Africa. The Transvaal government bought the stone for £150,000 and presented it to King Edward VII on his 66th birthday in 1907. As a rough diamond crystal, the Cullinan weighed more than 3,000 carats. It was eventually cut into nine large … Continue reading All That Glitters