Sherlock Investigates Potential Russian Hack

This just in:

Not to be upstaged by the United States government, the BBC alleges that a hack into their system might be from Russian interference.

Oh really?

The extenuating circumstances: The Russian version of the final episode of this season’s Sherlock was leaked into Russia’s airwaves one day ahead of the scheduled air date last Saturday, 1/14.

Warning: No Spoilers!

In addition to investigating how its files were hacked and by whom, the BBC took special care to prevent viewers of the hacked episode from ruining the mystery for those who would be watching it when it was rightfully released.

Once producers realized that the episode was leaked early, they jumped onto twitter to appeal to those who have seen the episode not to reveal the ending to others. Here’s the tweet from Suevertue:

Russian version of TFP has been illegally uploaded.Please don’t share it. You’ve done so well keeping it spoiler free.Nearly there

Is that name a coincidence? Sue virtue? legally stand up to virtue?

Oh you crazy folks at the BBC.

Henry the 8th is back!

I’m in British TV mode. I just finished binge watching all seven seasons of BBC’s Foyle’s War, about an eccentric police detective during WWII. It was historic fiction. When I finished, I was bereft. I felt empty, but then…..

With a google search, I discovered the most wonderful news!


This is BBC’s adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s magnificent trilogy about Lord Thomas Cromwell, chief advisor to Henry VIII. I  read all three volumes. They’re fantastic. I felt like I was there, in the Tudor period.

The BBC series begins in the US on April 5th on PBS’ Masterpiece. It started in Britain last week, so I took advantage of the opportunity to read the British reviews well before it crosses the Atlantic. This 6-episode series dramatizes the first two volumes of the trilogy, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

Portrait of Thomas Cromwell in 1532 by Frans Holbein the Younger
Portrait of Thomas Cromwell in 1532 by Frans Holbein the Younger


It is an historic-fiction account of Cromwell’s life, based on five years of research, yielding possibly the most detailed information about Cromwell out there. His is a rags-to-riches story: he went from the son of a blacksmith to chief advisor to Henry VIII. Known to be evil, he was indeed a sly one. He used any means necessary to determine the weaknesses of practically everyone he knew. He then stored the information, and was ready with it when he needed to manipulate someone. It’s like storing cans of crushed tomatoes in the pantry: you take them out only when a recipe calls for it.

Author Hilary Mantel
Author Hilary Mantel

Can a rendition of this story do justice to Mantel’s novels? Of course they can! It’s British! Here are my reviews of reviews in two British newspapers:

The Guardian

Review by Sam Wolleston

Spoilers skimmable?  No! Don’t fall into the trap!! It goes along smoothly until SNAP! A spoiler bites you in the buttocks.
Bottom line: it’s fab:

Hilary Mantel adaptation is sumptuous, intelligent, event television.

The acting is superb, Wolleston says. The most well-known actor to American audiences is Homeland’s Damian Lewis, who plays Henry VIII.

etonPointless weird bias: Wolleston dedicates a little over a paragraph to make scornful remarks about the lead actors’ attending private schools:

“What do they know about power and privilege, and living by the Thames?” he asks after noting the private schools the two leads went to: Lewis attended Eton, a prestigious private school for boys, ages 13 to 18. He makes quite a stretch for Mark Rylance, who plays Cromwell: he “went to the University School (sic) of Milwaukie, private too, though he may not have paid as his father was a teacher. Boo all the same….”


Yes that’s a direct quote, and the whole sentiment is bizarre.

The Daily Mail

Review by Christopher Stevens

Spoilers skimmable? Yes indeed! Not many spoilers if any at all!
Bottom Line: It’s great! Rylance’s acting makes it that way. Cromwell is not respectful of his superiors, at times he’s downright derisive. We recognize that he’s being contemptuous, but the characters don’t. This adds humor to the story.

The Cromwell smirk
The Cromwell smirk

Without this “streak of humour,”  Stevens contends, “Wolf Hall couldn’t work on television.”

One problem: it’s so realistic that they use candles to light the sets up, and it is impossible to see anything. What’s more, during the days, the weather is grey, and it is also hard to see in the scenes that are outdoors.

Here’s an example, the caption is Stevens’:

" It was enough to make you shout: ‘For pity’s sake, forget about the authenticity – switch a flipping light on!’
” It was enough to make you shout: ‘For pity’s sake, forget about the authenticity – switch a flipping light on!’” (Stevens’ caption)


more light



Guess who's who? Henry VIII and Damian Lewis
Guess who’s who: Damian Lewis and Henry VIII