Showing all posts tagged: television

Stage and TV for Pip Williams The Dictionary of Lost Words

12 November 2022
The Dictionary of Lost Words, by Pip Williams, book cover

The Dictionary of Lost Words, the debut novel of Adelaide Hills, South Australia, based author Pip Williams, which I happen to be reading at the moment, is to be the subject of not one, but two separate adaptations.

A stage production, directed by Jessica Arthur, a collaboration between the State Theatre Company of South Australia and the Sydney Theatre Company, is set to open in September 2023, in Adelaide. The show then moves to Sydney, where it opens in late October 2023.

And then this week Australian television producers Lisa Scott and Rebecca Summerton announced they had acquired the TV rights to the book, and were planning a six to eight part series. At this stage it remains unknown when the show will go to air.

Set with the publishing of the first Oxford Dictionary as a backdrop, The Dictionary of Lost Words, published in March 2020 by Affirm Press, recounts the story of Esme, the daughter of one of the lexicographers working on production of the dictionary:

Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day, she sees a slip containing the word bondmaid flutter to the floor unclaimed. Esme seizes the word and hides it in an old wooden trunk that belongs to her friend, Lizzie, a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world.

Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women’s experiences often go unrecorded. She begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words.


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Blockbuster a comedy about the last Blockbuster video shop in America

31 October 2022

I miss afternoons spent whiling away more time than I should have, perusing the aisles of the long closed local video hire shop. Somewhere among the cram packed shelves there was bound to be a title I wanted to see, but had missed at the movies. Time consuming the process may have been, but it was somehow cathartic, transcendental even.

Despite a barrage of closures over the last decade, near to five-hundred video hire shops remain open in Australia. Some even experienced a shortlived uptick in business during the COVID enforced lockdowns, as people searched for ways to amuse themselves while housebound.

Those looking to relive the old days of the video hire shop might then enjoy the aptly name TV show Blockbuster, trailer, a Netflix produced comedy set in the last Blockbuster shop in America. Timmy Yoon, the hapless store owner, is not only hopeful of keeping the business afloat, but also, it seems, catching the eye of his favourite employee, Eliza.

Timmy Yoon is an analog dreamer living in a 5G world. And after learning he is operating the last Blockbuster Video in America, Timmy and his staff employees (including his long time crush, Eliza) fight to stay relevant. The only way to succeed is to remind their community that they provide something big corporations can’t: human connection.


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Heartbreak High 2022 a top ten TV show across the world

30 September 2022

The 2022 reboot of Australian high-school drama show Heartbreak High has not only been one of the most watched TV shows in Australia recently, it was also among the top-ten viewed Netflix programs in over forty countries across the world.

Featured in the top 10 most watched shows in 43 countries around the world on Netflix, in every corner of the globe from the US and Europe, to Africa, Asia and, Australia, where it’s been sitting pretty in the top 10 since its release on service on September 14.



Heartbreak High 2022 picks up where original series left off

17 September 2022

Iconic Australian high-school television drama Heartbreak High, which screened during the nineties, has been rebooted for a new generation. No holds barred might be one way to describe the original series, which didn’t hesitate to confront viewers, as Kylie Northover, of The Age, writes:

A spin-off of the 1993 film The Heartbreak Kid (itself a spin-off from a play of the same name), the series depicted an inner-city Sydney high school, Hartley High, that looked like the real multicultural world, and dealt with taboo topics such as racism, drugs, sexuality, domestic abuse and even teacher-student affairs.

If the trailer for Heartbreak High 2022 is anything to go by, then it looks like producers Netflix intend to continue where the original series left off.

Fun fact: a former colleague of mine appeared in one episode of the original series.


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Belated birthday greetings to George Jetson born 31 July 2022

1 August 2022

I’ve seen a few episodes of The Jetsons, a futuristic carton show that first aired in the 1960s, but had forgotten, or maybe not even known, the setting was 2062. The twenty-fifth century somehow felt more like it. After all, a flying car that compacts down to the size of a briefcase when not in use? Come on, we’ll need a few hundred years to make that a reality.

But according to intenet pundits, George Jetson, husband to Jane, and father of Judy and Elroy, was born in 2022. Some have suggested 31 July as his actual birthday, though series creators have yet to confirm or deny that is the case.


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Chloe, a TV series by Alice Seabright

4 June 2022

Chloe, trailer, is a TV series for our stalk-book, socials, obsessed times, from British writer and director Alice Seabright. Twenty-something Becky (Erin Doherty), lives at home with her mother. When not working as a temp, she closely follows the lives of glamorous and beautiful, and develops a fascination in particular with the life of a young woman named Chloe. When tragedy strikes though, Becky feels the needs to learn more about the woman she has become infatuated with.

When Chloe dies suddenly, Becky’s need to find out how and why leads her to assume a new identity and engineer a “chance” meeting with Chloe’s best friend, Livia (Bennett-Warner), and infiltrate Chloe’s group of close-knit friends. Through her alter-ego Sasha, Becky becomes a powerful, transgressive heroine; a popular, well-connected “someone” with a life, and loves, that are far more exciting and addictive than the “no one” she is as Becky. However, the pretence soon obscures and conflates reality, and Becky risks losing herself completely in the game she is playing.

Chloe debuts on Friday 24 June 2022, but you can follow — if you’re game — Chloe’s Instagram page in the meantime.


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Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan return for Neighbours finale

11 May 2022

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan will reprise their roles of Charlene and Scott in the final episodes of long running Australian soap opera Neighbours, which are expected to air sometime in September.

You have no excuse not to tune in now…


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Australian soap opera Neighbours coming to an end

4 March 2022

After months of speculation, it’s official, long running Australian television soap opera, Neighbours, is coming to an end after thirty-seven years. The call was made after the soap’s production company Fremantle, were unable to find another broadcaster in the United Kingdom to screen the show.

Ironically the only time I ever saw Neighbours was when I lived in the United Kingdom for a few years. There was a curious — to me at least — ritual at one of the places I worked at, where many of the staff would take their lunch breaks a little later than usual so they could watch Neighbours. My colleagues would assemble in a meeting room and look at the afternoon screening on the wall mounted TV, while engaging in animated banter about what was happening.

I’m a little surprised the producers struggled to find British support for the show though. Neighbours, and its Sydney based counterpart Home and Away, were, at the time, broadcast twice daily, in the early afternoon, and then a few hours later in the early evening. If that’s not a gauge of the popularity of a TV show, what is?

The final episodes will be filmed in June this year, according to reports.



Gilligan’s Island conspiracy theory alternative synopsis

18 April 2008

The story about a seemingly random group of people setting off together on a three-hour cruise somewhere around the Hawaiian Islands, has, if you’ll excuse the pun, never held much water.

It’s quite clear some people expected the “cruise” to last a little longer than three hours.

First there’s Ginger, the movie star, who was carrying more luggage than any sane person would take on a three-year voyage.

Then there’s Mr Howell, the millionaire, and his brief case stuffed with “thousand dollar bills”. And what about the professor and his stash of scientific paraphernalia?

What possible utility could any of this have had during what was meant to be a three-hour cruise?

Gilligan’s Island fan Adam-Troy Castro has written an interesting dissection of the (still) popular TV show, and he may have unearthed the actual purpose of the “three-hour cruise”.

Mr Howell, rather than Gilligan, was in fact the pivotal player here.

One of the glaring questions that’s bothered us for a quarter of a century is: Since the snobbish Howell can presumably afford to buy his own yachts, why would he be interested in a “three-hour tour” aboard a dinky little charter vessel owned by two ex-navy men? And why would he take along a briefcase filled with thousand dollar bills, when one of the perks associated with great wealth is unlimited credit?

To be shipwrecked on an (apparently) unchartered and unknown island, means the Minnow, the cruise boat, had to be a long way from the main group of Hawaiian Islands, so what had they gone out to look at in the first place?

Certainly not the local reefs, since there’s no scuba equipment aboard. And certainly not the local shoreline, since when the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was not only unable to make it to port, but was blown outside Hawaiian territory. It must have been an unusual distance from shore to begin with. And still, no normal tourist site, let alone one miles from shore, can possibly explain the amount of money Howell brought with him.

It’s obvious something incredibly below board was planned, and cash stashes and superfluous scientific equipment, don’t really leave too much to the imagination.

Howell chartered the Minnow to make a multi-million-dollar drug buy. He’d paid off Gilligan, and the Skipper too. He’d brought along the necessary cash. He even brought along an extensive wardrobe, just in case the coast guard showed up and he had to leave U.S. territory in a hurry. And just to make sure he wasn’t ripped off, he brought along an expert to evaluate the merchandise he was getting.

So who was in cahoots with who though? Apart from Mary Anne, it seems everyone else was in on the drug buy.

Mary Anne appeared to be a bona fide tourist intent on some sightseeing, and the “gang” felt that not allowing her to board the Minnow, which to all intents and purposes was a tour vessel, would have looked suspicious.

Mary Anne, a Kansas farm girl … had won a Hawaiian vacation in a contest. Howell and his cronies must have let her on board because failing to do so would have raised undue suspicion among harbor authorities; they probably intended to dump her body at sea.

In a twist to proceedings however, Mary Anne was not exactly who she appeared to be either…

Vacations given away in contests are always for two people, not one! And Mary Anne, who claimed to have a fiance back home, had no real reason to be travelling alone. Therefore, she must have been maintaining a false identity as well – and since everybody else on the Minnow was frantically putting on a show for her benefit, she must have been putting on a show for theirs. The conclusion is inescapable. Mary Anne was a Fed.

The producers of Gilligan’s Island didn’t follow through with the planned fourth series, thus leaving the story… unresolved. Therefore the alternative synopsis advanced by Mr Castro may be quite plausible.

Originally published Friday 18 April 2008.