Grace Dent on Parade’s End (The Independent)


Parade’s End, I believe, is one of the finest things the BBC has ever made. Shower it with Baftas and Emmys.

Push it proudly in the world’s face and say, “This is us.” This doesn’t explain why, ratings-wise, it’s currently playing only to me and the continuity announcer – who could well be filling in a Sudoku – on Friday nights on BBC2. Friday nights? Well, I ask you. Gross idiocy on the part of the BBC, which placed a wildly cerebral period drama chock-full of British thespian hierarchy raining down dry bons mots on a Friday night. A scarecrow with one boiled egg for an eye could see Parade’s End is Sunday night, BBC1, 9pm, damp hair from a bath, comfy clothes, surrounded by Sunday supplements, mugs of tea and a half-hearted supper of cheese and crackers as one over-ate at lunchtime, type of TV. It’s Downton Abbey with a massive, complex brain. It’s Benedict Cumberbatch, Geoffrey Palmer, Rufus Sewell, Stephen Graham and Rupert Everett bumbling about in top hats being hit on by sexually-emancipated Suffragettes and blasted at by the Hun. It’s Miranda Richardson and Rebecca Hall and Anne-Marie Duff in hats and hobble skirts conducting oddly saucy affairs of the heart.

It’s Cumberbatch playing Christopher Tietjens in a huge, perplexing love triangle being jolly confused about it and staring into thin air for hours. Oh, the staring. Not since BBC1’s Birdsong have posh, emotionally numb people been filmed staring until their retinas become crispy while a viola plays a lot of minor chords to denote the unbearable state of being. I lap this sort of TV up. Give me buckets of the wondrous Sylvia Tietjens (Rebecca Hall) storming through drawing rooms full of startled maids shouting: “I will be in my room praying for death… or at least packing for it!” Or clandestine moments of wild and morally louche, Edwardian sex in private railway carriages or cartfulls of big-hatted busy-bodies passing by manor houses “for tea” but really intent on causing mischief with tittle-tattle. Sylvia Tietjens, incidentally, is one of the greatest roles ever written for women. The fact it took a man to do this while Austen or Bronte’s heroines are blithering irritants in bonnets fainting at the sight of light drizzle, I shall sulkily draw a veil over.

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(Source: independent.co.uk, via cumberbatchcollection-deactivat)

"The reason I fell in love with this character is because he’s got a profound sense of duty and honor and virtue about him, he’s a truly good man. He’s a Tory, but not in our version, our modern version of Toryism… it’s about duty and honor to the past, and to those above and below your station. Respect, but at heart what’s really good about him is that he lives by this code of conduct whilst the world is going mad around him, and although he suffers a great deal by doing that, and at times sees himself that it’s foolish, he’s true to his word and I think he has the most spectacular set of principles. I think if I lived half as principled a life as a man like Christopher Tietjens I could die happy."

Benedict Cumberbatch

The World of Parade’s End

(via twohundredtwentyone)

This is a very good description of the compelling protagonist in Parade’s End, Christopher Tietjens. He IS a profoundly good man who makes, for the reader or viewer of the BBC series, some very frustrating decisions. Decisions that cause him and the people he loves (and who love him) pain. The mini-series is a fine distillation of a 900-page tetralogy. I would add that it is a very challenging book, so you may find it more accessible in audio form. Also, non-Brits may need to brush up on their WWI history. You’ll want a dictionary handy, too. (Such a pleasure to find new words on the page!) Enjoy intrepid readers, enjoy.

(via leoradowling)

(Source: bbc.com, via leoradowling)


Damn Rebecca Hall and her brilliant acting

She’s made me feel sympathetic towards that bitch.


There’s a wishing well in the stable yard. They say it’s twice as deep as Groby tree is high. You can drop a penny in it and make a wish. Shall I tell you how long it falls? Well. I used to count as long as this: One… two… three… four… five… six… seven… eight… nine… ten.

Parade’s End (2012)

THIS SCENE. I know I wasn’t the only one who just melted.


There’s a wishing well in the stable yard. They say it’s twice as deep as Groby tree is high. You can drop a penny in it and make a wish. Shall I tell you how long it falls? Well. I used to count as long as this: One… two… three… four… five… six… seven… eight… nine… ten.

Parade’s End (2012)

THIS SCENE. I know I wasn’t the only one who just melted.

(via anindoorkitty)



More details from that round table interview which got largely misquoted before. I think this one is more correctly reported.


Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch returns to our television screens this week. Fresh from a stint in Hollywood filming Star Trek 2 and a period spent channelling Smaug the dragon for Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies, the British actor is taking on the lead role of Christopher Tietjens in BBC Two’s Parade’s End.

Digital Spy and other journalists caught up with Benedict to discuss his role in the five-part period drama, based on Ford Madox Ford’s novels, and got the scoop on his new stardom and his Hollywood experience.

Was it the chance to work with Tom Stoppard that attracted you toParade’s End?
“Yeah, because his output’s slowed a little bit in recent years, so yeah, it was a huge pull. I didn’t know the books, but I knew of Ford Madox Ford because of [1915 novel] The Good Soldier but then I started reading the books and that really drew me in. 

“I completely fell in love with Christopher Tietjens, the most adorable and long-suffering but virtuous character I think I’ve ever played. I really think he has many admirable qualities I’d like to siphon off into my life. 

“Tom was obviously a massive pull, but also Rebecca Hall, who I’ve worked with before, but not opposite on such a large scale. And then [director] Susanna White as well, and the fact that it’s HBO.

“Also, I do have a fascination with that era. It’s a very interesting part of English history and something we all seem to be slightly obsessed with now - there’s Birdsong and Downton and now this. 

“We’re living 100 years from where it actually began. No survivors can give us any evidence, nor will history other than what’s been recorded. So storytellers like to re-examine an era where there’s nobody alive to tell those stories anymore. People can’t tell us a story in an interview, so it’s quite nice to revisit it through a fictitious or dramatised account of reality.

“It’s 100 years on, yet I think there are a lot of similarities with today. Europe is falling apart. Parade’s End is about the death throes of aristocracy as told through the prism of this love triangle over the duration of the First World War. The war itself is of constant fascination to us, but it’s part of the series rather than the whole reason to it. It’s not likeBirdsong, which is very much a war romance. I just think it’s important to look at an era that’s beyond our living experience.”

There were reports that you had criticised Downton Abbey
“Yes, I was sort of quoted in the press out of context. All these people [from that show] laughed when they read it. I thought the second series sort of dropped off a bit at the end, but it’s still a great show that keeps you hooked. What we’re doing is not supposed to be compared to that.”

How would you describe the love triangle between the characters in Parade’s End?
“Sylvia (Rebecca Hall) is kind of the modern woman. It’s a terrible mismatch - Christopher sees her as damaged goods and is trying to do right by her and be kind and understanding of her appalling treatment of him, but really he’s kind of exacerbating it and killing her with his kindness. What she wants is to be treated sternly, and they’re always out of sync. That’s the tragedy of it. 

“And then Valentine (Adelaide Clemens) comes along in his life, who’s younger than him but has this incredible old soul, and has this incredible command of language. She can challenge him. She’s beautiful and promises something in the future for him. She’s exciting but forbidden fruit.”

Christopher is described as bulky in the novel, which clearly you’re not…
“Yeah, that’s what I said to Tom and everyone, ‘Why do you want me to play this part so badly?’ Obviously it’s an economical thing about bringing an audience from Sherlock, that was obviously part of it. But Christopher is a fat blonde Yorkshireman - I didn’t get it. I keep on looking at myself getting angry at the fact that I’m not fat enough! I had to eat myself into the role.”

Has shooting in Hollywood for Star Trek and other films changed things for you?
“Oh yeah. Everything kind of scales up. Your hours are more weird… you’re working harder to an extent. Star Trek was an action movie as well as a drama, so it involved a lot of training and I put weight on - I went up four suit sizes at one point. 

“It was hard work, but you’re paid to scale. The money with films is what directors get to play with, that’s what you really notice. [As an actor] you can get paid more for doing TV work than you can for films. 

“I could have made much more money if I’d stuck around doing plays than if I was in Star Trek. But you just get to play with bigger toys that no other schedule or budget would allow in a TV structure.”

You seem to be on a career high - are you ever worried that it might come to an end?
“No, I don’t think so. It hopefully won’t. Maybe this drama will be the death knell. People will go, ‘Is this really what Sherlock should be doing next?’

“But I’m very proud of it. I treat each job as a new experience. I’m not nervous of the work drying up. It’s been great to have back-to-back, well-received work.”

Do people treat you differently after the success of Sherlock?
“Yeah definitely. What’s quite nice is that they’re by and large an intelligent breed, so they’ve gone over my back catalogue and got why I’ve done what I’ve done and how I’ve done it. Many more of them have seen [2005 BBC mini-series] To the Ends of the Earth then would have watched it originally, so that’s nice.”

Is it strange becoming a recognisable face?
“Oh yeah, yeah. There’s some worrying behaviour. I worry for them, not for me. Any privacy in public is a hard thing to negotiate. The only thing that really pisses me off is people trying to surreptitiously take a photo of me with their phones. That really f**ks me off.

“It’s not just that I feel it’s invasive - it’s cowardly and pathetic. Just ask me if you really want a photograph. People’s response is ‘I’m a bit shy’ - well then don’t f**king take a photograph!”

Can you tell us about your experience on The Hobbit movies?
“I’m not really allowed to talk about it. But it was great, I had a very isolated time with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh.”

Is it technically the most challenging thing you’ve ever done?
“No, I don’t think so. It’s very freeing once you put the suit on, and you have to be free. Andy [Serkis] for all his brilliant work is playing a primate, something relatable to us. Whereas a serpent with cold blood who’s twice the size of the Empire State Building who lives in a mountain is harder to do that with! You have to lose your s**t on a carpeted floor and imagine yourself into it.”

Why do you think you’ve previously been cast in a lot of period dramas?
“I haven’t done period dramas back-to-back, or really anything back-to-back. You get asked to do what you’re most recently famed for, so I’m careful of not repeating myself. But I’ve got a long face… I look a bit weird… I suit period costumes, I guess!”

Parade’s End begins on Friday (August 24) at 9pm on BBC Two.


Very nice write up of Benedict Cumberbatch in the latest Hello! magazine, 27 August 2012.
high-res link: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m94jy58POK1qdojd4o1_r1_1280.jpg


Very nice write up of Benedict Cumberbatch in the latest Hello! magazine, 27 August 2012.

high-res link: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m94jy58POK1qdojd4o1_r1_1280.jpg




 “I have known Ben since he was a little boy and I couldn’t be fonder of him,” he tells me. “He has turned out to be a marvellous actor and I will certainly watch Parade’s End, which has a wonderful cast and, in Tom Stoppard, a brilliant writer.

“I am quite sure what Ben said has been taken out of context and do not at all reflect Ben’s real feelings. The popularity of Downton and Ben’s series Sherlock, and, hopefully, Parade’s End are all part of a surge of interest in television drama which can only be good news for all of us.”

Would he be willing to offer Cumberbatch a part in Downton? “I very much hope that we will work together in the future,” he says.


Note: Yes I know the Telegraph are actually being dicks in the article but Julian’s lovely comments are still worth posting.

(via cumberbatchcollection-deactivat)



Does anyone know how I”ll be able to watch Parade’s End online?

I have no idea if/when it will be coming to Canadian stations, and I’d love to start watching along on the 18th! (That’s the release date… correct?)

So if anyone knows how I would manage that — if it will be up on the BBC iplayer or…

I discovered this site when looking for an Olympics feed (I’m American and NBC is terrible). http://atdhenet.tv/  It streams live feeds of BBC1, BBC2 and a few other British channels.

Parade’s End will be on BBC2 on August 24.



Susanna White (Director) on the making of Parade’s End.

(via cumberbatchcollection-deactivat)


Galaxy Studios - music creation for BBC/HBO series Parade’s End

This is going to be amazing.