Queen Victoria and Abdul Karim – A review and summary

I recently watched Victoria and Abdul – what a moving film, for many reasons. The elderly queen was lonely, depressed and wanted someone to treat her as a friend, not just a monarch. I know Victoria had a controlling, cold mother, and lost her father at a young age. She was moulded to be a monarch, as her uncle (William IV) was childless. She was, by many accounts a passionate woman, but unstable (as were many in her family). When her adored husband died young Victoria never got over it, but as she aged and times changed she became more and more separated from her people, and a stable, happy life. In her last few years a young, handsome Indian gentleman became her friend and mentor. This was NOT popular at court. He was a commoner, he was Indian and he was a Muslim. None of which were deemed suitable for the Queen. Victoria, basically, told her family to mind their own business – she liked Abdul Karim – he made her happy and made her laugh. He taught her Urdu, a liking for curry and some Indian history (albeit a little embellished).
Victoria accused the household of racism – which was probably a well-founded accusation at the time. The servants took umbrage that this ‘coloured’ servant was receiving favours and honours above the white household.
The British behaviour in India – that’s another story entirely – but there were some rather despicable practices, and attitudes happening.
When the Queen died Mr Karim was packed off back to India in all haste, and everything connected to his life and friendship with the Queen destroyed. (Except his own diaries.)
Judi Dench was fantastic as Victoria and, surrounded by a notable cast, really brought home the loneliness and separateness the monarch had then. She was a lonely old woman, with no real friends, and he was a clever young man who wanted to please this woman he revered. It was an unlikely friendship but for that it was special. Despite the class, racial, religious, and age difference two people found companionship. For over a decade they remained close, despite the family and household’s best efforts.
Queen Victoria is often seen as the epitome of staid and upright morality – and to an extent she was – or her name was. But she was still a woman and a woman who needed company.  Much of her life was unhappy, marred by duty and service and influenced by grief.
I heartily recommend this film and further research on this extraordinary friendship.

Review – The Clone Wars – Animated Series #Starwars #scifi


As many of you know I am a geek and a nerd – and proud of it. I love Star Wars – don’t ask how many times I’ve seen the original trilogy. Anyway, I’d seen a couple of these episodes on youtube and on recommendation picked these up.  It took me a while to get into this – (as the first series is a little disjointed) but now I love it. It’s very easy to get hooked on these. And I did. This was my little treat, a couple of episodes before bed and life was good. Seriously this is an EXCELLENT set of animated works and the animation is great.

The individual episodes are short but there are lots and it took us a month or so to work through them all. The stories are ‘canon’ so add a lot to the mythos and storylines of Star Wars.  The characters introduced (such as Clone captain Rex and Ahsoka) enhance the more well-known characters such as Obi-wan and Anakin Skywalker. These compelling and rather tragic characters bring a good deal of life to the stories.

Oh and just because this is a cartoon don’t expect the body count to be low – it’s not. People die – clones, droids, jedi, civilians, aliens, monsters. There is a trail of death and destruction right across the galaxy.  It’s PG rated but if this was a film with ‘real’ people then I’m pretty sure that rating would be upped. The death (and the pointlessness of the unwinnable war) is a key part of the series, and certainly later on the characters question the rationale and the reasons for the war. Of course ‘Senator’ Palpatine is not all he seems. He really is a weapons-grade devious bastard. I found myself wanting to yell ‘don’t trust him!’  He’s evil but not obviously so in the way of say General Grevious or Darth Maul.

This series fills in a lot of gaps in the storylines, showing that Anakin Skywalker’s fall was not as quick as it appears. The Clone Wars are dealt with in the second movie (Attack of the Clones) but it really doesn’t do justice to that side of the story. Thousands, if not millions of clones bred ONLY to fight, and Battledroids wage a war no one can win and few care about the rapidly rising body count. Of course, it’s not that simple – the Jedi are involved, and the Jedi council do not come out of this series especially well. Arrogant, rather partial and often devoid of emotion they ‘peacekeep’ the galaxy against the ‘separatists’ but they are peacekeeping in a war zone where everyone is just a piece in a far greater, and more cunning game. In many places, it’s hard to tell who are the good guys and the bad, but there are some great villains and heroes but the line between ‘good and evil’ is blurred, to say the least.

I felt real pity for Anakin and Ahsoka – certainly, for the former the ‘light side’ wasn’t as squeaky clean as it appears. Good and evil are rather relative and truth is dependent on where you stand. This series answers questions cements relationships with characters and the diverse and complex world of Star Wars. It’s a must for any Star Wars fan.

I wanted more when the series ended and I know I will watch these again regularly.

Crew Interview with Paul Daintree, 2nd AD on ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ and ‘Crazy Heads’

Another interesting interview about working in Film making from Brizkids Casting.



The Briz Kidz Blog


My first job in television was as an paul-daintreeoffice runner for the BBC Drama Serials Department in White City, London. I worked there for a year before moving on to Productions, my first being the period drama ‘North and South’ as a Production Runner, working in the office and providing support for the Line Producer, Production Coordinator and Production Secretary. From there I moved on to Floor Running, starting on the soaps and continuing drama. I then slowly moved up the ‘AD Ladder’, becoming a 3rd AD and now currently a 2nd AD. Since starting as an Office Runner at the BBC, I have been in the industry for 13 years.

 Before working in the industry I was (and still am) a keen film/television fan and used to enjoy making my own short films with friends. I studied Film & TV Production at…

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