Tag Archive for: Doc Martin

Mesmerized by British TV

by Sparkle Abbey

Since we read and write cozy mysteries, there was a high probability that we’d also like 
British mystery shows. We do. And not just the mysteries, but also the cooking, drama, and comedy shows. In fact, British TV has been popular for a while—well before the smash hit Downton Abbey. Did you know American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Wife Swap, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? were based on hit British shows?  Obviously, we’re not the only ones who like British TV. 

Since the arrival of Netflix, Acorn TV, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, there are more and more opportunities to stumble over shows that are just the bee’s knees! 

Why are we so drawn to them? It’s pretty simple: British TV is heavily character driven. The characters quirky, eccentric and still vulnerable, have a dry wit, are sarcastic, and some aren’t even likable. These are flawed, non-cookie-cutter characters who find themselves in extreme situations, whether drama or comedy, yet feel so realistic you find yourself rooting for them to get their act together and succeed. Plus there’s the fun English accent. 

Of courses there’s the food. Most of the time we have
no idea what the Brits are eating unless it’s a delicious pastryIn . Crumpets,
scones, buns, tea cake sandwiches, biscuits. Our stomachs are growling just
writing this blog!

We’ve definitely binged on our share of British TV. What happens when you watch too much? Well, you start using words like lovely, bollocks, bugger, nutter, daft, gobsmacked, tosser, dodgy, and cheers. You crave scones, fish and chips, Victoria sponge, shepherd’s pie, and pasties. You take drinking tea seriously, even going so far as to buy a lovely porcelain pot and loose leaf tea, and begin to hone the perfect cuppa tea (that would be pouring boiling water over the tea in the pot, let it steep for 2-5 minutes, remove the tea, adding a splash of milk and then sugar.) And sometimes, you accidentally-on-purpose slip into a really great American version of an English accent.

Here are a “few” of the shows we’ve enjoyed over the years:

The British TV Place

Midsomer Murders
Death in Paradise
Father Brown
Murdoch Mysteries Movies
Downton Abbey
The Crown
Very British Problems
Call the Midwife
Happy Valley
Doc Martin
Doctor Who
The Great British Baking Show (all versions)

What about you, luv? Did we miss your favorite? If so, let us know. We’re always open to recommendations.

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. The pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets–Sparkle (Mary Lee’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). If you want to make sure you’re up on all the Sparkle Abbey news, stop by their website and sign up for updates at sparkleabbey.com.

photo credit: adactio Tea and scones via photopin (license)

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
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

 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
, 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 – NookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
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Book 1 – I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries (includes the first four Brianna e-books)

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

Love Lessons – KindleNookSmashwords