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Milz

The Jewel In The Crown

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The series is the dramatization of Paul Scott's Raj Quartet (The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion, The Towers of Silence and A Division of Spoils).

 

I remember watching the series in the mid-80s when it was shown as MT repeats on my local PBS station (Pledge Drive, etc.). Over the years, I've watched it, again, on PBS and I rented the DVDs about 5 years ago.

 

First thing's first. Could there be smoulderingly hotter ensemble of male actors on one MT program?  Art Malik, Tim Piggot-Smith, Charles Dance, Nicholas Farrell, and Derrick Branche super-hot. 

 

 

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Quick question - are we going under the assumption that we are all rewatching it or should we spoil tag upcoming episodes and plot lines?   Because there was something that Bronowsky said to Merrick in episode 4 that I want to talk about but don't want to spoil something for new viewers.

 

Re: episode 5/Regimental Silver which was shown last night.  When Hari found out that Daphne had died - tears.  It still gets to me all these years later. 

 

And, wow, Judy Parfitt is so good as being so bad - worst mother ever. 

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Quick question - are we going under the assumption that we are all rewatching it or should we spoil tag upcoming episodes and plot lines?   Because there was something that Bronowsky said to Merrick in episode 4 that I want to talk about but don't want to spoil something for new viewers.

 

Re: episode 5/Regimental Silver which was shown last night.  When Hari found out that Daphne had died - tears.  It still gets to me all these years later. 

 

And, wow, Judy Parfitt is so good as being so bad - worst mother ever. 

 

I don't know about spoiler tags? If you think it's necessary, go for it, unless the moderator has a suggestion.

 

In the book, Daphne does see Parvati before she dies. And as soon as she sees the baby, she knows it's Hari's (which is a good thing, imo.)

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I'll spoil it just in case because I don't think we the viewer totally realize it yet (heh, well, as a youngster in the 80s, I didn't get it).  I was just talking about when  

Bronowsky totally figured out that Merrick was gay and showed it by pointing out the handsome guy in the room. Of course, now seeing that first scene when Merrick sees Hari in the courtyard, totally obvious.  

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I am a first time viewer, and I'm not quite sure about it yet. I like the first couple of episodes but then Daphne and Hari have gone (I assume Hari comes back at some point), and I'm having trouble figuring out who all of the new people are.

I usually adore the older Masterpieces, but this one is slow going for me for some reason. I do love how very, very British it is, what with the "I say!" and the "Old boy."

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Do we really have to use  spoiler tags for a thirty year old show that was high profile and watched by many back in the day?  And has been available on video and DVD for many years.

 

I am rewatching actually with more pleasure than my initial viewing. Back then I was so devastated by the outcome of the Daphne/Hari romance that it took me a long time to warm up to the other characters and story lines - with the exception of Sarah who I liked right away. Now it is nice to watch and have a bitter-sweet reunion with these characters and the actors when they were young (and had hair).

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I'll spoil it just in case because I don't think we the viewer totally realize it yet (heh, well, as a youngster in the 80s, I didn't get it).  I was just talking about when  

Bronowsky totally figured out that Merrick was gay and showed it by pointing out the handsome guy in the room. Of course, now seeing that first scene when Merrick sees Hari in the courtyard, totally obvious.  

 

I didn't pick that up as a youngster in the '80s (I sound like the PBS commercials for Degrassi Junior High now!).  But

 

it's sort of apparent even when Merrick sees Hari washing up at the pump at mission in the first episode. Merrick sort of eyes Hari (the way I do! lol). And during Hari's torture, Merrick sort of looks "down there" longer than he ought when Hari is brought in naked.

 

Speaking of Daphne, for the longest time I wanted to taste a Gin Fizz because that was the cocktail she seemed to favor. I finally did taste it when I was in college (I ordered cocktails to be different from the typical beer drinking co-ed).

 

Sarah is likeable. Susan is more likeable than their mother and Aunt Fenny.  I always hated how Mildred, Fenny and the other women treated Barbie. I thought they were unusually mean to her.

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Oh, the spoons.  Poor Barbie.  Why am I watching this again!  Its so depressing.  But worth it :-)

 

Has anyone picked up the 25th Anniversary Edition - there is commentary!  Commentary with Art Malik and Tim Pigott-Smith on episode 1 and Commentary with Geraldine James and Charles Dance on episodes 13 & 14.  I kind of want to give my set of DVDs to my parents to justify buying this.  I would love to hear Art and Tim talk about episode 1.

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I haven't seen the 25th anniversary DVDs. But that would be interesting to listen to.

 

 

I am a first time viewer, and I'm not quite sure about it yet. I like the first couple of episodes but then Daphne and Hari have gone (I assume Hari comes back at some point), and I'm having trouble figuring out who all of the new people are.

I usually adore the older Masterpieces, but this one is slow going for me for some reason. I do love how very, very British it is, what with the "I say!" and the "Old boy."

 

Just stick with it Deanie: you won't be disappointed. After Daphne and Hari, the story shifts to Merrick and his relationship with Laytons and to Sarah Layton and her view of the last years of British rule in India. But the rape always looms overhead and plays a key role with the remainder of the series. The other thing that plays a symbolic role in the series is Edwina Crane's death. Also, in Episode 5, the piece of lace Mabel gives Barbie is very symbolic: "butterflies caught in a net".

 

 I think if they did JitC today, we'd be lucky to see Hari and Daphne's story at all. I think they would begin with Merrick asTeddy Bingham's best man and we'll only hear of Daphne's rape.

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I have the 25th anniversary DVDs, and they're well worth getting. As mentioned, there are actor commentaries and Alistair Cooke's original episode introductions (which you can turn off). The episodes have been remastered, and while not HD quality they're pretty close.

 

Man, the money I've spent on this show. I bought the books in cheap paperbacks to read before the series first aired, then the VHS tapes, then the DVDs, then the trade paperback University of Chicago editions of the books and now the remastered DVDs.

 

I watched the first episode of the new DVDs, and I'll be damned if it didn't send me back to book one. I always forget that the first episode is a masterful distillation of the *entire* first book, which is quite long. So many back stories -- Miss Crane, Sister Ludmila, Lady Chatterjee, Hari's father, Brigadier Reid -- were left by the wayside like, well, Miss Crane in the rain. Watching it, you don't miss them, but knowing them adds to the experience.

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On rewatch I am surprised that Charles Dance still hasn't joined the story.  For some reason I remembered his character showing up much earlier than he obviously is. Maybe because the character made such a strong impression on me.

 

Sarah's mother really is a piece of work. I can't say that I like her any better now than back then.

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Oh, she is the worst.  Her behavior at the wedding - when she met the guy who wasn't let in (I can't remember his name) and she is obviously drunk off her ass and they all just look at her with those WTF looks.  Judy P must have had a blast playing her.

 

Ack!  I think we have to wait until episode 10 until Charles Dance shows up.  But we do have to get through

Sarah getting pregnant by that cad Jimmy Clarke.

first. 

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I've reserved a copy of the books from the library a day ago. They probably won't be in for another 3 weeks (interlibrary  loan from another county).

 

Mildred Layton..I can't remember if she was an alcoholic (or minimally alcohol dependent) in the book. But she certainly liked her cocktails.

 

I always wondered if Daphne and Sarah met would they be friends. Granted Daphne was in Myapore and Sarah in Pankot, but I've always wondered that.

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I read the books back in the 80s when the series was on.  I remember thinking how important it was to read them in order.  If you start with one of the later books (probably 3), you'd think Merrick is the hero and not the villain and that you should feel sorry for him.

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Do we really have to use  spoiler tags for a thirty year old show that was high profile and watched by many back in the day?  And has been available on video and DVD for many years.

Correct - spoiler tags are not necessary, although I certainly won't ding anyone for using them, either.

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This is one of my all time favorite shows.  I only saw it once before so I am so glad that it is finally being shown again.

I also thought Charles Dance was in it more - guess he made such an impression on me.

I hated Merrick .  When I saw him on Downton Abbey I immediately recognized him from this show.

I've never had any interest in India.  I was surprised at so much of the beautiful scenery in this show.

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Part of my reasons for  instantly liking Guy Perron (Charles Dance) was his smarts and how he had Merrick's number immediately. Even the very intelligent Sarah just instinctively disliked Merrick without really knowing why throughout most of the narrative.

 

Barbie's story line is just as tragic to me as the Daphne/Hari doomed love. And maybe even more depressing. At least Hari and Daphne had a beautiful child that is being raised with love by Lady Manners. And I always hoped that Hari would be able to forge some kind future for himself in the "new" India.

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@ M Darcy: Yes, Jimmy Clarke was indeed a grade a cad, but I can't help having a huge soft spot for him, as he was played by the delectable Stuart Wilson, whom I've loved in pretty much everything I've ever seen him in, no matter how awful the character.  And who, I will maintain to my dying day, was just about the only thing that made The Age of Innocence bearable.  Well, him, Miriam Margolies, and the fact that the opera scenes were filmed at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia where a friend and I had opera tickets for several seasons.  (In one scene, I can actually see our first set of seats.)

 

Watching this again, I was reminded of how surprised I was to discover that Daphne Manners and Hari Kumar weren't the main characters after all; it seemed like they would be in the first two episodes, and then, bam, they were gone for the most part.  It took me a few episodes to warm up to the new characters, except for Sarah.  But once I did, I find I enjoyed them almost as much.  And then Charles Dance arrived, so there's that, even if he couldn't quite match the loveliness that was Art Malik.  And, oh yes, poor Barbie - she was so terribly used by Sarah's family later.

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Stuart Wilson does get around - he also dated Jane Tennison on Prime Suspect. 

 

Though, even though Hari and Daphne were only in the first few episodes, they were talked about during the entire series.  And, their relationship and what happened to Daphne is always there in the background and most of the plot revolves around it.

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Stuart Wilson does get around - he also dated Jane Tennison on Prime Suspect. 

 

Though, even though Hari and Daphne were only in the first few episodes, they were talked about during the entire series.  And, their relationship and what happened to Daphne is always there in the background and most of the plot revolves around it.

That's right, he did.  I forgot about that.

 

Oh yes, the Hari/Daphne situation has echoes throughout the whole series.  It just was surprising to me that first time.

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Me too - you don't expect the lead to die in episode 3 and the other to go to jail.  Sniff.  That scene where Hari figures out she died. 

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The series is full of tragedy. The best you can hope for is bitter sweet.  Late in the narrative I felt so sucker punched by what happens to Ahmed Kasim. I was absolutely furious about that.

 

The one thing that did please me was to learn - and I'll put this under spoiler tags as it doesn't happen during the series - 

it is revealed in STAYING ON that Sarah does eventually marry Guy Perron and they have two children together.

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The library sent me a email that the Raj Quartet is ready for pick up!

 

There are three scenes in the tv series that  I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach on the re-watch: Daphne's attack, Hari's "questioning" by Merrick and Kasim's train trip.

 

I'll have to see if the state library system has the sequel novel.

 

Anyhow,  a "new" episode is on this weekend for the DC Metro area.

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Okay, having watched the episode in question last night (after not having seen it for, oh, ten years or so), I'm not sure I’d actually describe Jimmy Clarke as a cad.  Creep might be more accurate.  That scene almost read more like date rape, plus there's the whole "eww, he slept with Aunt Fenny, didn't he?" aspect.  And yet, being the horribly shallow person that I am, I was far less offended by his treatment of Sarah than I was by the PBS censor finding it necessary to blur Stuart Wilson’s ass.  Damn you, PBS censor!

 

And because it cannot be said enough: Poor Barbie!  She's such an inoffensive person, and yet Mildred goes out of her way to treat her like dirt.  Some of that is related to Mildred's hatred of her stepmother, but still, Barbie ends up being so beaten down, it makes me want to cry.

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Heh, I was trying to use one of those British romantic clichés.  Cad just seemed more fun.  Plus, all I remembered is that he slept with her - not anything else about how it happened. 

 

And, its Peggy Ashcroft!  No one should treat her like dirt!    Man, the casting for Jewel is amazing -  a great mixture of already great British actors (like Peggy and Rachel Kempson) and the next generation.

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Heh, I was trying to use one of those British romantic clichés.  Cad just seemed more fun.  Plus, all I remembered is that he slept with her - not anything else about how it happened.

 

I hadn't remembered many details either.

 

And yes, the casting is terrific, especially the number of actors who've gone on to be in other high-profile British shows.  I really can't express too fervently how thrilled I am that PBS is running this again.

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I still remember the first time I watched it during the original run.  My Mom had started watching it first and was so upset about Daphne. I had been watching something else but it got canceled so I joined my Mom on the couch and watched the rest of the series with her.

 

Re: Staying On - the book that takes place after the series 

Is that where we learned that Susan had a happy ending also - didn't she marry a doctor?

.

Edited by M. Darcy

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Man, the casting for Jewel is amazing -  a great mixture of already great British actors (like Peggy and Rachel Kempson) and the next generation.

 

I'm completely in awe of the casting. 

 

I got the book on saturday before the snow-freezing rain-rain mess. I found it interesting that Paul Scott describes Sarah as being more like their father and Susan more like their mother.  (which makes sense as the series progresses).

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So I read STAYING ON and I am going to put everything I found out about the fate of the Layton family under a spoiler cut:

 

This is what's happening with them in the early seventies. Mildred Layton - bitch mom - has died some years earlier from cancer. The prisoner of war father survived his wife but has just passed away peacefully. Susan has married for a third time and this time it's a good marriage to a doctor and they live in Scotland. Her son by her first marriage, Teddy, has become a doctor and is a father himself to a little boy. Sarah Layton is married to professor Guy Perron and they have two children who are both grown up and at university.

 

I liked learning these things and I hope other people will too.

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So I read STAYING ON and I am going to put everything I found out about the fate of the Layton family under a spoiler cut:

 

This is what's happening with them in the early seventies. Mildred Layton - bitch mom - has died some years earlier from cancer. The prisoner of war father survived his wife but has just passed away peacefully. Susan has married for a third time and this time it's a good marriage to a doctor and they live in Scotland. Her son by her first marriage, Teddy, has become a doctor and is a father himself to a little boy. Sarah Layton is married to professor Guy Perron and they have two children who are both grown up and at university.

 

I liked learning these things and I hope other people will too.

 

Thanks for that. The county libraries in my state do not have  copy of that book.

 

Does the book mention Hari or Daphne's daughter Parvati?

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No, Milz, I don't think it does mention Parvati, nor Hari either. One only gets the Layton information in the book because the main character Lucy knew the Laytons during the war and has written to Sarah after learning of her fathers death. They are catching up after many years and that's how the reader gets to catch up with the Layton family too.

Edited by magdalene
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Upon rewatching last week's episode, I've decided that the scene with Sarah and Jimmy Clarke wasn't as creepy as I'd initially thought.  He is still a cad, though.

 

Poor, poor Barbie!  She can't even take comfort in one of the few friends she has because people are assholes.  Personally I do think there was a subconcious vibe between her and Mabel, but nothing towards Sarah or Susan, and for the vicar's wife to tell Barbie about it was just wrong.  Ugh.

 

And Susan be cray cray.

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I had forgotten Barbie caught Mildred in the act so to speak. As good as everyone is, Peggy Ashcroft is stealing every scene she is in - especially this episode.

Next week - what we have all been waiting for - Guy Perron!

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Are  other PBS stations still airing the series right now? My local PBS station stopped airing the show without any explanation last week and I had to get the remaining episodes from netflix.

 

It always struck me as very ironic that the reason Merrick never got into trouble over the mistreatment, persecution, and torture of Hari Kumar and the other young men was because the British government wanted it all swept under the rug to avoid riots, etc. . And then eventually his murder gets covered up too to avoid "unpleasantness". It really is such an irony.

 

I will admit that the final scene of Hari in his little shabby room writing, with Guy's business card and Daphne's picture on his desk brought me to tears again rewatching after so many years.

 

It's amazing how Hari and Daphne with so little airtime haunt the entire series. Actually, both Guy Perron and Ahmed Kasim, who are so important in the narrative get very little airtime. The only character whose airtime matches her importance is Sarah. 

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Are  other PBS stations still airing the series right now? My local PBS station stopped airing the show without any explanation last week and I had to get the remaining episodes from netflix.

 

I live in the DC Metro area. The Baltimore PBS station (MPT)  is airing it, but they are 1 episode ahead of the DC PBS station (WETA). And the DC PBS station airs it on the regular station and on it's WETA UK station. I think MPT put it on hiatus due to Pledge Week. And WETA is pre-empting it this saturday due to Pledge Week (according to the Washington Post tv guide).

 

The government didn't go after Merrick, but Karma sure did!

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I think MPT put it on hiatus due to Pledge Week.

MPT is still showing it Sunday nights - just at an earlier time.  It was on 6 p.m. last night and 6:30 the week before.  Last night they showed The Towers of Silence - episode 9. 

 

The spoons made a return last night.  Man, Mildred really hated those spoons. Oh, I know - no matter what Barbie gave, she would have hated it. 

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The spoons made a return last night.  Man, Mildred really hated those spoons. Oh, I know - no matter what Barbie gave, she would have hated it.

 

I was a bit surprised she didn't just sell them, as grasping as she was about the annuity, but that wouldn't have been insulting enough for Mildred, I guess.  God, she's such a vile person.

 

Loved the bit at the party where the psychiatrist is explaining his philosophy.  The hostess was so unflappable, it was hysterical.

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God, she's such a vile person.

She is.  Judy P must have had a blast playing her.

 

But she seemed to have a moment when she realized what a crappy mother she is - she basically said that the only thing she does for Sarah is buy her napkins for her.  Poor Sarah, she goes through an entire package every month! 

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Poor Sarah, she goes through an entire package every month!

 

Too bad she couldn't have ordered them from Sheldon Cooper's bulk feminine hygeine product delivery company.  (He was actually on to something there.)

Edited by proserpina65

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Poor Sarah.  At least she has her aunt.  Though, she was the one to introduce her to that cad. 

 

I think I totally forgot to mention my other favorite actor in this - Nicholas Le Prevost.  I always enjoy when he pops in in something.  Though, its true with most of the actors in Jewel - I've seen them probably in about five million other things since Jewel.  Its probably more difficult to find something British without someone from Jewel. I just rewatched Bleak House and it has two actors from Jewel - Charles Dance and Warren Clarke.

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Warren Clarke was so  good in this too - I was chuckling at his "Miss Kyberpass", "Count Dracula", etc.

 

Boy, was I happy when Guy gave Miss Kyberpass the well-deserved boot.

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Guy Perron! Finally episode 10.

I'm beginning to think that when every Englishman arrives in India, the first question they are asked at border control is if they went to school with Hari Kumar. Oh Ronald, I know what it's like when you get a crush but you need to stop talking about Hari all the time.

He was certainly bossy with the Laytons. I just love how every time Sarah talks to him, you can hear the total hatred in her voice.

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Guy Perron! Finally episode 10.

I'm beginning to think that when every Englishman arrives in India, the first question they are asked at border control is if they went to school with Hari Kumar. Oh Ronald, I know what it's like when you get a crush but you need to stop talking about Hari all the time.

He was certainly bossy with the Laytons. I just love how every time Sarah talks to him, you can hear the total hatred in her voice.

 

It seems like almost every English man who was a somebody did go to Chillingborough. Perron, Nigel Rowan and in the books, Col. Layton.

Edited by Milz

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England really is a small world.  And, it just drove Merrick nuts - all these people, especially an Indian, who got to go to a private school when he didn't. 

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Can't believe how young Charles Dance looked.  He was my favorite character when I originally watched this show.

Surprisingly I can't remember what actually happens to Merrick  - but I really detest him.

I need to read about India  because I don't get who all these rich Indian women are and why they have such strange parties!  Surprised about the cross-dressing.

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Merrick weaseled his way into the Layton family, married Susan, and was a father figure to her son.  Sarah hated him, but was powerless in this as so many other aspects of life in the Raj.  

While Susan and the kid were spending the hot season someplace cooler, Merrick stayed behind to do his job, and wound up being rather gruesomely murdered.  The local government, including the Russian count (I am amazed at how many names I have forgotten) and Nicholas Le Provost, covered up the details.  Merrick had been the target of harassment for what he did to Hari Kumar and the other boys for years, and "they" finally got him.

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It seems like almost every English man who was a somebody did go to Chillingborough. Perron, Nigel Rowan and in the books, Col. Layton.

Jimmy Clarke too.  He and Sarah talked about him going to the same school as her father.

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Charles Dance was a hottie as a young man. And very charismatic 30 years later when I watched him on Game Of Thrones still coming across as the smartest man in the room.

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Charles Dance was a hottie as a young man. And very charismatic 30 years later when I watched him on Game Of Thrones still coming across as the smartest man in the room.

Just watched his first episode last night.  The heat radiating through the screen could easily have melted my tv set.

 

And as to him coming across as the smartest man in the room, a friend and I watched him in a mini-series called Secret State recently.  It's one of the those British government conspiracy thrillers.  Having gotten all my info about Parliament from watching Yes, Minister, I'm not exactly sure what government position his character held (the Chief Whip, maybe?), but as several characters jockeyed about trying to position themselves as the next Prime Minister, I said to my friend "Why don't they just put Charles Dance in charge?".

Edited by proserpina65

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