Sunday, May 15, 2005


Well, tonight's episode of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple marks the very first time in my life that I have heard the delicious term "doolally" (dolally? do-lally?) spill from the lips of anyone other than my mother (or of those of my family who say it in emulation of her). I always knew it must have been some sort of British colloquialism from the 1950s or earlier – quite possibly no longer in current use, and more or less synonymous with barmy, which I believed she never used – but I have never heard or read it anywhere, not even from my relations still living in England. I shall have to research the term to see if I can find out how it is spelled (if it even has a standard spelling).

Altogether, this new Marple production has been an utter delight – beautiful cinematography and locales, cracking great cast, and of course Geraldine McEwan of Lucia and Barchester fame beats Joan Hickson (I'm sorry, but she's unwatchable) hands down. So far I have found the series to be marred only by the rather wearisome and quite unnecessary intrusion of a slightly racy backstory for Miss Marple in the form of a secret love tragically killed in WWI (a married lover, no less): can't the writers imagine their twenty-first century audience respecting or empathizing with a character if she were a genuine "old maid"? Thankfully, this evident attempt to sexualize Miss Marple is brief and easy to ignore (thankfully, the the schmaltzy touch of a nightly ritual with the dead love's photograph is dropped after the first episode). All told, between this new series and the mostly quite enjoyable Foyle's War, Mystery seems to be recovering from the wilderness years of Rather Badly Mrs. Bradleys and Thinly Written Inspector Linleys (not to mention the unmentionable Hetty Wainthrop).

I can't believe Patsy is going to be in the next installment! Can't wait.

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At Mon May 23, 05:09:00 AM EDT, Blogger Bluebell said...

Ha! I saw this same episode.

I think Geraldine McEwan may be a bit 'spicy' for Miss Marple - but then, the part could easily be overly dull. So maybe that's best.

I loved the word "doolally" too. In fact they said it at least twice - "I don't know anyone *less* dolally than you" said Miss Marple in reply.

I'm rather enjoying Mystery and have set most of the episodes to TiVo. Diana Rigg is the perfect host, as well. I thought the same thing about the flashback scenes - part of the character's charm is her Miss Marple-ness. Let others be femme fatales.

Looking forward to viewing the TiVo'd finale to "What Mrs McGillicuddy Saw" tomorrow.

At Tue Jul 26, 07:52:00 PM EDT, Anonymous said...

HI just googled dolally. for some reason i thought it had to do with some silly officer in the english military named dulally. and that he did something really really stupid in india. not sure why i thought that as the defs u found make a bit more sense.
at anyrate... hello neighbor. im in allston. we've stomped some of the same ground. AND best of all, my last name is lally.


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