Thursday, 25 September 2014

Television Programmes for Vintage Lovers

Every year in the UK we are treated to programming that reflects a whole range of vintage eras, far beyond Downton Abbey.  (Though now it's moved into the 1920s I've started to get into it, despite having missed the first few seasons!)

Here's my roundup of what's worth watching:

1. Cilla
A three part drama on ITV about Cilla Black's early singing career in the pulse of Liverpool's music scene in the early 1960s.  It's sympathetically done, with a very believable leading lady (Sheridan Smith) and Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard also does a fantastic job as Bobby, Cilla's Road Manager.  The second episode was on Monday this week, but you've got about another 3-4 weeks to watch all of them on ITV Player, and I highly recommend it.


2. Crimes of Passion
Swedish crime drama set in the 1950s, based on books by Maria Lang.  Mim over at Crinoline Robot has already mentioned this series and its fashions and interiors, so do please hope over to her blog and have a look, there are some great screen shots.  As it was on BBC4, past episodes are only on catchup for a week, but do remember they're available online for 4 weeks after they're screened - as of this week, only the first episode is no longer available.  You will get up to speed quickly if you want to delve straight in, as each episode stands alone in terms of crime plot, and all you need to know is that Puck and Eje are married, but that there's some sexual tension between Puck and Christer, the detective.


3. Masters of Sex
Another wonderful Welsh actor, Michael Sheen, taking the lead in a late 1950s era drama about researchers battling to get recognition for their controversial work.  It's about relationships, as any drama based on sex generally is, but has lots of frankly shot scenes, so is not for the faint-hearted.  I love the leading lady, played by Lizzy Caplan (pictured below), and she has a great collection of wiggle dresses to boot.  Past episodes are available to watch online for around 3 weeks after each episode has screened.


If that's not enough for you to be getting on with this Autumn and Winter, I'll run through some more choices, that you can get on DVD.  Last year, my absolute favourite was the marvellous 1930's drama 'Dancing on the Edge' (available on Amazon) with Joanna Vanderham, who also starred in another BBC production, 'The Paradise' - an Edwardian set programme which confused my Baby no end when we started watching 'Mr Selfridge' as well, as they're both set in shops and have a dark-haired leading man of similar build.  ('The Paradise' boxset is also on Amazon, and ITV's 'Mr Selfridge' is there too).  I also watched 'The Village' (here on Amazon), set in a farming town at the time of WWI, and while it was well done, it was quite depressing and gritty, with some weirdness too that I found a bit disturbing.  I think I'll give the next series a miss.

Have you seen any of these programmes?  Have I missed out anything that you think fans of vintage eras would enjoy?


  1. I have to say I love all the programmes you mention, although I haven't watched Crimes of Passion yet. However, after reading Mim's review of it I really want to. I absolutely adored Dancing on the Edge and have watched it about 3 times already! I know a lot of people didn't like it but I felt it had an edge that other shows like Downton just don't have.

    1. I'd love to watch DOTE again, it was a fantastic series and yes it did have an edge to it. x

  2. Peaky Blinders is due to restart soon, and I'm very much looking forward to that. That's a different side of the 1920s, Britain's industrial heartlands and gansters, and the Nick Cave/White Stripes/etc soundtrack might not be to everyone's taste (though I love it).

  3. I've been watching Cilla - I wasn't expecting much/anything but it's been brilliant! Sheridan Smith has been great and her outfits have been to die for. The costumes make it worth watching in itself. I've been wanting to see Masters of Sex for ages - it's definitely on my list! CC x

  4. Hope you have had a lovely summer x ooh there are some great things on at the moment and this is such a nice time of year to get cosy and catch up on tv. Obviously being a Scouser I've enjoyed Cilla and loved seeing lots of shots of Liverpool in the background. My granddad owned and ran a massive antiques and collectors centre in the 70's and 80's and it's been sweet to reminisce as it was based near to the Cavern! x

  5. I want to see Masters of Sex so bad. It looks awesome, and I love Lizzy Caplan. I know you probably didn't mention Call the Midwife because everyone probably knows all about it already, but it is such a great show. I just finished season 2, just in time to jump into the new season that just became available on Netflix.

    1. Jessica, I'd completely forgotten about Call the Midwife!! Another great series, though I have to suspend my phobia of childbirth to enjoy it and frequently have to hold a cushion in front of my face...x

  6. I thought 'Cilla' was great!! Sheridan Smith shines out in a deserving role, she suits being a red head too! :) I have been missing out on Crimes of Passion but i'll be looking that one up, top tip! :) x

    1. Isn't she great? Will be looking out for her in other stuff x

  7. Thank you so much for sharing! I'm such a lover of Downton Abbey but Zi didn't know the others! What about "Call the Midwife"?
    Coco et La vie en rose / Bloglovin / Facebook


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