Read, Watch and Listen – April/May

As I went away on holiday in April I didn’t get around to my usual Read, Watch and Listen article. Today I want to catch up with a recommendation of something to devour that is bookish, a fantastic TV show and a funny, fresh podcast.

Join me as I outline the reasons why you should consider checking out one of these incredible magnets of entertainment.

Read ‘Diary of a Swedish Shepherd’ by Axel Linden

Have you ever considered leaving the office for a more rural job?

This book is sweet and short but nonetheless leaves you with a better understanding of life as a sheep farmer in Sweden.

As a diary, there are notes each day about what it is like to change careers and start a farm. Sometimes it is frustrating and others just wonderful. Mostly lovely though.

Anecdotal and personal, this book is well worth a read. It touches on tradition, modernity and sustainability. I loved dipping into it a few pages at a time because it always made me reflect and usually made me smile.

Watch ‘Palm Royaleon Apple TV Plus

‘What is this?’ I hear you cry.

Well, it is a stunning new comedy-drama playing on Apple TV Plus which stars Kristin Wig (Bridesmaids) and Laura Dern (Big Little Lies/ Jurassic Park) among others.

A wanna-be hotshot woman trying her luck in a wealthy Californian town is seen bluffing her way into high society. The results are hilarious and satisfying.

Everyone likes to see an underdog doing well – right? Maxine (Kristin) is married to a guy who may well inherit a fortune from his aunt who is currently in a coma. The comatose aunt is played by TV legend Carol Burnett who is on screen in the coma and also seen in funny flashbacks.

Ricky Martin (“She Bangs!”) pops up as a waiter who happens to live in the pool house belonging to coma lady. His involvement is amusing and integral, as he develops a close friendship with Laura’s character, Linda.

Settle in for episodes of fun, frolics and easy-to-watch entertainment.

Listen to ‘Miss Me’ on Spotify or BBC Sounds

As a fan of Lily Allen and Miquita Oliver, I was surprised to know that both were long term best friends. Knowing that Lily lived in New York and Miquita in London I can see why they decided to name their new podcast – ‘Miss me.’

Essentially they post two episodes a week. On Thursday they discuss certain talking points then on Monday they open up the podcast to take questions that listeners left by voice note.

These two are so honest; brutally honest and hilarious.

I have really started to look forward to every new episode of this ‘already top ten’ podcast.

Recent chat has been about the patriarchy, ambition and bosoms.

I absolutely love it and you will too!

In A Nutshell

Hopefully one of these suggestions hit home with you and you will feel the need to check it out.

If you missed my last set of recommendations you can read them here:

Please consider following my blog for similar future content about entertainment, reading and environmental change.

The Prince’s Scoop

A Netflix Movie Review

This weekend, before I returned to work after the Easter holidays, I wanted to cosy up and watch a film on TV.

Noticing that Gillian Anderson had made a movie about the Prince Andrew scandal, I chose ‘Scoop.’

Having watched the infamous BBC Newsnight interview back in 2019, I was intrigued about how events unfolded.

My Review

Gillian Anderson played Emily Maitlis, the clever TV reporter who gave a one hour interview with Prince Andrew about his involvement with Jeffrey Epstein.

It turned out that the central character was actually Sam McAlister (Billie Piper). She was the booker who had the difficult task of being the first to arrange an interview with Andrew after a new bunch of revelations hit the news.

Rufus Sewell did a good job of playing the despicable prince and wore prosthetics that made him look very convincing in the role. His Private Secretary was played by Keeley Hawes.

The subject matter in the film is very grim as it was unpicking allegations made against Andrew which were later dismissed in a settlement where one of the girls involved supposedly received an 8 figure payoff.

Billie Piper played her role excellently and it was good to see her back on our screens. She portrayed a single parent who had a track record of persuading unlikely celebrities to appear on Newsnight and discuss their featured stories

I thought the filmmakers did a brilliant job of producing a film which put the whole story under a lens.

In A Nutshell

Overall this film was well made and brilliantly acted. Billie, Gillian, Rufus and Keeley were all flawless in portraying real people.

I know that the subject matter may be upsetting for some viewers but if you are interested in the scandal, check out this film.

In terms of pace, narrative and realism this movie was very good.

Damsel – A Dragon Story

Although my picture may not represent the Irish dragon who lurks beneath a mountain in this Netflix movie, it captures the mood of the film. In this post, I review this entertaining movie which stars Millie Bobbie Brown and Nick Robinson.

Lasting 1 hour and 49 minutes, this adventure story depicts the joining of two important families by marriage. Elodie (Millie Bobbie Brown) is brilliant as the girl who is betrothed to a prince in order to fix her father’s financial difficulties.

Unfortunately, after the marriage, Elodie is dropped into the cave where an evil dragon dwells. She was meant to be an offering made to keep the dragon away from the medieval town.

My Thoughts

The initial wide images look a bit like cartoon scenes as the special effects are less sophisticated than you would find in the cinema. However, that is soon forgotten as you get sucked into Elodie’s adventure.

Millie really shines in this movie. With Ray Winstone playing her dad and Angela Bassett as her step mum, she is in good company.

I really enjoyed the twists and turns that the main character took as she tried to escape the dragon. Her awkward relationship with the prince (Robinson) was also interesting.

This was never going to be a heavy script with social issues grappled with. It was, though, hugely entertaining and a good piece of escapist television.

If you want a distraction and to be taken off to a medieval world where a dragon threatens civilisation, this is certainly worth checking out.

I totally recommend spending an afternoon following this narrative. Damsel is satisfying, fun and was a Number 1 success on Netflix.