Frog Spawn?

What with netflix, i-player and, we are never short of series to watch.  But there’s a limit to how many you can get involved in, since many dramas demand no less than total immersion for the entire length of two, three or more clutches of episodes which – if they’re American – can run to unfeasible lengths.  Interestingly, bridging the Atlantic (so to speak) is the series Episodes featuring the divine Tamsin Grieg (whose praises I sang so loudly the other week) and Stephan Mangan.  The series-within-a-series is written by these two: it’s a great success in the UK but loses practically everything in being translated to LA:

But I digress.  Due to the diligence and devotion demanded of the viewer, I have chosen thus far not to begin with The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad or Line of Duty.  I have watched one or two Scandi noirs but you have to pick and choose these, and in the smorgasbord of my viewing I prefer to mix drama with comedy, documentary with soap (Casualty and Holby are staples) and Mastermind with University Challenge.  My current drama fix is the excellent BBC London Spy, first broadcast a year or so ago, now available on Netflix: this comes highly recommended, and I am also hoping to get another chance to view Capital, starring Toby Jones.

As regular readers will know, I am a great fan of really good sitcom: recent gems include Uncle and Detectorists but definitely, DEFINITELY not the latest offering, Bucket.  The usually excellent Miriam Margolyes does her best with the fairly lame script, but the whole thing is ruined for me by the main actor and author, a hitherto unheard-of woman called – if you can believe it – Frog Stone.

Frog Stone!  I ask you – what sort of a name is Frog Stone?  And why does this unknown woman – who as far as I can gather has done nothing else – get an entire series of her own?  OK it’s a nice idea, a comedy series about a dying mother and her daughter trying to get through her bucket list, but it’s just not that good.  As far as I can see the preposterously-named F*** S**** is neither an accomplished actor nor a very good writer.  So how do people get this work?

Mind you, I have a thing about incomprehensible names: I was once unable to listen to an entire interview with Lionel Shriver because my brain kept shrieking how can a woman be called Lionel?  How can a woman be called Lionel?  It was like the elephant in the room – and nobody mentioned it! *

So answer me this: how can a woman be called Frog Stone?  I demand to know.

Kirk out

*I later found out that she chose the name as a tomboy and it stuck


Is That The Wine of Summer?

I was thinking this morning about old sitcoms; ones I remember and ones which most people will have forgotten.  I think there used to be a programme on TV which traced the ‘family tree’ of sitcoms, for example ‘Man About the House’ giving rise to two spin-offs, ‘Robin’s Nest’ and ‘George and Mildred’:

.What started it all off was seeing Mr Roper (Brian Murphy) on Casualty, where they make a point of giving cameos to people you haven’t seen for years.  So I started to think about old, forgotten sitcoms which bit the dust early.  Like ‘Constant Hot Water,’ an ill-starred series featuring Pat Phoenix (Elsie Tanner from Corrie) and ‘Don’t Drink the Water’ which was from the same stable as the much more successful ‘On The Buses.’

And I seem to remember a serial called ‘Mrs Thursday’ which starred Thora Hird.  I was shocked to discover that Thora died in 2003, which must mean that all those ‘Dead Ringers’ sketches about her and Alan Bennett are more than 13 years old!!!

Paula Wilcox from ‘Man About the House’ has now turned up in ‘Boomers,’ a great BBC4 sitcom about three retired couples.  And so the dance goes on…

Well, whaddaya know?  Mrs Thursday starred Kathleen Harrison, with ne’er a mention of the divine Thora.  But I was right about Pat Phoenix:

Kirk out