“You’ll never know what you’ll uncover once you lift the lid.”


Hello again, Constant Reader. How are you? I am fine, thank you very much for asking.

Sorry, bit tired.

So tonight’s post is about Restless, a spy thriller in two parts shown on BBC1. Probably the best comparison I can make is to The Promise, the ITV1 series about the British army in Israel that was shown a few years ago.

OK, now I’ve written that down it doesn’t sound that similar at all. But there are points of comparison. Both feature a story told in diary form read by the descendants of the writer, which story impacts upon the present in some way. And both diary-stories are set in roughly the same era, the 1940s.

Sally Gilmartin is apparently a fairly normal, if somewhat paranoid, grandmother, until she hands her daughter Ruth a diary. The diary reveals that she is in fact Eva Delectorskaya, a spy for the British intelligence services during World War 2. Now she is in danger, and only one person can help her – the elusive Lucas Romer, also a veteran spy.

Thus begins a tale of True Love and High Adventure – oh, sorry, that’s The Princess Bride. Let’s just say Love and Moderate Adventure, then. Rufus Sewell is wonderfully enigmatic as a young Romer, although he later morphs into the considerably less enigmatic Michael Gambon (shame). The plot is nicely worked out, too – it’s a refreshing change from the blood-soaked shoot-outs that normally pass for spy stories, although there is a bit in the second part involving a pencil in the eye that you really don’t want to watch too closely if you’re squeamish. There are a couple of unanswered questions, though, bits of plot that don’t really make a lot of sense, and I guessed the ending about halfway through the first part.

Restless was, however, much better plotted than Merlin generally was, and even Doctor Who on a bad day. Shame it was only on for two episodes.


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