Thursday, 14 April 2011

Bryant and May

No, not a box of matches but (now) the names of a pair of elderly detectives in a series of excellent and eccentric murder mysteries by Christopher Fowler. While there's an undercurrent of gruesomeness in all the novels (Mr Fowler has also written horror stories), there's definitely a great affection for, and observation of, his characters. Perhaps the most enjoyable thing about the stories is the way they evoke the atmosphere of a mysterious and hidden London - uncovering things we didn't know about the capital and its often murky history: underground passages, buried rooms and convoluted crimes.

I'm re-reading The Victoria vanishes at the moment and it's struck me again that these stories are so tailor-made for TV that it's amazing that they haven't already been done. The only potential issue I can see with a series is that elderly actors are apt to die, giving the makers recasting problems. Can I make one request to any TV producer that might happen to read this - please remember there are other elderly actors than David Jason! I can see that he might seem ideal casting to some as the cantankerous Arthur Bryant, but we see quite enough of him on TV already. A better candidate (depending on budget) might be Albert Finney or Bernard Cribbins, and perhaps Tom Courtenay or John Challis as Bryant's colleague, John May.

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