Very, very occasionally, TMINE lets you know what TV-related events the Institut français du Royaume-Uni will be presenting in London
Not technically a TV event, I know, but the Institut français will be screening the movie La fête des mères (Mother’s Day) on Sunday 25th June at 8.30pm, as part of its ‘Women Shaping the World’ season. So why mention it? Well, it stars Audrey Fleurot of Engrenages (Spiral), Les témoins (Witnesses), Safe et al, and she’ll be doing a Q&A afterwards:
La fête des mères (Mother’s Day)
in French with EN subs
FRA | 2018 | dir. Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, with Audrey Fleurot, Nicole Garcia, Clotilde Courau, Carmen Maura
Presidents, nannies, bakers, actresses, teachers, florists, journalists, doctors… These women are progressive, benevolent, clumsy, absent, omnipresent, overworked, guilt-laden… Their children both long and fear to spread their wings and leave the nest. When daughters become mothers, they realise it’s all fun and games! This ensemble film gathers on screen a first class cast including Audrey Fleurot and Carmen Maura.
Sometimes, you really can get the wrong end of the stick with these international productions. When I first heard about Safe, it was via an article in Le Figaro. Audrey Fleurot from Engrenages (Spiral), Michael C Hall from Dexter, in a Netflix drama written by US thriller writer Harlan Coben and set inside a gated community? Brilliant! It’ll be like Sky Atlantic’s Riviera – except good.
Sure, it was also going to feature the likes of Marc Warren (Mad Dogs) and Amanda Abbington (Sherlock), and at least some of it was going to be filmed in Britain, but I mentally glossed over that. Audrey, Michael, Harlan, all that talk by Le Figaro of Harlan’s obsession with French actresses – it was going to be exotic, wasn’t it? Maybe a bit in the UK, but mostly it would be in France, right? Or maybe 50/50? Why else cast Fleurot?
Then I saw the trailer.
Wait. That was all Britain. Nothing but Britain. No sunshine, no France, no French. Just Britain. Not even a good bit of Britain at that, but Manchester.
And what was that accent, Michael? Why haven’t they allowed you to be American? And have you been watching The Only Way is Essex with Chris Pratt?
Then I remembered – Harlan Coben had co-written that Sky1 show The Five with Danny Brocklehurst, hadn’t he? And Brocklehurst was one of the writers for Safe, too.
Oh dear God. This was actually a British show. It was basically a Sky1 show with a slightly more international cast than usual, but on Netflix. Oh the horror!
So that was the stick I incorrectly grasped with Safe. Although we in the UK obviously associate Netflix with bringing us both their own programmes made overseas and other country’s programmes that they’ve bought up, that’s something they do for everyone else, too, and this was going to be like The Crown – another entry in the ‘international TV that we made in the UK for everyone else’ category. We would be the rest of the world’s ‘exotic’.
However, there was a second stick. My assumption was that because it was UK TV made in the UK by a UK production company and written by UK writers, it was going to be unwatchable rubbish. Just dreadful, I thought.
Surprise! It’s not. Indeed, Safe isn’t half bad. A bit silly and even comedic in places – and not just Hall’s accent – with episode endings that push the boundaries of plausibility to their limits, but actually halfway decent. I even watched it all the way through to the end. That’s a first for me and a British TV drama in rather a long time…
Every Friday, TMINE lets you know when the latest TV shows from around the world will air in the UK
Only a couple of new acquisitions this week but they’ve both got premiere dates, so let’s not dawdle. But I will note that streaming services (mostly Netflix but also Walter Presents) have started two new trends of late:
Acquisitions that no one knows about but are suddenly just available to watch
Acquisitions that are announced and the programmes in questions are available to watch instantly.
You’ll see what I mean in a mo.
Le Chalet (The Chalet) (France: France 2; UK: Netflix)
Premiere date: Available since Tuesday
“Friends gathered at a remote chalet in the French Alps for a summer getaway are caught in a deadly trap as a dark secret from the past comes to light.”
What Netflix doesn’t tell you is that it’s typically French in that it’s based on an Agatha Christie novel – And Then There WereNone. It’s also typically French in that it’s got Gilou from Engrenages (Spiral) in it.
Charité (Germany: ARD/Das Erste; UK: Netflix)
Premiere date: Available now
Six-part medical series, set in Berlin in 1888, in which Ida (Alicia von Rittberg) is operated on as a patient of the Charité and is forced to pay back her treatment costs by working as a nursing assistant under the bigoted regiment of deaconess Martha. Through this, she discovers her passion for medicine and is able to follow her free and rebellious spirit in its desire to live a self-determined future, in an age when women hardly had a right to higher education. Along the way, she meets extraordinary physicians such as Rudolf Virchow, as well as researchers and later Nobel Laureates Robert Koch, Emil von Behring, and Paul Ehrlich.
Acquired yesterday. Made available… yesterday. Amazing, hey?
Vlucht HS13 (Flight HS13) (The Netherlands: NPO3; UK: Walter Presents)
Premiere date: Tuesday, April 24, 11pm
Liv (Katja Schuurman) has the perfect life: happily married to surgeon Simon, they have a son, she co-owns a successful design business and shares a beautiful home. However, her life is suddenly turned upside down when her husband goes on a business trip and his plane crashes. Her grieving is dramatically halted when she discovers from the passenger list that her husband never actually boarded the plane.
It transpires that upon arriving at the airport to supposedly take his flight, he went straight to arrivals where, CCTV reveals, he greeted another woman and young child. Her husband appears to have a secret life and is now missing.
Confused, betrayed and angry, Flight HS13 follows Liv’s mission to find her husband, a journey which will uncover a tangled web of corruption, blackmail and violence.
Let’s Get Physical (US: Pop; UK: E4)
Premiere date: Thursday, May 3, 9:30pm
Dodgeball but with aerobics and Jane Seymour and without many jokes.
Created by Harlan Coben and written by Danny Brocklehurst (The Five, Come Home), Safe sees widowed surgeon Tom Delaney (Dexter‘s Michael C Hall) begin unearthing dark secrets about the people closest to him after his teenage daughter goes missing. The cast also includes Amanda Abbington, Marc Warren, Audrey Fleurot and Hannah Arterton.
Pretty interesting mix of Brits and international cast members, in a UK setting (at least in the trailer), but I’m not sure about Hall’s accent. It’s a bit Orphan Black, if you know what I mean. Despite the presence of Engrenages (Spiral)‘s Audrey Fleurot, it’s not typically French though.