Endeavour, ITV, Sundays

Endeavour, Season 8, “Striker”

Endeavour has started its eighth season on ITV and as usual, I’ve consumed the first of the episodes, “Striker”.  Watch it on the ITV player as I easily feel it’s the best thing around, even if crime / detective series are not your thing.

Endeavour and Jack Swift

The plot concerned the death threats to a mixed-race Northern Ireland striker, Jack Swift, who plies his trade for a fictional Oxford football club. It’s only subsequently that we learn that his race has little to do with the threats – This IS 1971 after all, and though at times I am tired of any news from Ulster on the troubles, this is history and in ’71, they were just starting to be bloody awful.

For one thing about the episode, and who knows maybe about this series, is that this IS an older Morse, and it seems that at any stage, John Thaw will suddenly pop up on the screen!  Starting with the drunken Endeavour crashed out on his sofa, after a bender. Though we’re not sure whilst seeing the record player end its playing of an LP, whether the drinking was accompanied by Wagner!

Endeavour at a Fashion Show

In addition to the death threats to Swift, there is also a college bombing, that results in the death of a departmental secretary.  We subsequently discover that the first thoughts that it must be the fault of animal rights’ activists, may well be wrong.

These two rather distinct, though timely strands somehow fit, and certainly had me going in more than one direction trying to ponder just who committed these acts.

All in all, I feel as though I am viewing something that has been on for some 10 years now, but that could eventually endure for a few years more.  It is naturally produced with modern tastes, but still has enough of an old-school, character driven aesthetic to put it above most “telly” or Netflix shows at present.



TV of the Week – Die Schlager Traumparre (The Hit Record Dreampairs) – RBB Berlin, August 20, 22:30

My God, my second show of the week in Germany, about the continuing popularity of the Schlager genre of pop music in Germany.

Schlager Singer Helene Fischer & the German Football team

If you don’t know what Schlager is, then there are no doubt plenty of definitions about this music on the web, to me though, it is a combination of:

  • Europop
  • German Cabaret
  • German Beerhall
  • Hi-Energy
  • Synth Pop (nowadays)
  • Germany Volk (folk) music

This is combined with the lyrical content of an average Country and Western song; one of the beauties in this special, was how one of the female singers wanted her hairspray to be used on her own hair!

These guys also featured in the show:

Die Amigos – Schlager Champions!

You may laugh, but their recent album this year, again crashed in at Number 1 in the German album charts. According to their website, it’s their 13th number 1 album in Germany. Staggering!

It once again shows the diversity of this country that I am now in, and also, that if you don’t actually live here or travel here, you may never know some of its idiosyncrasies.


Week Ahead / Holidaying in Germany! / TV from Last Week –

This week, and the following, will really only consist of my present trip in the continent, to and inside of Deutschland.

Yes, we will look at TV and also various “German’ish” things that I find and encounter on my voyages the next few weeks. for the blog,

Lady Lucan

but first, my UK TV of the last week was a fascinating interview with Lord Lucan’s late wife (she died shortly after this hour long interview was filmed in 2017), and this follows on from my TV of the Week from last week, about the Lord himself. This was fascinating, not only for the “what really happened” that night in 1974, but in the look at the psyche and mind set of the minor, though wealthy, Lords and Ladys from a bygone age. Their wealth did start to go downhill after the tax increases post-World War 2, but with many of them by the time the 1970s had started, they were simply also rans in the scheme of things. In addition, the look of this haunted and very unsympathetic woman was at times shocking, as she admitted after being questioned about her relationships in general with friends and family, that she was “always cold with people”, including her children, who apparently shunned her until her death.

German Trip:

I started this, my most recent trip to Germany, by going to Frankfurt and doing a night in one of their many Apfelwein Pubs. In reality, this was more than a pub, but a packed restaurant in a tree lined hof, that was divine. More on this later, but first, the state of airports in general and specifically, Glasgow Airport.

As always when I go to an airport, I have to stop at the duty free / perfume concessions in order to “have a spray”! Hell, it’s free and why not? This time I chose the Hugo Boss, and thought it suited me perfectly

During the short Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt, I had the posh tea whilst the coffee was actually freshly ground, and came complete with a special drinking top to be added to your plastic cup. Never saw this before.

After landing, noted both a Lunar Rover copy and a crap table conveyer belt. I look forward to the rest of the trip.


TV of the Week – Craig and Bruno’s Great British Road Trips – ITV

I love to travel, but in particular, I love the Yorkshire Dales, which I’ve always thought to be superior to the vastly overrated and vastly over-touristed Lake District.

So when I was channel hopping during the week, I came onto this gem, that was both fun, unpretentious and illustrative of the life in the Dales. A life that seems to me (and to our two hosts), to be more of an area where people still work with their hands, and produce something – not just to pander to visitors / tourists.

They sampled beer, did a car rally and herded sheep. All good fun.

Will definitely watch more.


TV of the Week – “Weird or What?” – Blaze TV, Wednesdays (with Bill Shatner!)

Years ago there was a godawful show on American TV called “Ripley’s – Believe it or Not”, where a pompous Jack Palance, would enunciate these OTT words, whilst lighting a cigar and for emphasis, would add a brilliant pause . . . between it and or Not; staggering!

Logically following, we now have “The Shat” doing the similar, drawing out the title words, but with a degree of humour.

What amazes me, although at times I was yelling at the TV, is thinking that many of the claims were deranged nonsense, but it’s just so friendly and believable!

I thought that this was a new show; it isn’t as it’s actually nearly a decade old – time flies!

There are usually 3 to 4 stories per episode, with each pertaining to a distinct theme – this one was about parallel worlds, with the stories ranging from teleportation, to crystal skulls and shadow people.

Will watch again.


Wine of the Week / TV of the Week –

None, except for Wimbledon and the Euros, though to be honest, football plays a small part of my life nowadays.

As a fan of Saturday Kitchen, every Saturday morning on the Beeb from 10.00am

Their resident expert / lush, Olly, reiterated strongly, that this was not only different than a Malbec from Argentina, but was also a totally different wine – he was correct.

It’s light, very jammy and fruity and can be bought for about a fiver from Aldi – what more do you want?


TV of the Week – The 1951 Festival of Britain: A Brave New World

This documentary that was re-run this week, is actually from 10 years ago, and just shows how the BBC certainly “don’t make ‘em like they used to do”.

My Lord, with the exception of a slight, though true, anti-Tory comment towards the end as to why the main buildings, with the exception of the festival hall, were to be torn down; it was a fair, enlightening, and most importantly, upbeat celebration of all things from the UK.

I’ve been in the festival hall before, several times, but never realised why it was actually built – now I know.


Television – Dragons Den

It’s now been on for over 16 years and still, for me at least, compelling, with the suspense of will they or won’t they, get the money.

Dragons Den

The scenery has hardly changed, though the Dragons themselves have, with Peter Jones being the only one who has been there for the entire ride.

This episode had several potential partners, with one wishing investment for his new found bolt / construction device, while another (from Scotland!) wanted some money for her dog treats.  One was successful, one wasn’t; with the invariable put downs, grimaces due to the lack of a proper financial forecast, etc, etc, on display.

Model with various Hinges
More food for your Dog

Still good.


TV / Film – The Terror, The Elephant Man

Two things stuck out the last week, and it seems that to my tastes, filmed Britishness is still superior to other forms of entertainment as long as it doesn’t fall to the theatrics of a filmed play.

Captain Crozier – Jared Harris

The best of TV, was my finishing (finally) watching 2018’s The Terror on the BBC iPlayer, that only recently finished on BBC1 (I believe).   

Charting the ill-fated, mid-19th century British expedition to find the Northwest Passage, the series suffered from, once again, overuse of colouring (brown and blue again!), a ridiculous sub-plot involving a polar bear from hell, and succumbing to a new-age, Jim Morrison type of mutineer character, in the final stages. 

What could have been great, ie, show it like it was!; was in the end only quite good, except for the exceptional, even heroic acting of Jared Harris, as one of the ship’s captains. Though when compared to most, it’s a 10 out of 10.  

The ten-part series, with each episode only about 45minutes, flew by.

John Hurt & Anthony Hopkins

For my film, I caught on BBC4, The Elephant Man, which I have seen several times before, both when  it originally came out, and on several other occasions.  Though I could have sworn that this version was longer?  Is this so?  Not sure.  In addition, I had forgot that David Lynch had both co-written and directed it.  Maybe the black and white, or use of a slight industrial score was a giveaway.

It’s a sad and moving piece; with the Doctor / Patient interchanges both subtle and moving.

FFS, they don’t make films like this anymore.


TV of the Week – Gordan Ramsay’s Bank Balance, BBC1

In reality, I’ve never really been a huge fan of Gordon Ramsay, though I’ve watched quite a few of his differing shows.  So it was interesting to see him the last few weeks on BBC1, to be thrown into the role of a gameshow host of Gordon Ramsay’s Bank Balance.

It must be said, that he has an empathising appeal.  He seems to always be on the side of the contestants, as they are answering questions, in order to stack their “money blocks” onto various places around a central fulcrum, making sure to never collapse it from its precarious balance – it works a treat!

It has the questions, the decision that the contestants must make (how many blocks should they choose each time), and the agony or delight when they actually have to place the blocks around the central point.  It can be cruel, but it can also be very compulsive viewing.