Today's Joanna Page

Today’s Joanna Page: Making Waves

This one was supposed to be easy. This was supposed to be brief: I said so, last time. You see – and there are going to be a lot of naval puns during this one, so brace yourself – Making Waves pretty much sunk without a trace.

After years in development hell and after being rescheduled four times, this ITV flagship drama emerged onto our screens in the summer of 2004, opposite Supernanny. Sort of Soldier, Soldier but featuring the Royal Navy (hence its nickname Sailor, Sailor), it depicted the arrival of a new captain – played by ex-EastEnders psycho, Scottish actor Alex Ferns – on board the fictional frigate HMS Suffolk, and his attempts to make it sea-ready, all to the backdrop of the relationships of the crew and various exciting naval events, such as piracy, illegal immigrants, smuggling and explosions.

With £5 million in budget and the might of legendary producer Ted Childs (Lewis, Inspector Morse, Soldier Soldier, Sharpe, Kavanagh QC) behind it, there were high expectations in some quarters, but after just three episodes, falling ratings meant it was cancelled. Despite there already being three more episodes in the can, ITV never repeated it or showed the remaining episodes.

Joanna Page as Rosie Bowen in Making Waves

There was a DVD of the show, but only ever 2,500 or so were pressed and they were mainly sold to the Navy. You can’t get it from Amazon; you can’t find it on eBay. And here’s the only publicity still of our Joanna Page, who played new rating, Operating Mechanic Rosie Bowen, that appears to have survived online. 

So I thought this was going to be brief, since I couldn’t really say much about it. As I said, easy.

But then I found out that someone had uploaded the whole series to YouTube, so meticulous journo that I am, I had to watch the whole thing – you can, too, if you hang around to the end of this entry.

And I have to say, despite a shaky start, it was actually really enjoyable (although typically, mainly during the cancelled episodes), has possibly one of the most exciting, hardware-based episodes of anything ever made for British TV – and more importantly for Today’s Joanna Page, has her only outing so far as ‘action heroine’.

In fact, I’m quite cross – angry even – that it was cancelled.

Continue reading “Today’s Joanna Page: Making Waves”

Today's Joanna Page

Today’s Joanna Page: David Copperfield

Today’s Joanna Page is David Copperfield, in which she played Dickensian femme fatale Dora Spenlow – her first big role if you ignore the important part of "Servant" (not to be confused with "Servant" or indeed "Servant") in Mike Figgis’ somewhat dry and empty yet sexed-up Strindberg adaptation Miss Julie. David Copperfield and Miss Julie mark the beginning of her costume drama period, which includes The Cazalets, To The Ends of the World, The Lost World and, of course, Aladdin at the Old Vic with Sir Ian McKellen, where she played ‘Panky’.

Dickens and I never used to get on together. Sure, everyone loves A Christmas Carol: that’s a truism. But after struggling manfully with Bleak House at school and my mother’s copy of Pickwick Papers at home, I decided I didn’t like him – too florid, the characters too grotesque and the Kingsley-esque character naming a major irritant.

But David Copperfield changed all that and we’ve never looked back. I’m going to rabbit on more about it after the break, to save you from spoilers, although the book’s 160 years old now – is that the longest ‘spoiler warning’ I’ve given so far?

Continue reading “Today’s Joanna Page: David Copperfield”

Today's Joanna Page

Today’s Joanna Page: Mark Owen’s ‘Makin Out’

Today’s Joanna Page is the video to Mark Owen’s “Makin Out”. All right, you don’t have to listen to it – turn the sound down if you want to.

Actually, I was expecting the worse, but it’s quite a nice little song, I think. The video’s pretty good, although a little creepy in the light of the Torchwood episode From Out of the Rain (they’re so similar, I’m wondering if the directors are the same). It’s mostly in the style of silent movies of the 10s and 20s – although it could be argued that Mark Owen isn’t so much doing Buster Keaton as Johnny Depp doing Buster Keaton/Charlie Chaplin in Benny & Joon.

Nice roller skating, too.

Next week: Joanna Page as Dickensian femme fatale* Dora Spenlow in David Copperfield.

* Let the debaters start preparing now!

Today's Joanna Page

Today’s Joanna Page: From Hell


Today’s Joanna Page is From Hell, an impressively unpleasant and bad film, which is odd*, given that it was based on a graphic novel by the lovely Alan Moore, stars the equally lovely Johnny Depp and features the very lovely indeed Joanna Page. She plays a former prostitute trying to turn good for the sake of her baby. Which is… nice? Sigh. Where’s Andrea Dworkin when you need her?

* Okay, it’s about Jack the Ripper, so that should have been a clue. What’s the fascination there, by the way? We’re talking about a bloke who was really nasty to women. I’m not really sure he’s worth dwelling on unless you’re a criminal psychologist or a historian…

Today's Joanna Page

Today’s Joanna Page: Love Soup

Today’s Joanna Page, despite the best efforts of the BBC, is Love Soup, David Renwick’s slightly odd look at love that stars Tamsin Greig, Sheridan Smith and the superfluous one from Ashes to Ashes.

I caught an episode of it once to see what Sheridan Smith was up to in her time off from Two Pints and wasn’t desperately impressed. This time round was better, notably because of Joanna Page who got to exercise her acting muscles in a surprisingly subtle way. More on that later.

Strangely, Love Soup seems to have more in common with Jonathan Creek than Renwick’s One Foot in the Grave, with bizarre love mysteries to be solved in outlandish ways. It’s not great, but it’s okay: as much as I love Tamsin Greig – and indeed Sheridan Smith – Greig’s character, Alice, is just dull (although that’s probably the point) and Smith’s doesn’t really have a lot of depth. Still, it’s only half an hour long and nearly at the end of series two, so I’ve probably missed out on a lot.

Anyway, more pics of JP after the jump, including a great big spoiler. If you haven’t seen the episode yet and intend to, don’t go any further.

Incidentally, I do warn you that if you have still to see it, do not watch it where anyone can see you: it is definitely Not Suitable For The Office. Or indeed public transport. 

Continue reading “Today’s Joanna Page: Love Soup”