Archive for July 27th, 2012

by Allan Fish

(UK 2005 358m) DVD2

Looking for Ambrose Chapel

p  Sanne Wohlenberg  d  Dearbhla Walsh, Susan Tully, Brian Kirk  w  Simon Ashdown, Jeremy Dyson  ph  Lukas Strebel  ed  Emer Reynolds, Tony Cranstoun

Kris Marshall (Dudley Sutton), Ian Puleston Davies (Shirley Woolf), Daniel Mays (Carter Krantz), Roy Barraclough (Onan Van Kneck), Judy Parfitt (Mercy Woolf), Frances Barber (Connie), Sarah Smart (Lola Sutton), Emily Aston (Ruby Woolf), Philip Jackson (Leo Finch), Beth Cordingly (Vienna), Mark Gatiss (Ambrose Chapfel), Ron Cook,

It all begins with a man in a gorilla suit climbing up Blackpool Tower.  We see him fall.  We don’t see why or who he is.  Could be a she for all we know.  We are then told it’s several days earlier.  Each episode will begin the same way with the same gorilla-suited man plummeting to the pavement on the Golden Mile, and each time the clock ticks down.  This in essence is Funland’s Laura Palmer.  I evoke the comparison with David Lynch’s ubercult quite deliberately, for there’s more than a touch of Lynch about this sleeper hit for the then fledgling BBC3.

One wouldn’t necessarily have expected too much.  Dyson was one of the creators of the grotesque comedy series The League of Gentlemen, which had long since lost its original brilliance.  Ashdown was one of the main staff writers on EastEnders for many years.  It would not have been too hard to guess we could expect a darkly comic soap opera pastiche.  It came along just one year after an another excellent fantasy set in the old Northern entertainment capital, and the spirit of David Tennant’s copper from my home town and David Morrissey’s Ripley Holden can be felt everywhere.  It’s the same place as was seen in Blackpool, yet it’s like it’s being viewed not through the nostalgic lens of that series, but through a distorted lens, like the hall of mirrors at the old Pleasure Beach House of Horrors.  (more…)

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