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Zen and the art of Eric and Ernie

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While laid up on the sofa today1 I watched the first episode of Zen on iPlayer. What a stylish bit of work. It's based on the late Michael Dibdin's novel Vendetta and is apparently the first of three they're televising over the next few weeks2.

Rufus Sewell plays the hero, Inspector Aurelio Zen, and very suave and Italian he looks too. Even when he's climbing up a hill he's still in a sharp suit and looking good. The love interest, the gorgeous Caterina Murino (who really is Italian: you may remember her as the Bond girl in Casino Royale) is very sexy and the chemistry between them works rather well.

The plot got dissed by The Guardian but I thought it hung together pretty well with several apparently independent story arcs all coming together nicely in the last few minutes. Nice work. If you not seen it already it's on iPlayer for a couple of weeks yet and I recommend it.

Meanwhile I discovered there was an omnibus edition of Ratking, Vendetta, and Cabal on Amazon for £9.49 so as they're all three over a fiver each as e-books I've bought that to see what Dibdin's like as a writer.

And that Guardian review reminded me that I'd seen positive tweets about Eric and Ernie - a docudrama about the early career of Morecambe and Wise, so I gave that a go too and it was rather fine. The actors who play the two aren't at all bad but the real stars are Eric's parents. Victoria Wood, who according to the credits was the inspiration behind the programme, is excellent as Eric's pushy mother and Vick Reeves (credited as Jim Moir) is superb as his solid and dependable dad.

It's available to watch until 13th January and is another pleasant way to spend ninety minutes.

  1. Yes, another one. Sigh.
  2. I'm not sure why they started with Vendetta, as I understand it Ratking was the first Zen novel but they're doing that one last, after Cabal.

Tags: books, tv Written 07/01/11

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