Friday, January 23, 2009

Must Watch Friday - Under the Greenwood Tree

Deciding what to pick wasn't difficult at all!

I've been a bit out of contact because my lovely sister-in-law developed post natal psychosis after the birth of her son and I've been busy experiencing all the joys of a newborn again. Bit of a shock when you haven't been pregnant, but nothing really beats the smell of a just bathed newborn, does it? And I really love their frog-like legs when they're curled up on your chest. I'm less keen on the night-time feeds, but am an absolute fan of bottle feeding. My nipples haven't been sore at all. vbg Wonderful!

But it's the night-time feeds which led me to discover 'Under The Greenwood Tree' - and anything which makes getting up twice in one night feel okay has to be a great recommendation, right?

I have to hold my hand up here and admit I hate reading Thomas Hardy. Usually I find him too gloomy but 'Under The Greenwood Tree', the book, isn't depressing so much as boring. It really is. Consequently I didn't rush to watch it when it was dramatised for TV. Only the need for something new made me put it on and I was hooked within minutes. Purists, no doubt, will hate it. It's a 'loosely based' adaptation, but imo it is so much the better for it.

It all begins when a new schoolteacher arrives in the small Dorset village of Melstock on a very pretty Christmas Eve. It's picture postcard perfect. The choir of the local church are singing, the snow is falling and a very sexy Dick Dewey, (James Murray) falls in love with Fancy Day (Keeley Hawes) at first sight. Only Fancy is destined for better things than Dick Dewey ...

Her father was the gamekeeper on the estate of Fancy's mother's family and they eloped. Since the death of his wife every dream and ambition he has is centred on Fancy. She's been well educated, as his late wife would have wished, and he hopes she will marry well. His personal favourite is Mr Shiner, a wealthy farmer offering financial security, but then there's also the ambitious Parson Maybold who can give Fancy a life of travel and adventure.

Then there's the ongoing feud between Parson Maybold and the former church choir when he introduces a harmonium to provide the church music and Fancy is asked to play. Think idyllic ye olde English village and shifting seasons and you'll have a good idea what you're in for.

I give 'Under The Greenwood Tree' a Pink Heart Society warm fuzzy rating of 10 out 10, mainly because of this scene:

And just look out for the sizzle in the scene where Fancy and Dick wash their hands in the same bowl ....

Much love

'Cinderella and the Sheikh' is out in NA and the UK right now!

The Romantic Times Magazine gives Cinderella and the Sheikh 4.5 'Oakley begins her Brides of Amrah Kingdom duet with a well-told story. The exotic setting -- and Rashid -- add a dash of mystery and glamour.'


  1. Good to hear from you, Natasha. I'm not sure what post natal psychosis involves but it sounds dreadful and I hope your s-i-l is pulling through.

    I did Under the Greenwood tree for my O level Eng Lit and I have used the "curls and feathers" thing in a book, although I can't remember which one. But boring, absolutely. Enough to put one off Hardy for life. I can imagine it would make pretty television though. Glad it helped to pass the midnight hours.

  2. James Murray-- what a revelation he was in this role. Quite brightened up my Christmas a couple of years ago when it was on. So where's he been hiding himself since, I'm wondering?

    (Oh, and I'm hereby awarding you the title of Loveliest Sister-in-Law on the Planet...What an absolute star you are.)

  3. Natasha I love your youtube addiction.

    Hugs to you and sweet baby J!

  4. She is, thank you Liz. Post natal psychosis is very rare but it, basically, takes away your sanity. We're lucky we're living when we do because it is treatable, but once would have meant my sil would have been locked away for good.

    Selfishly I do rather hope I've had the last family trauma. It would be nice to think I can get back to writing something now.

    James Murray, India, has been doing 'Primeval', ITVs answer to 'Doctor Who' but with a much smaller budget. vbg.

  5. What a dreadful thing to happen, Natasha. And I second India's award of the world loveliest s-i-l.

    I hope your world settles back down soon and you can have some time for yourself. You certainly deserve it.