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Connor Macgregor Reviews...Miniseries/TV Movies

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Connor Macgregor Reviews...Queer As Folk
Episode Seven


INTRO: A party fills the air as Queer As Folk airs its penultimate episode in the series, one that sets up an exciting finale.

SUMMARY: Stuart throws a lavish, Doctor Who-themed birthday party for Vince's thirtieth. However,determined to run Vince's life for him,he stirs it by asking Rosalie and then introducing her to Cameron, a meeting which does not go down well as the scales eventually drop from Rosalie's eyes and she hurriedly leaves. Stuart gets a call from Lisa. She is unhappy because Romey is going through with her marriage of convenience to Lance and she seeks Stuart's help in discrediting him,the reward being that he gets to see more of Alfie.

THOUGHTS: Episode Seven isn’t as good as the previous one, even though they have a fun doctor who themed birthday party in the episode’s first act. I love Aiden Gillen’s performance in this episode, as he begins to stir up trouble at his best friend’s party in a bid to wind down his boyfriend. So fun and Cameron, the boyfriend, falls for it so easily much to Stuart’s delight. I continue to love how gullible Nathan is too. I love also the subplot with the lesbian are as one is getting infuriated with the partner’s marriage of convenience to an asylum seeker and sets out to sabotage it which I can’t help but chuckle at.

RATING: 77% - B+





Connor Macgregor Reviews...Queer As Folk
Episode Eight

INTRO: The finale of the first series finally brings some stories to a head and proves to be both entertaining and leaving you eager for what will come next.

SUMMARY: Vince is terrified that Rosalie will out him at work and is surprised by her sympathetic response. He and Cameron attend a function organized by Stuart's PR company,where Vince sees Stuart being rebuffed by a man he is making a play for. Stuart is devastated by his rejection and starts drinking heavily. Vince tells Cameron he thinks Stuart is shallow and Cameron puts this to the test by asking that they become an official couple. Meanwhile Lance is arrested and faces deportation after fighting a Home Office official. Romey believes that Stuart has squealed on him but the informant turns out to be Nathan,who,having robbed his father's wallet,heads for London.

THOUGHTS: Episode Eight is the final episode in the first series of Queer As Folk. Despite this, I put this in miniseries because ‘series two’ is only two episodes in forty-five-minute runtimes. So really a ninety-minute film split in two. With that, we have some highlights in this amazing eighth episode. For one, we get the fallout of the Lance story which is spectacular to watch and see the lesbian mate get one over at her partner. It’s fun to watch, even if it is quite sad upon reflection. Stuart and Vince also reach some form of compromise with their relationship, following eight episodes going back and forth and having a ‘will they, won’t they’ situation. It ends on a stalemate, ready to be carried on at a future date. Episode Eight is great in that they tie up all the various loose ends that needed tieing up, and leaving open some fun cliffhangers that will carry on in the next two episodes.

RATING: 91% - A





Connor Macgregor Reviews...Queer As Folk
Series Two, Episode One


INTRO: After a series of eight episodes, and a barrage of media abuse, Queer As Folk returned for a two-part finale of sorts. The following two episodes round up the story and gives many of the characters an appropriate and satisfying conclusion.

SUMMARY: Nathan returns from London to live back with Janice. Each is now more understanding of the other and they enjoy laughing at his line in camp boyfriends though Christian is still giving him trouble at school. Vince has broken up with Cameron and is going for promotion at work. Hazel is nonetheless disapproving of the hold that Stuart has on him,especially when they all attend Vince's half-sister's wedding and Stuart gets Vince to do a slow dance with him to prove a point. Alexander also attends. His father is dying following a stroke but his parents cast him out on the discovery that he was gay and he feels there can be no reconciliation. Stuart's young nephew Thomas discovers his gay websites and threatens to out him unless he gives him money. Inevitably Stuart's reaction is to out himself to his now reconciled parents and as wordily as possible like the drama queen he is. His father is not approving and asks him to stay away from an upcoming family gathering. His mother however is ...

THOUGHTS: The final two episodes are essentially round ups of the story we have seen so far. It is not really a Series two, despite being advertised as such. More like a movie split in two parts, as both episodes are slightly longer at 45 minutes each. With that, the episodes are more loaded and events come harder than ever as Stuart, Vince & Nathan’s stories round up to a conclusion. Nathan now feels more comfortable in his gay persona, with his dress sense more flamboyant and his attitude more loose and less like a teenager. He feels more himself for the first time, and therefore less of a pest. Vince and Stuart are also good too, with a fantastic wedding sequence which sees the both of them in an interesting position. Out of that comes a story with Stuart who faces a crisis of himself as well as his future. It comes following one of his nephews discovering his true self, which turns into a game of blackmail. This in turn leads Stuart to finally come out to his parents which is quite the scene, but not abandoning Stuart’s character either.

RATING: 87% - A-





Connor Macgregor Reviews...Queer As Folk
Series Two, Episode Two


INTRO: The final episode of Queer As Folk is fun, thrilling and a satisfying end to the story.

SUMMARY: Vince is up for promotion to manager against toadying,newly-engaged Graham so Hazel and Bernard employ dirty tricks to secure him the job. Nathan,getting no support from a weak teacher against the homophobic jibes of Christian and his gang,finally stands up for himself but Alexander takes an over-dose after his mother has made him sign an agreement to cut himself out of his father's will. An irate Stuart takes explosive action but still makes it to Nathan's birthday party. However Stuart feels Manchester has no more to offer and considers moving to London. Vince suddenly asserts himself as a result of which the pair head West and a caption informs us of the happy endings for their friends and supporters with Nathan becoming King of the World.

THOUGHTS: We finally arrive at the culmination of the Queer As Folk story. After ten episodes, we reach some sort of conclusion with our three central characters. We finally reach a resolution with Stuart and Vince and their ten-episode dilemma. The episode itself really ups the tension till the very end, with me wondering how the story would conclude. There was also something I was expecting which ultimately did not happen which puzzled me slightly but then found it amusing. It involves the series Cucumber, a series I previously reviewed on this thread, also written by Russell T Davies several years later. With that, the ending of the series is very memorable and one that leaves you wondering more about the world and where the story goes beyond the ending. I enjoyed it, felt swept away, and fell even more in love with Manchester as a result.

RATING: 93% - A





Connor Macgregor Reviews...Honeymoon

INTRO: Time to do some shorts. And I can safely say that each one was broadcast on national television or a streaming service in some capacity. This is one of them.

SUMMARY: A newly married couple, en route to their honeymoon, stop at a service station in the middle of the night. When Zoran disappears to make a phone call and fails to return, Dawn begins to wonder just how well she knows her new husband.

THOUGHTS: Review wise, this is neither a miniseries or technically a TV Movie. It’s a short film that just happened to be broadcast on Channel 4. But I figured, sod it! It’s a one off, and it fits the criteria if I bend it slightly.

The short starts Emilia Fox, who is known for things like Silent Witness. Here, she plays a bride, and with that comes a wedding dress to don, which she does with effortless beauty. Throughout the short, the plot allows you to always be guessing and always be wondering about what is to happen next. Very quickly you feel a sense of deep uncomfort as the two main characters end up in a service station which is awkward for two newlyweds to be at.

From there, the tension slowly begins to heighten as the groom mysteriously vanishes, leaving a confused bride wondering what on earth has just happened. Emilia Fox’s character becomes much more on edge as the narrative unfolds, and with the surrounding background characters circling round her in a way, it only adds to an evolving and building tension. It culminates somewhat in a very dream-like scene, in which Emilia Fox has a moment that causes her to have some sort of out of body/dream-like experience. It’s small but significant none the less.

The downside for me was the ending in a way. It’s very anticlimactic, and one which left a real sense of wanting more from me. I was unsure why the short ended on the note that it did, and I didn’t really know what to take away with it. Sure, the final shot is somewhat mysterious but then also quite annoying, as I as a viewer wanted some form of resolution, and was just left with more questions. I wanted to have a better idea of what the groom was doing? Why he disappeared? What were the secrets he was hiding?

The wedding dress is lovely and a unique classic design with long sleeves and a large veil over her hair. It’s very bold and truly stands out good and bad within the service station. Emilia Fox truly does look gorgeous in it.


RATING: 59% - B-





Connor Macgregor Reviews...The Stalls Of Barchester

INTRO: Much like Whistle and I'll Come To You, this is another ghost story that the BBC adapted in teh 70s, setting a pattern every christmas for a ghost story during the festive times.

SUMMARY: A scholar, Dr Black (Clive Swift), is engaged in cataloging the collection of the library of Barchester Cathedral. He is finding the work heavy going as there is little of any real interest within the collection and the librarian is proving less than helpful. However, the librarian and Dr Black discover a box of documents pertaining to a former Archdeacon of the Cathedral. Black begins reading the diary of Dr Haynes, an ambitious cleric who finds his promotion to the position of Archdeacon blocked by a geriatric incumbent who seems like he will never vacate the position. The impatient Haynes (Robert Hardy) seems to conspire to hasten the Archdeacon's death and is duly appointed Archdeacon. However, his diary reveals that once in post Haynes becomes increasingly disturbed as he is plagued by unnerving events both within the Cathedral and his own home.

THOUGHTS: It’s a ghost story from the 1970s adapted from an old short story. The setting is a church, which can be creepy for some. The story is very simple. A vicar stays in a house, which he soon discovers has a very eerie sense to it as he stays there longer. The story is told from a diary perspective, as two scholars read it over and reflect on what is being written. The film is well done, with the psychological aspect of it really well played with clever camera shots, and excellent sound editing that invites fear and the unknown. The climax is sudden, yet built up quite nicely. Building and building to something very good and thrilling, and then strikes the dagger of an ending which puts the chill in the ghost story. I liked the performances enough to convince me that something terrible was coming for the central lead. There is always this reserve about him, and he isn’t squeaky clean in this story at all. When it ends, you are left wondering more about the myth and who else may fall into its trap.

REVIEW: 62% - B





Connor Macgregor Reviews...A Warning To The Curious

INTRO: A Warning To The Curious really amps the thrill and fear factor that these BBC Ghost Stories are letting out.

SUMMARY: An amateur archaeologist, Mr Paxton (Peter Vaughan), travels to the coastal Norfolk town of Seaburgh. His research has uncovered an old Anglo-Saxon legend telling of three fabled crowns that protect England from invasion. One is said to have been lost in a war, a second lost to the sea - but the third is thought to be hidden somewhere near Seaburgh. Paxton checks into a local inn where, despite the suspicions of the locals, he hears that another archaeologist searching for the crown was found dead more than a decade ago. His inquiries lead him to the grave of a local man, William Ager who was said to be the last of his line and a guardian of the crown. Paxton goes to search the woods near Ager's former home but his excavations will unearth something more than the fabled crown.

THOUGHTS: Compared to The Stalls Of Barchester, A Warning To The Curious is a more dramatic and juicy story to enjoy. A plot that sparks a bit more mystery and intrigue, and an interesting tale to watch unfold. The setting is East Anglia which is unusual, but somewhat fitting as it has quite an eerie and unusual location to go to. When watching any shots on the beach, it is anything but joyful as it builds into the anxiety of not only the central character, but the audience as well. The acting here is strong, with one character crossing over from The Stalls Of Barchester as he is embroiled much more into an intense situation with another character. You become very convinced of the horror that is unfolding on screen, and the build up of it really manages that tension successfully. A returning character from The Stalls Of Barchester is the character of Dr Black, who has a much bigger role this time and really gets into the nitty gritty of the story. As the running time moves on, the drama truly intensifies further with thrills and horror building, with a climax that is very shocking and full of juicy twists. Finally, the final scene is one that leaves a very eerie and chilling feeling as the credits roll.

RATING: 86% - A-





Connor Macgregor Reviews...Philharmonia
Episode One


INTRO: A new miniseries to watch and one with a pretty cool and clever story. Oh, and It's French too. I do me the french arts.

SUMMARY: Helene Barizet's first act as new conductor is to choose Selena Riviere, the youngest musician, to take over as concertmaster. With musicians rebelling, what will happen at her first concert?

THOUGHTS: The story is one that really grabbed. Interesting and playful and juicy. The idea of a mystery and power dynamics in a setting arguably so harmless like a opera is creative. The lead female is a complex and upfront character. Very blunt, very feminist and doesn’t mess around. She enters the story taking on an established group, set in their ways and prepares to make bold changes without the fear of being taken down. She throws all her faith in a young new violinist in which an intriguing relationship begins to build between the two of them. The subplots are also very intriguing with a mixture of political and personal plots bubbling under the surface. This all leads to a final sequence which is incredibly well directed and edited, and makes a strong impression of the viewer, whilst setting the story in motion for the next five episodes.

RATING: 93% - A





Connor Macgregor Reviews..Philharmonia
Episode Two


INTRO: Following the excellent start to the miniseries, Episode Two goes further with the mystery, and really builds up an intriguing conflict.

SUMMARY: The flooding is a serious threat to the orchestra's future, and Hélène is confronted with a face from her past. Meanwhile, rumors about her husband's affair and her mother's death circulate.

THOUGHTS: The way the characters are all being juggled in this episode is really well done, with a mixture of intriguing in depth characters with secrets, agendas, and dillemmas. We are also introduced to some new characters as well, allowing to take the story in new directions. Helene is now dealing with new problems with her husband involved in infidelity as well as growing pressures from many corners of the orchestra. There is also an obsession revealed which really makes the story more intriguing. You also have some revelations coming to light with the character of Leopold, and the flute guy. There is also a good cliffhanger which really builds up the story further.

RATING: 85% - A-





Connor Macgregor Reviews...Philharmonia
Episode Three


INTRO: Episode Three resumes where Episode Two ended but breaks the story into new areas and plays with emotion and perspective.

SUMMARY: The mysterious death of a musician has massive aftershocks. Léopold believes that Hélène is responsible for the death. And Peter takes an important step.

THOUGHTS: Helena’s paranoia begins to build, and becomes really enticing to watch. Following the death of one of the orchestra members, suspicion is rife and Helene is highly judged as a result. Situations start to change and a tribute performance is conducted which is quite moving to watch, and really adds some poignant sweetness to the episode. We begin to find out more about Selena’s past which really makes her character more intriguing and edgy to watch. I think this episode is much more character led than the previous two, yet also moves the story forward quickly into new conflicts. There is a real insight into the personal lives of various characters and their internal emotions towards other characters and several plot moments in the story. The final scene is an interesting one to watch, as it very much mirrors the first scene in episode one.

RATING: 83% - A-





Connor Macgregor Reviews...Philharmonia
Episode Four


INTRO: Episode Four really amps up the suspence and mystery of the story, with an ending that really raises the stakes.

SUMMARY: Taking advantage of a fainting spell by Hélène, Léopold replaces her. Musicians threaten to strike, Rafaël threatens to withdraw funding, and Hélène fears she is a danger to those close to her.

THOUGHTS: There is a new turn following the last episode in the story. The character of Selena is now developing a more reckless and darker streak, combining that with Helene becoming more erratic and out of control given the speculation around her illness. A real intense scene comes when there is a fire in Helene’s apartment, which may or may not be apart of her mental health. It really elevates the mystery and makes you speculate whether Helene is really ill or not. There is also a strike from the orchestra which pisses off Leopold massively. As the story continues, I am starting to divide up the characters more on who I like and dislike given how arcs have developed and the story has progressed so far. The final ten minutes of the episode really amps up the drama of the story, with revelations and a twist that takes the story in a new direction.

RATING: 88% - A-





Connor Macgregor Reviews...Philharmonia
Episode Five


INTRO: Helene is on a hunt. Trying to find the true culprit. Yet once they are revealed, the true danger will commence.

SUMMARY: Hélène's father has offered her reassurance, so she is determined to fight on and to expose her enemies within the Philharmonia.

THOUGHTS: The mystery that has been central for the entirety of the miniseries now takes a new turn, with suspects now being listed off by Helene as she attempts to get to the bottom of this deadly situation for her. As a viewer, you are left guessing at everyone around her, including her close family who may not be as innocent as they seem. Everyone really has a motive towards Helene, therefore you are left pretty hooked throughout the episode as suspects narrow themselves down further. The climax of this episode is terrific where you find out who the culprit is, and ultimately the danger not just Helene but those closest to her are in. The final scene is great when you see Helene digging through the culprit, and come to the realisation of what is going on. It makes the final episode very very gripping.

RATING: 92% - A





Connor Macgregor Reviews...Philharmonia
Episode Six


INTRO: The Finale of Philharmonia is an exciting and epic end and signifies how good for me this miniseries has been to watch.

SUMMARY: Selena has serious problems and Helene goes to Selena's mother to find out about her own past. But time is running out as the final concert is looming, so Hélène must play her last card.

THOUGHTS: The miniseries has been building to a fascinating set up, in a setting which wouldn’t be the go to one for this type of story. Yet, it is fresh and original. The orchestra setting and how it is utilised is well done throughout the story. In this finale, we learn more about Selena and her true persona coming to light. Her actions create a really scary situation for several characters in the episode. Therefore, a trap is set up in order to capture Selena and end her reign of terror. Events then result in a beautiful and powerful act which centres both Helene and Selena in gorgeous fashion. With that said, the outcome is a bit of an easy way out for Selena, and would have preferred myself a different direction. The final scene is a nice one, very fitting and and a good end to an epic but fun story to watch.

RATING: 94% - A





Connor Macgregor Reviews...It's A Sin
Episode One


INTRO: Russell T Davies's has a new drama released, and therefore like all others, I felt compelled to watch and review. RTD returns to LGBT subgenre, and this time tackles the epidemic of AIDS in the 80s.

SUMMARY: September 1981. The lives of five friends converge in a flat together in London. Roscoe runs away from home when he learns his father intends to take him back to Nigeria. Ritchie Tozer, who has not come out to his parents, pursues his dreams of being an actor with his friend Jill. Colin begins a sales apprenticeship at a Savile Row tailor, where he is befriended by Henry Coltrane. Coltrane and his partner mysteriously fall ill and die of rare cancers/

THOUGHTS: Like all RTD stories, Episode One sets up our gang for the whole of the story. The way it`s done here is in stages, having several minutes focused on establishing each one’s situation. Each are quite different, from different backgrounds, and facing some sort of prejudice whether its quiet or very brash and in their face. The central character of the story though is Olly Alexander as he is the most vocal and the one whose story is centred mainly around more than others. He manages to go to London and befriend a new social circle which allows him very quickly to break out of his shell and become his true self in this new world of the capital. Portraying a maternal figure to the boys is Jill, played by Lydia West, returning from her role in Years and Years, Russell T Davies’s last drama. Here, she is much more glowing and gorgeous in this drama, with a persona of love, nurture, and warmth. In this episode, there is a strong guest role from Neil Patrick Harris which is a role quite different to what Neil Patrick Harris has tended to go for in his career. It is much more reserved and ultimately is a role that sets up the terror that is to come in this story. The second major character to follow is that of Colin Morris-Jones. He is a much more nervous character than that of Ritchie. He is more reserved yet as eager to search for new experiences, which leads him to cross paths with Neil Patrick Harris’s character. Lastly, there is Roscoe, who is a lovely young man yet in a very hostile religious family. His first scene is a great one, where he defiantly walks out on his family in the pouring rain, with his head held high. The final thing to discuss is the Pink Palace which is the main setting to this story. It becomes a place of refuge for these characters, a safe space of fun and love, as well as the characters main home for the duration of the story.

RATING: 83% - A-





Connor Macgregor Reviews...It's A Sin
Episode Two


INTRO: Continuing the story of It's A Sin where the AIDS virus begins to pick up awareness, and brings to light some terrible behaviour of the families of those who were slain by the disease.

SUMMARY:
WARNING: "Summary" spoilers below
December 1983. Despite education outreach by AIDS activists, Ritchie remains in denial and spreads conspiracy theories and AIDS denialism. An old friend, Gloria, hides after falling ill and asks Jill to secretly buy his groceries. Jill struggles as she worries the illness is infectious and starts to over clean and sanitise. Gloria's illness gets worse and his hostile family brings him back to Glasgow, where he soon dies. Colin is sexually harassed by his boss on a trip to New York and is subsequently fired after his boss sees publications on AIDS that Jill had requested. Jill tries but fails to get the men to realise the risks of casual sex.


THOUGHTS: Episode two flash-forwards to 1984, where the central characters have settled into a nice groove, enjoying the life of the capital, as well as the company of other bedfellows. However, one of the friends, Gregory has begun to decline in health, which is mirrored by the silent spread of the AIDS virus. With that it comes the featuring of tough scenes of bigotry from other non-gay characters, especially from the family of Gregory himself. It also comes from Colin and his job, in which what was once a place of solitude, comfort and aspiration, quickly turns on him and he is turfed out without little explanation. That being said, he does get to go to New York in this episode, which is depicted as a slightly more grittier look than other shows tend to go towards. The way AIDS is approached in this series draws parallels almost to as of this writing the current Covid-19 pandemic, with its scenes of relentless scrubbing and social distancing with certain characters, as well as the scepticism also from certain characters such as Ritchie at first scoffing at the mere idea of a Gay illness. By the end of the episode, you begin to get a sense of the slow awareness of HIV, as well as what victims’ families would do to their belongings and memory, as the eerie final scene depicts quite painfully.

RATING: 78% - B+





Connor Macgregor Reviews...It's A Sin
Episode Three


INTRO: This episode is widely seen as the turning point of the story, in which the AIDS virus really begins to spread and take hold on the gay scene. It also ends in heartbreaking fashion.

SUMMARY:
WARNING: "Summary" spoilers below
March 1986. Colin finds work in a print shop and volunteers as an AIDS activist along with Jill. Ritchie begins a relationship with another actor but is forced to confront the reality of AIDS. Colin is diagnosed with AIDS and is locked up in a hospital by the Public Health Act, 1984. His mother and friends watch in horror as he suffers rare neurological symptoms caused by progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. A one-night stand leads Roscoe to a profitable relationship with a closeted Tory MP. With the help of a lawyer, Colin is released from the Welsh hospital and brought to London to be cared for on a unit where many other men are suffering from AIDS. Ritchie, Jill, Ash and Roscoe visit Colin, but his condition worsens and he dies. Everyone is heartbroken by the loss and it prompts those who were close to Colin to take the HIV/AIDS test.


THOUGHTS: By episode three, the epidemic is slowly building and eventually the central characters are becoming more aware of the looming threat towards them. You see Jill becoming more active, working on hotlines and being a person of solace of those victims slowly declining. The character of Colin becomes the central focus in this episode, as he comes into contact with the disease and undergoes a torturous and unpleasant decline in ways that were very educational and unknown to me at the time. It was an informative way at looking at some of the lesser-known symptoms of AIDS, which are just as horrifying as the things I was already aware of as a viewer. You also discover how it happaned and how it became something so simple and basic, that viewers initially did not register beforehand. The emotion by everyone else around his illness is fascinating watching, at how raw and unexpected it is and how it opens the eyes of the more skeptic characters to what is really about to happen to them. I also really love the twist at the end which explains how Colin got sick and how it ties into episode one. At the beginning of the episode, Ritchie is still pretty oblivious and skeptical about the AIDS virus, that is until he enters a key relationship that changes everything when he discovers that he himself maybe infected with the AIDS virus. A mole seen on his partner's back is the game-changer for him, and by the episode's end, his future is very ominous and uncertain. With Roscoe, he ends up having a fun encounter with a Parliamentary Assistant, which in turns leads him to meet an MP and a career path that could set him onto very aspirational places down the line.

RATING: 87% - A-





Connor Macgregor Reviews...It's A Sin
Episode Four


INTRO: Episode Four really brings home the virus now and has all the characters united as the virus spreads rapidly across the country.

SUMMARY:
WARNING: "Summary" spoilers below
March 1988. Ritchie is diagnosed with AIDS and goes home to the Isle of Wight where he struggles to confide in his family. He speaks with an old friend and decides to return to London, vowing to fight the disease. Ash is ordered to censor the school library to comply with new law Section 28. Roscoe takes a personal stand against Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as protests begin against pharmaceutical companies who are profiting off the disease.


THOUGHTS: It begins with the infamous advert, the one narrated by John Hurt with the tombstone. Still chilling now so many years later. Richie's anxiety in this episode really builds here, and following an incident when filming Doctor Who, Ritchie is confirmed to be ill. We are also introduced for the first time Jill's family, in which the mother is the real life Jill which is a lovely and fitting tribute. Roscoe is also moving on up through the Houses Of Parliament, however a change of heart occurs which leads to a spectacular moment involving Mrs Thatcher's tea. There are also funeral scenes in this episode which are raw and presents no true right side in the situation. There's also a funny moment with an old man and his cane which I won't spoil. The closing confrontation at the picket protest is really fun, allowing Ritchie his moment in the spotlight with the episode's closing remarks. Ritchie's subplot in this story allowed him the chance to return to The Isle Of Wright and make peace with a boy he previously knew and perhaps loved. It was all very final and very solemn.

RATING: 85% - A-





Connor Macgregor Reviews...It's A Sin
Episode Five


INTRO: The finale of It's A Sin is a poignant yet devastating episode which cements just how brutal and cruel the AIDS pandemic really was.

SUMMARY:
WARNING: "Summary" spoilers below
November 1991. Ritchie's condition worsens and other friends continue to die. Ritchie dreams of returning to the stage and insists on chemotherapy when he is diagnosed with lymphoma. Ash and Ritchie confess their feelings for each other, and Ritchie's parents finally discover the truth and take him home to the Isle of Wight. Jill and Roscoe follow, but are denied the opportunity to say goodbye to Ritchie before he dies. Jill confronts Ritchie's mother for making him live in shame. After heading back to London, Roscoe goes home to see his parents and Jill visits the hospital to support a lonely man dying from AIDS. The ending shows a flashback to Ritchie and his friends enjoying their time together, before the AIDS pandemic hit.


THOUGHTS: The finale is a damn emotional affair, with Ritchie's illness unfortunately taking a toll on him by the time we get to 1991. And once it all comes out, the parents of Ritchie descend and discover what is really happening. And from there we get two very powerful performances both from Keeley Hawkes and Shaun Dooley, especially from Keeley Hawkes. From there, we see the harsh divide between Ritchie's family and friends as well as the raw bigotry and hatred that comes out as a result. There is also to note an emotional but loving christmas dinner scene and how far these characters have come throughout the story and where they have ended up. The final scene is a very sweet ending, although poignant given the amount of loss that has transpired. Overall, It's A Sin is a great emotional series that will give audiences an idea of another pandemic. One that wasn't as universal, but still global and devastating. Whilst I think Russell T Davies has made better shows in his past, this is certainly worth the attention and deserving of the success.

RATING: 92% - A





Connor Macgregor Reviews...Murdered By My Boyfriend

INTRO: This is a dark drama which really opens up the traps of a controlling relationship and what it can ultimately lead to.

SUMMARY: At a party teen-ager Ashley meets the older Reece, whom she finds handsome and charming with the ability to make her feel special. They start dating and, whilst it is apparent that he is pathologically jealous and possessive, the naïve young girl initially finds it reassuring that he cares for her alone. However when she is pregnant he viciously hits out at her, later apologizing in floods of tears and begging forgiveness. Ashley assumes that it was her fault for antagonizing him but his violence continues and he becomes ever more controlling. She decides to leave him but he is not the sort of boy to take rejection lightly and tragedy results.

THOUGHTS: This is without a doubt a very deep and powerful drama, tackling an issue which has now become ever more relevant in today's society. It's a tough subject matter, and as guessing by the title, it does not have a happy ending. We'll start with Georgina Campbell who plays Ashley and gives such a brilliant performance. So brilliant that it ended up winning her a BAFTA for Best Actress the year it came out. Her arc is one of losing all power and control in her relationship, and ultimately at the end, her life. In contrast you have Royce Patterson who plays Reece, a very vioent, intimidating controlling man who strips Ashley down slowly and surely. There are some shocking scenes in the drama which open up the abuse and how sick and horrifying it becomes. There is one moment in a shop which just comes out of nowhere, and is one of the most shocking things I've seen in TV. Regarding the control, it is something that starts very small, such as critique of clothing and activities, and then it really builds and builds and ultimately strips Ashley of any self worth and identity as a result. There is however a brief moment of hope in the drama for Ashley, which sadly ultimately comes crashing down in the end when pressure boils over her. The ending is dark and terrifying and one that will hopefully allow audiences to reflect and think about what a good relationship should look like, and what a bad one could ultimately lead to.

RATING: 100% - A+





Connor Macgregor Reviews...The Diary Of Anne Frank (2009)
Episode One


INTRO: We are all familiar with this story to some degree or another, as well as the fateful fate of most of the people in the story. Yet, there were things I was unaware of

SUMMARY:
WARNING: "Summary" spoilers below
The series begins in June 1942, in wartime and Nazi occupied Amsterdam. Annelies Marie Frank, a teenage Jewish girl, is celebrating her 13th birthday - amongst her birthday presents, she is given a red diary. Days later, call up papers arrive for her 16-year-old sister Margot and her parents, Otto and Edith, decide to hasten their plan to go into hiding to ensure that the family does not get separated.

The next morning, 6 July 1942, the Franks head to Otto's pectin and spice company. They proceed up to a Secret Annex at the back of the building. Only the trustworthy office staff, such as Miep Gies, know of their existence and have agreed to help them survive. In the annex they must obey strict rules, remaining completely silent during working hours. Otto and Edith sleep in one room, with Margot and Anne next door in another. At the very top of the building is a disused attic for storing food. This soon becomes Anne's getaway, as she is able to gaze outside at a chestnut tree and the tower of the Westerkerk.

At first, Edith and Margot find the confinement hard to bear, while Otto and Anne sew material together to make black-out curtains. They are soon joined by their Jewish friends Mr and Mrs van Daan and their teenage son Peter. Their arrival liven things up, but also brings tension, especially since Peter brought his pet cat. She continues writing her diary.


THOUGHTS: The opening scene in the episode is quite an eerie one. The walk The Frank family do through the streets of occupied Amsterdam really gives you a taste of the fear that has surrounded them, the oppresion that is battling down upon them. Anne Frank's voiceover throughout the series is easy and sweet, faint and not very aggresive which I think plays perfectly to the situation they were in. Ellie Kendrick here is really good, naturally innocent but also perfectly capturing a girl comign of age, just in one of the worst times imaginable. In general, The Frank family is full of fantastic acting talent. Margot Frank has Felicity Jones before her big breaks came through. Iain Glen as the father Otto Frank long before Game Of Thrones, and then Tamsin Greig as Edith Frank long before Episodes. For the first episode, everything feels very downbeat with not much really happening aside from the family settling into the hiding space. I get the feeling that the novel is being chopped up into sections, which explains the half hour running time. When in the hiding space, you definitely get the sense of claustrophobia within the space and how when other families come in, everyone is very squeezed and mashed together which can often be an awkward situation. What I also admired about Anne Frank was how hopeful she was at a protagonist, always looking optimistic when needed be, but then at the same time descending into very teenage behaviour.

RATING: 65% - B