You can take the MP out of Westminster…But she’ll turn up in Oz

Nadine Dorries

From this…

The phrase “Ministerial Responsibility” is one I’ve heard banded about a fair few times this week and it’s not just because I’m an A-Level Politics student. Now I’m going to take a gamble and assume that most people reading this will think Nadine Dorries MP’s decision to abandon her Mid-Bedfordshire constituency in favour of three sweaty weeks in a jungle crawling with insects and, among other living things, press was a rashly taken one. But it was more than rash – and herein lies the problem; it was, quite frankly, a deluded act of utter madness.

For all Ms Dorries claims to be “connecting with the people”, “using the opportunity to raise issues on Abortion” or whatever her ridiculous excuses were, the simple fact remains that she has skipped her constituency, Westminster and her duties as both an MP and a Conservative Party Whip for her fifteen minutes of fame on the other side of the world – apparently without a care in the world for how she will be perceived once she returns to the shores of Blighty. I know I wouldn’t be particularly impressed if she was my MP; in fact I’d be livid.

In this single selfish act she has brought slurs upon MPs and the Conservative Party and angered a great many people. If there was a “Tory Rebel of the Year Award” it’d be hers hands down. Not so much of a compliment when calling your Party Leader (whom also happens to be your Prime Minister) a “Posh boy from Eton who doesn’t know the price of milk” and controversial views on Abortion are the way in which you went about securing said title. Even Louise Mensch, who caused her own mini media frenzy earlier this year on her decision to resign as Conservative MP for Corby following a decision to move her family to New York, spoke out against her former colleague’s actions, stating in her Guardian article “Nadine Dorries has demeaned the role of an MP”. For once, I agree with Mensch.

Nadine Dorries on I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!

…to this

The Diary of a Film-goer

I knew this would happen. I knew that once I was back in a daily 9-5 routine my blogging schedule would be scrapped in favour of meeting work deadlines and all of the other commitments that September never fails to bring. September has flashed by startlingly quickly and I can’t believe I haven’t posted since the fourteenth. I love writing (not that I’ve ever mentioned that before) and I am determined to make a special effort to keep posting regularly, so here we begin…

Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre

Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre

There aren’t many people who would be willing to go to an early morning showing at the cinema, especially not on a Saturday, a fact which a good friend and I discovered this past weekend on an excursion to see the new film adaptation of Jane Eyre. I can tell you from experience that if you are willing, early mornings are by far the best times to visit the cinema, and here’s why:

  • You can usually obtain some variation of an ‘early bird’ ticket which is cheaper than your standard ‘peak’ time one.
  • Rarely will there be more than ten people watching the same film as you are at that time of day – we were the first people in and so had the pick of the seats – which should equate to their being less chance of being disturbed whilst enjoying the film.
  • Due to the earliness of you showing the only people who will be willing to drag themselves from their beds to the cinema on a Saturday morning will be the hardcore film-goers, the type of people who abhor others who munch popcorn all the way through the film because they are their to enjoy the showing and not listen to somebody else’s munching during the climactic scene of the film.
  • You leave with the knowledge that you have already had your fill of ‘culture’ for the day and it isn’t yet lunchtime.
Judi Dench and Mia Wasikowska

Judi Dench and Mia Wasikowska

The film itself was excellent – really enjoyable despite many ups and downs and circumstances that seemed to change within seconds! Directed by Cary Fukunaga and adapted as a screenplay by Moira Buffini from the Charlotte Brontë novel the running time of 120 minutes was a feast for the eyes, the ears and the heart. Mia Wasikowska – known predominantly for her starring role of Alice in Tim Burton’s animated version of the classic Lewis Carrol novel in 2010 – plays Jane to Michael Fassbender’s Rochester, and both are supported plot-wise by Judi Dench’s Mrs Fairfax – a kindly, ageing housekeeper who gives companionship to the lonely Jane.

When Bertha – the mad, confined-to-the-attic wife of Rochester – first appeared, my instant reaction was that she was being played by Helene Bonham-Carter, in possibly her most wild role yet, and this is the woman who has played the Queen of Hearts (as in “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!”) and a Death Eater. Indeed. Alas, it was not to be as the casting director had evidently been searching for a HBC lookalike and found her in the form of Italian actress Valentina Cervi. The costumes were superb and the attention to detail of lace-collars which appeared to have been painstakingly constructed was  so very creditable.

Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender

Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender

If you get a chance, go and see it. It’s quite long (though in a good way) and there comes a point when you think they’re going to wrap it all up but in reality there’s still twenty minutes to go(!) but the landscapes, the costumes, the cast and the incredible script really are something to sit back, relax and enjoy. For another blogger’s perspective do have a read of Kate’s post about her perception of the film. On a tedious link (that being period drama!) has anybody been watching Downton Abbey? The new series is as lavish as I hoped it would be, despite WW1 being in full swing, and the only downside is the ridiculous amount of advertising breaks and their length which is what can be expected of channels such as ITV. Downton is one of the few non-BBC programmes I watch and I yearn for the show to be a BBC-made programme so as to allow me uninterrupted viewing of what is arguably one of the best programmes of our time!

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska

Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska

Great British Drama: Downton Abbey

The Crawley Sisters

The Maids of Downton

Apologies if the post title came across just a little too BBCish for your liking, but those three words are true to form if you cast a surreptitious eye over the television schedule for the coming months. Recently on the blog I’ve begun musing on other aspects of life apart from fashion, so forgive me if this post isn’t to your taste, but I really do appreciate decent television, especially if it involves fine acting and mouth-watering costumes. In my humble opinion, the BBC really do always come out on top drama-wise; maybe they just have the nack of finding the right script-writers and casting directors, or maybe I just favour their channels more due to the (thankful) lack of advertising breaks. However, there is one non-BBC programme I have fallen for so let’s kick of my first ‘Great British Drama’ post with that…

ITV’s Downton Abbey was always going to be a hit, a fact I already knew when I wrote my costume study of the first series post last October. Not many 7-episode period dramas can claim a (reportedly) six million pound budget and an exceptional cast and since its début last Autumn it has been labelled as “Gosford Park the second time around, only better”. The cast list certainly speaks for itself with Maggie Smith,  Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle,  Michelle Dockery, Joanne Frogatt and Dan Stevens to name but a few.

Even if you didn’t watch the first series that is no reason not to jump on the bandwagon now, especially once you’ve read my very brief synopsis: aristocratic family, The Crawleys – no it doesn’t sound exceptionally elite but we’ll live and let live –  reside in a huge stately home, Downton Abbey, and are painfully out-staffed by their array of maids, footmen, valets, butler and housekeeper. One of the main themes of the first series is the attempts to marry off eldest Crawley daughter, Lady Mary, to ensure that Downton will have an heir.

But that isn’t it, oh no. The tale of life upstairs and downstairs are weaved together making the show as much about the staff as their employers. Maggie Smith provides many entertaining on-screen moments – usually when she is baffled by a ‘modern’ concept. The moment when she demanded to be told, “The weekend?  What is a weekend?” was priceless. If you need even more persuading read seven reasons why series two of  Downton Abbey will be even better than series one – I implore you not to laugh!  The new eight-part series begins on on Sunday September 18th at 9pm on ITV1.

Coming soon, press office information about these series (previous posts about them in brackets)…

Upstairs Downstairs, Sherlock and The Hour!

Dan Stevens and Michelle Dockery

Jessica Brown-Findlay as Lady Sybil

Highclere - The Set of Downton Abbey