Dracula (the BBC’s 2020 take)

Well, having being pretty unimpressed with the extraordinarily dull and desperate War of the Worlds, and falling asleep (twice!) during the new year’s episode of Doctor Who, I wasn’t expecting too much from Dracula. I mean, it’s a well-worn story and given their recent form, I wasn’t sure the BBC was going to do it justice.

Turns out I was wrong. This was the most polished piece of dramatic writing I’ve seen from the BBC since Killing Eve, and I suspect there’s a good reason for that.

But before we start on the writing, let’s talk about the genius leads: Claes Bang and Dolly Wells.

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When Fortune N’tobe Fell from the Stars

If you glance over to the sidebar – that’s it; near the top, just after the recent posts section – you’ll notice that something has changed (aside from finally updating the icons for Apple Books).

Yes, it’s finally here: book number four. A novella (only 40,000 words or thereabouts).

I took a writing break after The Quisling Orchid and just focussed on short stories and reviews. Book 3 was an expensive effort in terms of time, brain space and money, so I thought I’d dial it back a bit.

Fortune started out as a collection of short stories about life in Soweto, something I could read to my mum while she was in hospital. Unfortunately, my mum didn’t recover away, so I didn’t want to carry on with the book.

A few people who’d read the unfinished version said they’d like to see how it ended, and hoped that I’d pick it up again, eventually. ‘Time’s a great healer, Dom.’

Well, they say that, but it doesn’t apply to everyone, so the book stayed in the drawer (metaphorically speaking; it actually stayed halfway down the tree in Ulysses) for a couple more years.

I think it was a combination of things that finally got me to dust it off (metaphorically speaking; I actually just opened the folder in Ulysses and started typing):

  1. Last July (2019) there was an incident in which a body fell from the undercarriage of a plane approaching Heathrow, so I sort of thought it was a story that needed to be told.
  2. I’d like to think my mother didn’t raise a son who didn’t finish something he’d started.

Besides, good writing is supposed to hurt, isn’t it?

War of the Worlds should have been better

Just finished watching the BBC’s new adaptation of the HG Wells classic, and I have to say I was left a little bit cold. When I heard that it was shot in just three parts, I was worried. Three parts didn’t sound like enough, but on the other other hand, I’ve seen two movie adaptations that managed to do a half decent job (Mmm. Just realised that I never reviewed the Tom Cruise outing) with less time to play with, so thinking about it, three parts, an hour each, should’ve been plenty.

When you’ve got only a few hours to tell a story of global devastation, then the best tack is to focus on a small group of people and see how the destruction of everything around them makes the stronger or breaks them apart. This worked very well for Tom Cruise, it didn’t work that well for the BBC. I think the main problem was that the group of people they chose to focus on just wasn’t that interesting.

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