Game of Thrones

While driving around the country yesterday I listened to the first 5 hours of the audiobook “A Song of Ice and Fire”, better known as volume one of “Game of Thrones”.

Today, with a mountain of ironing to process, I watched the beginning of the TV series. I have seen it before, but with the original writing in my head it made much more sense. The production, locations and characters are superb, and as close to the book as one can achieve for an entertaining TV series.

I particularly like the opening sequences (developed as the story progresses) depicting mechanical gearing operation, indicating the background political mechanics, and which is later reflected in the pseudo-mediaeval castle backdrops.

One problem with the audio book is the allocation of British Regional accents to characters, and particularly the lack of consistency. I am not sure that I am in favour of using regional accents to identify characters, even if Westeros has similarities to Britain in its geography. But when a character who speaks with a Lancashire accent for three chapters suddenly becomes Welsh and a scotsman migrates to Yorkshire at the same time I start to question the production values.

A bit of TV nostalgia

Today I was relaxing and watching the 1970s BBC TV series “Wings”, which is based on the experiences of the Royal Flying Corps in 1915.

One of the BE2 crews was played by Michael Cochraine (pilot) and David Troughton (observer), clearly a well-established partnership and good friends.

The next time I saw these two together on TV was some 20 years later in the ITV “Sharpe” series, set in the Peninsular War, playing Sir Henry Simmerson and the Duke of Wellington, clearly the worst of enemies.


They also both have rôles in the long-running BBC radio series: “The Archers”, where David’s real son Will plays his son Tom Archer in the drama.

I spent a long time trying to remember where I had previously seen Tim Woodward (Sgt. Alan Farmer), until I spotted him in the next war as Squadron Leader Rex in Channel 4’s 1980s series “Piece of Cake” about the RAF in 1939-40. This series was based on one of Derek Robinson’s eminently readable books about the fictional “Hornet Squadron”.

(Incidentally, reverting to WW1, I can recommend “War Story” by Derek Robinson. He has an excellent command of black humour).

Spotting and cross-relating great British actors is not new to me. I remember years ago spotting Nigel Green as Colour-Sergeant Bourne in “Zulu” receiving rapid promotion to become General Wolsey in “Khartoum”.

A poor documentary

If anyone wants to watch a highly oversimplified Germano-centric and, from my other reading, somewhat inaccurate documentary of the first part of the Second World War, I can grudgingly recommend the Lamancha Productions “Visions of War” series, Galaxy Film 1983 presentation of “Blitzkrieg” by Karl Ullman, directed by Wolfgang Richter.

On the other hand if you want to view some excellent archive footage of the same period I can heartily recommend the same film without the soundtrack.

In its defence I would say that it is good to see anything from the other side of the hill.