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Taking the Mick

09-01-2016

By Dylan Ifans ap Iorwerth

voice of albion televisionMy internet connection is an absolute abomination.

I'm with Vodafone, 'though I suspect not for much longer, and the Broadband service I have been "enjoying" for the last few months has been as questionable as Tom Pepper's oath.

This, however, gives me a very useful test to perform when reviewing television, which is whether the programme I'm watching via the television company's streaming service is good enough to overcome the extreme annoyance caused by the Broadband service's propensity to drop out, or to crawl when it should be running like Usain Bolt with ginger up the proverbial.

Of course, this can hardly be described as a scientific test, as the pre-Menstrual service is twinned with the sort of timing you get from a schizophrenic weather system, and so it could be fine all one day and then like a splash of aftershave on sunburn for the next three weeks: alternatively, it could be tickety-boo for ages and then suddenly it tells you you'd get better internet by sticking a banana in the coal cellar.  You just never can tell.

But performing this test, however unscientific it is, whilst not my idea of a good time, is nevertheless an informative yardstick as to the quality of the programmes.  You see, having to wait for the film to buffer on the computer raises the question of whether I go and do something else whilst it's attempting to come through, thereby being absorbed in the other task and making a film which would have lasted a mere ninety minutes or so last all afternoon, or do I stick with it?  Of course, the essence of the test is whether I'm enjoying the film enough to stick with it.

Two films I watched over the festive period were Mrs Brown's Boys: D'Movie and Sherlock: The Abominable Bride.  In the latter, of course, much too much is made of the Moriarty character, which was only included in the original canon as a plot device to kill off the super-sleuth after Conan-Doyle felt the weight of the millstone around his neck.  Mark Gatiss' Mycroft Holmes, meanwhile, looked for all the world like Andrew Neill in a fat-suit, which was rather disconcerting, as was the rather confused and inconclusive ending.  Yes, I know that the Sherlock character was supposed to be obsessed with Moriarty, but even so, I found his activities towards the end didn't really amount to much.  But I did enjoy the bit where Mycroft directed his brother to let "the enemy" win because "they are right and we are wrong" - given the tone of the piece, that was a superb touch.  It was well acted, too, by Messrs Cumberbatch and Freeman, which atones for much of what I deplore of their political views.  But that's another story.  I enjoyed the homage to the Brett-era Holmes, also, for that is the quintessential celluloid version.  I was also taken with their references to the original canon - the cess-pit London and the Diogenes being the spot to observe the human character.

D'Movie is the big-screen off-shoot of popular Irish sit-com Mrs Brown's Boys.  Without giving too much of the plot away, given that it's set in the outside world rather than a series of theatrical sets as in the series is much to be admired.  It has been slated by many - rather unfairly, in my view, for it's got the right amount of humour, action and seat-of-the-knickers suspense to pass muster.  Naturally, you take it for what it is, but what it is is so much more than one might expect from the original series.

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