Category: UK

Life On Mars (KDrama Vs Brits) Review

Drama

Life On Mars (KDrama Vs Brits) Review

  • Genre: Supernatural, Paranormal, Crime, Policing, Serial Killer, Time Travel

 


UK Tv Version

Date Released: 2006

Cast:

  • John Simm as Sam Tyler
  • Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt
  • Liz White
  • Dean Andrews
  • Marshall Lancaster

This drama is based on the brilliant original 2006 BBC TV series Life on Mars. The US and other countries copied the format for their  version of the TV series, but in my opinion, never bettered the original.

Summary of the British drama. By Peter Morton an avid fan of the BBC series)

In 2006, A modern, ambitious young Detective Inspector (DI) named  Sam Tyler is investigating a major crime. While driving to a meeting, he has a serious car accident. While he lies on the road losing consciousness, the iPod in his car  is playing David Bowie’s iconic ‘Life on Mars’ song.  Hours late,  Sam wakes up in the road and he can still hear the song. He gets up and looks around but his car has gone and an unfamiliar car is there in it’s place, with an old 1970s style 8 track tape player in the car playing the song.

Sam is confused, puzzled and with a bad headache, he gets into the car and drives to his meeting. The destination and all round him have changed.

He is about to meet and become involved with interesting characters of a bygone era. Political Correctness does not exist and life is played out to different conventions to what he has known in his 21st centruy life.

When he arrives at his destination, he is met by a senior detective, who appears to be expecting Sam and welcomes him to be a member of his team investigating local serious crimes.

The senior detective is named Gene Hunt. For the early episodes, Sam  thinks Hunt is “an overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline-alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding” Anger management is unknown to Hunt too.

Hunt’s all male detective team have similar outlooks to him and will use physical means to coerce suspects etc.  Police women (one assists the team) are seen as only generally usefu, making tea and typing up reports etc.  Sam mentions his accident and he learns from a bemused Hunt, who thinks Sam has lost his memory reminds Sam this is 1973. Sam  is of course  quite shocked and puzzled. He goes along with all that is happening, while trying to rationlise what is happening to him.

Gene Hunt & the team think Sam is initially too soft and not hard enough to be a proper detective, let alone a policeman. They get confused and think he is mad  when he tries to explain to them  modern forensics, crime detection and political correctness unknown in that time.

Sam is frustrated by the antics, hard-drinking, sexist banter and lack of modern police methods.

As teh series developes Gene Hunt becomes iconic. The viewer and Sam come to see that Gene Hunt, despite his rough and ready exterior,has in fact, a  caring side, good old fashioned instinctive  detective ability and is a committed good guy as are his team.  Sam, Gene and team get to respect each other and become friends. Romance beckons with the police woman(no female detectives), member of the team too.

The viewer, like Sam himself,  has to workout if he is dead and has either gone to some sort of afterlife, or in a coma and dying with vivid dreams, or  somehow  he has gone back in time.

While his  day-to-day 1970s experience seem all to real to Sam, he also  experiences surreal auditory and  hallucinatory instances, some where  his name being called from a distant place., Is  medical intervention trying to revive him?

Things &  events happen in the background, which intrigue the viewer. One such, is a pub barman, who gives Sam profound pearls of wisdom about existence.

As the story progresses, Sam gets to enjoy and settle into his ‘new life’ as it is much simpler and less complicated than his fast paced and pressurised, goal orientated  21st century modern existence. Sam finds genuine friendship and camaraderie and feels he is doing good. He begins to prefer to stay in this new life.

Is Sam accepting death, or his place in a new time, somehow granted to him?

In the last episode, in hospital, Sam wakes up  from a coma in his real-time. He recovers from his accident and eventually returns to work.  He feels out-of-place and hates the modern complicated world he grew up in. He takes the ultimate decision and jumps off the roof of his tall HQ building, killing himself, to return his preferred existence.

Following the popularity of the first series, a second series was made.

It was called Ashes to Ashes (another Bowie song), with a new lead character.  This time it is an ambitious female detective named Alexandra Drake.  In the first epsiode Drake is shot in the head by a criminal. As Drake lies deeply unconscious, she experiences the same as Sam did in the first series. The same 1970s era, the characters of Gene Hunt and his team. This time with added issue of being a feisty modern senior female detective previously unknown now ‘alive’ in this  male dominated world!

This second series further hints at an idea of an afterlife or existence.

Gene Hunt and his team are gradually revealed to be possibly much more than the routine cops they portray. Are they, along with some other characters  ‘angels’ or ‘guides’?  In one episode, Hunt is talking to Drake and he mysteriously  alludes to another detective who passed through before her arrival.

The viewer can ponder the deeper meaning of this, which in my opinion was an excellent, original and creative piece of drama, with great actors and acting.


 

Life on Mars poster (Korean)

  • South Korean Drama Version
  • Date Released: June 2018
  • KDrama: 16 episodes

Cast:

  • Jung Kyung Ho as Han Tae-Jo
  • Park Sung Woong as Kang Dong Chul
  • Go Ah Sung as Yoon Na Young
  • Oh Dae Hwan as Lee Jong-gi
  • Noh Jung Hyun as Jo Nam-sik

I came late to this drama, not because I did not think much of it.

Au contraire, it was the opposite.  The presence of Jung Kyung Ho and Go Ah Sung would guarantee a drama to be of topmost excellence.  Added to the equation is that this is a BBC drama original.

You cannot go wrong!!!

Episode 1

Han Tae-Jo is on top of his crop as a forensic police investigator.  He is very punctilious with his work.  Even if the result is not what is popular, he fights for it.

This made him unpopular to many policemen, who tend to look after themselves with their cronyism.  Some police cut corners to get the result they wanted.

Han Tae-Jo fought this kind of anomalies, including with a rabid policeman who sent an innocent to jail for three years.

Anyway Han Tae Jo was a key witness to a prolific serial killer, who paints the victims nail with red nail varnish.

They got the culprit and it was almost a done deal that he was going to jail.  But Han Tae Jo testified that the forensic evidence was  contaminated.  There were no other evidence and therefore the killer was freed.

han Tae Jo testimony did not sit down well with the prosecutor, who happened to be his ex-girlfriend.

Han Tae Jo himself was very upset with the result. He got home and drank himself to sleep.  He was awakened the next morning with the news that the prosecutor had gone missing.  He noticed that he received several calls from her telling him that there was someone else behind the serial killer.

Han Tae Jo was visibly upset and and scared that the prosecutor has become another statistic to the serial killing.

They search everywhere and finally found the place where the killer was hiding.  Han Tae Jo himself gave chase to the killer.  He was about to get him when someone pointed a gun to Han Tae Jo’s head and fired.

He woke up and under the David Bowie’s Life on Mars song, Han Tae Jo staggered to his car only to get hit by another car.

He then again woke up in a strange location.

It was 1998.  The 1988 was about to take place in South Korea and as a precaution, there was an impromptu war drill.

Han Tae Jo, just stood in the middle of the road utterly confused with the goings on.  And then he spied the serial killer.  He run after him and the police run after Han Tae Jo.

The man Han Tae Jo was running after was not quite the serial killer.

They all ended up in the police station, where Han Tae Jo was roughed up by the police as he cannot show any ID and the fact that he told them that he works at the Metropolitan police, which did not exist in 1988.

In the end an envelop of documents drop out from his leather jacket which notified who he was and that he was the new detective inspector.

In the station, he met everyone of the team, including Kang Dong Chul (Gene Hung equivalent) who has not been visited by political correctness.

There was also a young policewoman, who was more a housekeeper, in charge or laundry and tea-making among other menial task.  The policewoman was Yoon na took him to his new house.

The room was almost bare except for an old television.  When he switched it on, he saw someone talking about him, his body in the present time being in a coma.

Han Tae Jo was rudely woken up the next morning by Kang Dong Chul.  He took him to the site of a murder.

A girl has been killed.  Han Tae Jo immediately notices that her nails had been painted red.

 

 

 

 

The Markle Sparkle

The New Duke & Duchess of Sussex


The Markle Sparkle

There is only one verdict during the royal wedding yesterday between Prince Harry and Hollywood actress, Meghan Markle, it was a success – a history making.

After  weeks of salacious revelations about the Markles and Meghan, yesterday put a lid to all the controversies.  The lid might be temporary, we shall see.

Remember how Sarah Fergusson was at first the darling of the crowd in 1986?  Did not last long 🙁

Yesterday, the world had seen how Meghan was so poised and dignified.  Meghan sparkled.

Her dress was expensively simple, which suited her well.  The pièce de résistance to her wedding ensemble was the purity and simplicity of the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara.  A real show stopper!  It was perfectly nestled into a long train of veil, which cascaded behind her like a silken river.  The veil was embroidered by all the flowers from the 53 commonwealth nations.

She might yet be the real thing, a real duchess.

Well she is officially the Duchess of Sussex, (Countess ) Lady of Dumbarton and (Baroness) Lady of Kilkeel and also being Princess Harry. ‘A list’ guests attending with members of public. Millions around the world watched or listened to a bright, joyous and happy event, sadly rare at present in the world at large. We saw part of the RAF wedding fly by of planes over our garden en route to Windsor on a glorious sunny day.

Congratulations and Best Wishes.

Delicious Home Made Pickled Beetroot

Delicious Home Made Pickled Beetroot

Our good friend and close neighbour Mick regularly supplies us with fresh vegetables grown on his allotment located across the road from us.

Mick has had his allotment for over fifty years, planting vegetables and even fruit trees.

One of my favourite vegetables he grows for harvesting each autumn time is beetroot. Mick grows a popular type called ‘Boltardty AGM’. Boltardy seeds can be sown at various times during the growing year and in most types of soil. It does not have excessive ‘bolting, a gardening term, which means premature sprouting of stalks flowering stem(s). Excessive bolting can divert resources & nutriment from the beetroot and reduce its quality.

All Photos By PH Morton

After harvesting, Mick then produces jars of delicious slightly sweet pickled beetroot for his family and us. We save a jar for Christmas time. Beetroot is perfect to accompany Christmas meals.  This year, Mick invited me to harvest some of his beetroot. He then showed us how to make his ‘signature’ pickled beetroot. I took various photos from harvesting to our jars filled with delicious picked beetroot. Under Mick’s tutelage and help, Jean & I enjoyed producing our own jars of this delicious vegetable. Making pickled beetroot is quite simple & straightforward. 🙂

If using homegrown beetroots from garden or allotment etc., a good time to harvest is from 50 to 70 days after planting. Avoid letting the beetroot get too big. A hand or tennis ball size is ideal. Do not let the stalks/stems bolt or grow above 6 inches (15cms). Dig around the beetroot and pick up avoiding breaking the stalk/greens from the beetroot.

Thoroughly clean & wash the dirt off and trim the stalks/stems short. Again do not pull out the stems, as water can get into the beetroot and damage it when boiling prior to pickling.

Harvested fresh beetroot can be stored in a refrigerator for about seven days.

Depending how many beetroots you are pickling, you will require:-

  1. Pickling /preserve jars with airtight lids. The normal size is around 500ml, or as large as you want. Most hardware stores will supply.
  2. Pickling vinegar, which comes in 1.4 litre size. Most larger supermarkets etc supply.
  3. Brown or white sugar granules to sweeten the vinegar taste to your choice.

Place the beetroots in a suitably sized saucepan(s) and cover with water.

Boil for two hours.

Carefully strain off the water and either allow air cooling or running cold water over the beetroots then dry.

Completely remove remaining stalks/roots etc.

The boiled soft skin of the beetroot does not need to be peeled with a knife as can be easily removed by hand.

Cut or slice the beetroot to whatever size you prefer.

Pour in small amount sugar, then add a small measure of the pickling vinegar, enough to cover the first layer of the slices of beetroot into the bottom of the jar.  Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar (to taste) then add another layer, pour pickling vinegar, then another layer, sugar, pickling vinegar until it reaches the top of the jar.

Close the jar, gently shake it then turn it upside down and leave for about 30 minutes. This will allow the vinegar and sugar to seep through the beetroot. Top up with the pickling vinegar if needed to completely cover the sliced beetroot in the jar.

If you want you can label the jar with day & month of pickling.

Home made pickled beetroot can be kept for 6 weeks to 3 months, refrigerated.
In practice, it can be longer.

But if you store them beyond 3 months and you’re worried, check for signs of spoilage (rising bubbles, cloudy liquid, unnatural colour) and don’t eat or taste.

Chicken & Vegetable Broth Recipe

Chicken & Veg Broth, photo by PH Morton

 

Chicken & Vegetable Broth Recipe

October might be autumn in the UK but there is already a touch of the wintry weather especially at night.  We even have had to turn on the gas central heating to take out the the chill in the house.

Last night, it was fairly chilly again and thank goodness, we have the ingredients to make a chicken and vegetable broth for an easy supper.  A liberal sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper (as seen of the photo above) added heat to a delicious soup.

 

Ingredients

  • 2oz butter
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 100g kale, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2oz plain flour
  • 2 pints chicken stock
  • 1lb cooked chicken, skinned and shredded
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method of Preparation:

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat and gently fry the onions, celery and carrots until they start to soften.  Then mix in the kale.

  2. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring as you do so. Season with salt and pepper, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and simmer for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

  3. Add the cooked chicken and cook until heated through. Adjust the seasoning, stir in the parsley and serve.

  4. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper 🙂

Mushroom Soup Recipe

Mushroom Soup, photo by JMorton

Mushroom Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 600 g mixed mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • 1.5 litres organic chicken or vegetable stock
  • 75 ml single cream
  • extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Brush the mushrooms clean, then finely slice.
  2. Peel and finely slice the onion, celery and garlic, then pick the parsley, finely chopping the stalks. Pick the thyme leaves.
  3. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion, celery, garlic, parsley stalks, thyme leaves and mushrooms, pop the lid on and cook gently until softened.
  4. Spoon out 4 tablespoons of mushrooms, and keep for later.
  5. Pour the stock into the pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, then whiz with a stick blender until smooth.
  7. Pour in the cream, bring just back to the boil, then turn off the heat.
  8. Spoon the soup into bowls, garnish with the chopped parsley and remaining mushrooms, and serve with the ciabatta crostini on the side.

Oxtail Soup Recipe

Oxtail Soup, photo by JMorton

Oxtail Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.25kg/2lb 12oz oxtail, trimmed of fat and cut into pieces
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 300ml/10½fl oz red wine
  • 1.5 litres/2½ pints litres beef stock
  • 1 tbsp plain flour

Brown Derby Pudding

Brown Derby Pudding, photo by JMortonBrown

Brown Derby Pudding

This delicious pudding is so easy to make.

For the base, use a ring donut.

Mix some vanilla ice-cream with whip cream.  Pipe this mix over the donut as per the photo above.

Sprinkle some pounded nuts and finally drizzle with softened dark chocolate.

Fun and fantastic dessert.

Camera Obscura – Magic

Greenwich, photo by PH Morton

Camera Obscura Image on a table, photo by PH Morton

Camera Obscura – Magic

The lens, Photo by PH Morton

Summerhouse in the Meridian Courtyard housing the Camera Obscura with doorway with black curtains, photo by JMorton

It was my second time to visit the Camera Obscura, located at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, South London.

The first time we went which was the autumn of 2013, Peter excitedly insisted that we enter into this building complete with a doorway shrouded in black curtains. Inside was pitch black, as dark as the night.

In the middle of this fairly tiny room,  probably 4square metres (only 6-8 people allowed in at any given time), was a polish table which looked to me like a white marble.  We all looked at the table and thought there was nothing really special about it.  Just an empty table.  We went out of the room absolutely perplexed and disappointed, the same look and feeling on the other faces that had also went in and out with us. We were all asking?  What was that about?!!!

Yesterday was a glorious warm and sunny day.  While at Greenwich Royal Observatory, Peter, Stacey, Nathan and I went into the black shrouded doorway and on the table was a real time panoramic projection of an image of Greenwich.  People can be seen moving on the projected image.  Finally we understood what this camera obscura was about!  🙂 🙂 🙂

Camera obscura (from Latin words: camera, meaning room and obscura, meaning dark) uses a natural optical phenomenon projected from a small hole, a pinhole.  This has something to do with physical law that light travels in straight line.  When some of the rays reflected from a bright subject pass through a pinhole, the rays do not scatter but reform to reflect an upside down image of the subject the rays were reflected from.  I wish now that I had paid attention to physics class! 🙂

The Greenwich camera obscura uses lens for a larger image projection.

Cutty Sark, British Clipper Ship

Cutty Sark, British Clipper Ship

Cutty Sark in its heyday was the fastest ship because of hull shape and vast sail area.  It sailed for more than 957,991 nautical miles which is equivalent to going to the moon and back 2 and a half times. 🙂

Beautifully maintained ship and the information provided were entertaining and interesting. There were a lot of interactive activities and the guides were all friendly and very accommodating. The place is perfect for school children to learn about the life aboard a vessel in the middle of the ocean.

Jean Morton review on Cutty Sark Facebook page

The Cutty Sark was built in Clyde, Scotland in 1869 originally to be a tea clipper, travelling from London to China and back, until the arrival of the even faster steam ships. The Cutty Sark then started carrying wool from Australia to London.

The Cutty Sark continued being used as a training ship until the 1950s.

In 1954, it was permanently lodge in Greenwich, South London, as a public display and museum. It is now a National Historic ship being only one of the three remaining shipping vessel with its original composite construction, where the the wooden hull was framed in iron. Copper was used a great deal in the making of the Cutty Sark. Apparently the copper prevents barnacles attaching themselves to the ship.

Peter, Stacey, Nathan – our intrepid grandson and I enjoyed our tour of the Cutty Sark.  The weather yesterday was perfect to see the ship.  It was bright and glorious.  There were plenty to do and to see.

It was a wonderful piece of history. Long it may be preserved for posterity.

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