Monday, 11 August 2014

The Sands of Time

The Village returned to BBC1 last night for a second series, Peter Moffat's heartfelt and gritty ode to rural Derbyshire life in the early 20th century starring two of the very best actors working right now John Simm and Maxine Peake as the patriarch and matriarch of the Middletons, a struggling farming family beset by the age old problem of class ingrained penury. 

This second series in the epic decades traversing storyline transplants us some five years after the events of the first, in the 1920s. But who is this newcomer? This aquiline and imposing blonde figure, he of the rolling eyes, clipped delivery and sneering manner? 

Why it's only Julian Sands at his boo-hissable best as a cheating, bullying Tory peer and media baron called Lord Kilmartin. 

It's very rare to see Julian Sands in anything these days, so it's quite a surprise to see him here and in something so prominent and critically and commercially acclaimed as The Village.

Granted he's an acquired taste that's prone to ham, but I've always had a bit of a soft spot for him and his unusual acting style. He's certainly at home here and nowhere near as panto as one would expect, despite playing an evil bastardly toff whose credentials were never in doubt the moment he called a visiting fairground boxer known as 'Savage Africa' the N word (before fighting him in a fixed match that made him the winner and model of 'Heroic Britain') and branded young Bert Middleton - the hero of the saga - a cheat in an attempt to save his own wounded pride. He looks set to make the Middletons life a misery in this new series and its good to see a programme (immediately after Channel 4's wonderful The Mill) wear its socialist heart on its sleeve.

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