Monday, 27 February 2017

After the Oscars drama of La La Land here comes Broadchurch

After the La La Land madness at last night's Oscars ceremony, in which the hit musical movie was given Best Picture award by mistake instead of Moonlight, here in the UK we'll be sitting down tonight to watch our own award-winning drama.

It's the third and final and long-awaited series of BroadchurchIn Dorset, this programme is particularly special, because much of it was filmed at West Bay, with its wonderful layer-cake cliffs.

When the first series of Broadchurch was broadcast on ITV in early 2013, I was away in Greece, having exchanged my life in west Dorset for a year in Corfu.

Writer Chris Chibnall has described the show as his love letter to the area he is proud to call home. And being so far away from my own home, I was desperate to see the programme everyone was talking about.

When I got hold of the DVD box set, I understood. It's not comfortable viewing but it's utterly compelling.

Here's a personal reflection which I wrote about for the Marshwood Vale Magazine.

And along with millions of others, I'll be glued to the television screen on Monday nights for the next eight weeks.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Happy birthday to a music legend

One of my all-time musical heroes is eighty five today.

Take a bow, Mr John Williams. You are epic.

By Chris Devers (Flickr: DSC_0937.JPG) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
This man, this incredible man, has provided the soundtrack to so many wonderful films which have become the soundtracks to our lives.

Of course, there's Star Wars and Jaws and ET and Indiana Jones. He also wrote the music to Schindler's List, Lincoln (now there's a film for current times), Saving Private Ryan, Memoirs of a Geisha, Home Alone and many, many more. The man is a legend, bringing classical musical to the masses through these fantastically atmospheric film scores.

How can anyone not like the theme to Jurassic Park?

So when Mr Grigg and I were travelling travelling up to Heathrow last year (on our way to Colombia, don't you know) and heard a plug on the radio for a special Radio 2 Friday Night Is Music Night concert devoted to the music of John Williams, played by the BBC Concert Orchestra and hosted by film critic Mark Kermode, well, we almost stopped in our tracks.

We were just passing Stonehenge at the time. I whipped out my notebook and wrote down the details. Watford Colosseum on a school night in January. Watford? That's where my brother lives.

So I texted my sister-in-law to get us some tickets. We could go up during the afternoon, go to the concert and then stay overnight. Perfect.

And that's what we did.
Picture: BBC
From the opening bars of the Star Wars theme to the finale, I was gripped. Each piece was like one cliffhanger after another. I was an emotional wreck by the end, crying pure tears of joy.

I love the music of John Williams. And I loved the Friday Night Is Music Night concert.

And so will you. It's on Radio 2 this Friday evening.

You can listen to it on the radio or catch up with it on the iPlayer. I shall be playing it continuously until the broadcast disappears from the BBC website.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Forever Archive - films about West Dorset

I was trawling through the internet the other day, looking for something specific, when I came across something completely different.

(That's the thing with the internet. It can take you down rabbit holes - some of which land you, like Alice, in Wonderland while others take you to a painting by Hieronymus Bosch.)

Anyway, I came across a number of videos that formed part of Forever Archive, a project I helped research back in 2012.  Scarily, I was the subject of one of the inteviews, as they ran out of people to film.

Here's the blurb:

In 2012, the Forever Archive project set out to increase awareness of archive film and its relevance to our lives today, and to put across that the idea of archive film is a continuous process – the films from a hundred years ago are a fascinating insight into the way we used to live and similarly, the films we create today will be of huge interest in another hundred years.

Archive film is not something alien and remote, locked into another time; just random fragments of boring history. It goes on as long as life itself and is utterly relevant to now. In the early days of film cinemas often commissioned a cameraman to shoot films of local events and scenes, involving local people in the pictures as an encouragement to come and see themselves and their friends and neighbours on the screen. It was a simple concept but one which made film an intimate part of the community. 

This project aimed to be more far-reaching but with the same kind of impact and in the same tradition. 

With its focus on West Dorset, the project was overseen by Windrose Rural Media Trust, and enjoyed the involvement of Bridport Arts Centre, Dorset History Centre and Bridport Museum. 

The films were produced by James Harrison and featured ten local people, including singing teacher Penny Dunscombe, photographer Kris DutsonDorchester tour guide Alistair Chisholm, Lord and Lady Sandwich from the Mapperton estate, Palmers head brewer Darren Batten, apple farmer Rupert Best, balloonist Steve Davis, Emily Fearn from The New Hardy Players and [my alter ego] writer Margery Hookings.

So, in no particular order, here are the films:

That's about it.

Love, Maddie x

Batten down those hatches, it's recycling day

It's blowing a hooley out there.  The wind is lashing against the windows and the dogs are play fighting in front of the Aga before...