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Flesh And Blood

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Imelda Staunton and Francesca Annis star in a juicy mystery about the perils of late-life romance. Claudie Blakley, Russell Tovey, and Lydia Leonard play the grown-up children of Annis’s character. Stephen Rea is her new gentleman friend. Staunton stars as the inquisitive next-door neighbor. And David Bamber is the detective who tries to work out whether an unfortunate incident was an accident or a heinous crime.
 

Premieres Sunday, October 4th on PBS.

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I loved this! So many layers to the characters -- no one is quite what they first seemed. The neighbor is appalling. Can't wait for the next ep.

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The PBS site says there are four parts.  One thing I liked is that I can tell the characters apart.  Many shows have characters who look too similar for my "challenged" eyes to distinguish.  And wow, the scenery!

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Talk about a dysfunctional family!  The mother got married because, in those days, she had to.  The deceased husband cheated on her (and throwing out my guess that "the other woman" was the next door neighbor), and the 3 kids are a mess - each in a different way.  The older daughter seems a Type A cold-blooded workaholic who will let nothing get in the way of her career, the son seems to be a possible gambler who took money that didn't belong to him and is now estranged from his very angry wife, and also seems to be all about his inheritance (if he gets one) and my take on the younger daughter is that she is spoiled and kind of used to having things handed to her.  Not to mention she sees nothing wrong in having an affair with her married older boss.  

The "boyfriend" - why the big rush to get married?  Especially in this day and age when most single older men feel that they can easily play the field.  Are they setting us up to think this is a "Dirty John" type of thing?  And the neighbor - something off with that one.   Lets see where all of this takes us.  

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Here are are the PBS episode previews; nothing spoilery.

Quote

Episode 1: When Vivien introduces her new boyfriend Mark to her three grown children, they are suspicious. Meanwhile, their own lives are a mess.

Episode 2: As Vivien and Mark grow closer, her kids become progressively more unhinged. Vivien’s inquisitive neighbor Mary does some investigating of her own.

Episode 3: As Vivien and Mark prepare for a trip to India, Jake gets a hot tip. Helen and Natalie both reach crisis points with their partners.

Episode 4: Four relationships spiral out of control. Vivien tries to dismiss her children's fears about Mark. Mary responds to an emergency.

Edited by dubbel zout · Reason: format issues
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Imelda Staunton is the perfect casting for the neighbor who is more than expected. She gets the tone exactly right.

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I really enjoyed this.  Loved the subtle story telling that slowly started peeling the characters' layers.  I kind of like the "nosy neighbor" trope as it is reminiscent of Miss Marple and other mystery characters (seemingly non-dangerous but know everything that is going on).  I am eagerly looking forward to the next episode.

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Mary is Mrs Palmer (Imelda Staunton's character in 1995's Sense & Sensibility) as a pensioner in the 21st century. 

Edited by Toothbrush
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This first episode was great!  So many terrific actors and actresses.  Can't wait for the next episode.

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On 10/8/2020 at 12:05 PM, Toothbrush said:

Mary is Mrs Palmer (Imelda Staunton's character in 1995's Sense & Sensibility) as a pensioner in the 21st century. 

yes, and poor Hugh Laurie as Mr. Palmer (although he’s not in this show).

And I believe the detective, played by David Bamber, portrayed Mr. Collins in 1995’s Pride & Prejudice. In fact, there are so many familiar faces in this show and all are very good actors!

Edited by Spunkygal
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This drew me in, quite unexpectedly -- I had meant to just watch the opening bc lots of actors I love were appearing -- but I got hooked!

The car on fire was a great end hook -- totally did not see it coming; suspected Mary immediately.

The scenery candy is absolutely drool-worthy.  So is the house!!  And Francesca Annis is *absolutely fucking glorious.  I'd watch her in anything. 

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14 minutes ago, voiceover said:

This drew me in, quite unexpectedly -- I had meant to just watch the opening bc lots of actors I love were appearing -- but I got hooked!

The car on fire was a great end hook -- totally did not see it coming; suspected Mary immediately.

The scenery candy is absolutely drool-worthy.  So is the house!!  And Francesca Annis is *absolutely fucking glorious.  I'd watch her in anything. 

I don’t think Mary set the car on fire by herself. I think the son and she planned it. Remember when Mary mentioned to the son how he probably bought the car on a payment plan? I think she was saying, without saying, let’s burn that damn car and see if he can afford another...which Mary knows he cannot, 

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Interesting about the car... and the son did have this "aah haa" look on his face when Mary said that it was probably bought on a payment plan.

Well, so far we know that the mystery victim is NOT Mary or the younger daughter. 

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19 minutes ago, 12catcrazy said:

Well, so far we know that the mystery victim is NOT Mary or the younger daughter. 

Isn't the mystery victim

Stephen Rea's character? That seemed obvious to me from the start.

I'm enjoying this mostly for Imelda Staunton, as the kids' problems are pretty unimaginative. I'm also having trouble with Francesca Annis's character being so seemingly gullible. I get she's finally able to make decisions for herself alone (and that's a legit point in her favor), but she really doesn't know how manipulated she's being? I hate that she's acting like such a child, digging in her heels when her kids point out things are moving exceptionally quickly.

At least next episode she seems to start rubbing a few brain cells together and wondering what's up.

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I'm not liking the children too much.  None of them have shown (to me) much behavior that makes me really want to root for them. I think the show is having Steven Rea play his character in such a way that you can't really decide if he is or isn't dangerous, but Mary, the neighbor, is certainly shown as over the line.  Opening packages, sorting through Vivien's stuff, inserting herself into everything, and placing suspicions in the children's minds?  I think she's more than just a concerned neighbor, she plays as an obsessed and jealous one. Not one thing she has been shown doing has been shown as "normal." 

Poor Vivien.  With children like hers and a neighbor like that, there will be no escape.  She's doomed. 😞  

I did sort of clap my hands though, when the woman who was made redundant posted pictures on Instagram of the husband of one of the daughters and captioned it as "My new boyfriend."  That was pretty sweet revenge for being laid off.  Ha!  That hatchet-faced daughter deserved it too.  LOL! 

Edited by cardigirl

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41 minutes ago, dubbel zout said:

Isn't the mystery victim

  Hide contents

Stephen Rea's character? That seemed obvious to me from the start.

The fact that they haven't actually said makes me assume it's not... he would be the most obvious choice, so I see a big surprise reveal that it's *not* him upcoming. The series is only four episodes, right? I wonder if next week he'll be the one being questioned by police (or will appear by the end of the episode in the "now" timeline in some way), leaving the answer to the big question to be shown in the final episode.

34 minutes ago, cardigirl said:

Opening packages, sorting through Vivien's stuff, inserting herself into everything, and placing suspicions in the children's minds? 

Not to mention stealing Marc's Viagra!

35 minutes ago, cardigirl said:

I'm not liking the children too much. 

Honestly I'm not liking anyone on the show too much, though it's still holding my interest. I think George (the oldest daughter's husband) is the only one I kind of sympathize with (well, the son's wife, too, but we see less of her). (Although I automatically associate the name "George" with Russell Tovey thanks to Being Human, so it's a bit confusing to have him not be George...) All the adult children are pretty awful, as is Mary, and Marc and the mom are being presented in an ambiguous enough way that you can't quite trust them (not that I think the mom is nefarious, but as some have mentioned, she seems way too gullible, and I do wonder if she's hiding something).

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53 minutes ago, cardigirl said:

I did sort of clap my hands though, when the woman who was made redundant posted pictures on Instagram of the husband of one of the daughters and captioned it as "My new boyfriend."  That was pretty sweet revenge for being laid off.  Ha!

I didn't realize that was the woman who was fired by one of the daughters! Yes, that's genius revenge. I salute you, Grudge-Holding Lady!

14 minutes ago, dargosmydaddy said:

The fact that they haven't actually said makes me assume it's not... he would be the most obvious choice, so I see a big surprise reveal that it's *not* him upcoming. The series is only four episodes, right? I wonder if next week he'll be the one being questioned by police (or will appear by the end of the episode in the "now" timeline in some way), leaving the answer to the big question to be shown in the final episode.

I don't know, it just seemed so obvious to me who the victim was. Of course, there could be some sort of major reveal coming up. And yes, there are four episodes, which is just the right number, IMO. Any more and things would just drag.

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I, too, would assume the car is insured (whether leased, bought outright, whatever)...so he would be reimbursed for the vehicle.  So the only real issue is that he probably will not be able to buy a similar car quickly.

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I did love the snark of Marc basically saying "so she's just supposed to keep raising you lot"?  *LOL* 

All 3 "kids" came across amazingly selfish & entitled.  A negligent workaholic, a knocked-up homewrecker and a gambling & alcoholic male prostitute.  She raised 3 winners there.  

6 hours ago, dubbel zout said:

I didn't realize that was the woman who was fired by one of the daughters! Yes, that's genius revenge. I salute you, Grudge-Holding Lady!

Me either, it totally escaped me.  Very nicely done though!

 

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My girlfriend and I are enjoying this, although I am finding the artifice of keeping the victim secret a bit annoying. We are pretty sure it is

Spoiler

Mark - done in by an overdose of Viagra?

Seems like Mary has the most to lose by her neighbor’s marriage.

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It's either Mark or Mary, I'd say.  Daughter Natalie isn't upset enough in the interviews for it to be one of her family members.   

Point for Mark being a baddie is that in Spain, even if his doctor daughter was on 48 hour call, why couldn't he & Vivian gone to her hospital to meet her for a break?  Doctors get meal & rest breaks, even when on call.  Haven't they ever watched "Grey's Anatomy"?  (They also dance it out when they need a break, but that's beside the point....)

That little MGB convertible was very cute, but not at all flashy.  They stopped making them in the 80's, so a decent one can be had for a few thousand (Pounds or dollars), not a huge expense for a successful doc.    

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21 minutes ago, leighdear said:

It's either Mark or Mary, I'd say.

It's not Mary, since the police were interviewing her in the first episode. I agree Natalie didn't seem upset enough for it to be her mom... but maybe one of her siblings? Or some lesser character who got in the way of another, more major character getting hurt? (I admit that wouldn't have as much of an impact, but I definitely see an unexpected twist coming in that it's not Mark.)

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16 hours ago, dargosmydaddy said:

It's not Mary, since the police were interviewing her in the first episode. 

Doh!  I totally forgot about that.  *LOL*  Maybe it's Jakes estranged wife, or George.  Have we seen them interview Helen yet?  I'm so bad with those kinds of details! 

I just went down the cast list on IMDB and basically said "nope", "nope", "nope", "maybe", etc..... I'm definitely in the "nope" for Mark catagory.  Just seems too obvious.  

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On 10/12/2020 at 11:28 AM, dargosmydaddy said:

All the adult children are pretty awful,

Seriously, they could be poster children for contraception.  That poor woman dedicated her life to raising these three, and what does she get?  Three whiny narcissistic arseholes!

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I think the kids' problems are way too clichéd (but they're sort of MacGuffins anyway), but I kind of like how they completely regress to 8-year-olds when they're all together with their mom. My brothers and I do that sometimes, and we're at least 10 to 15 years older than this crew, LOL. Family dynamics can be really hard to change.

I do think the kids have a legit complaint that Vivian is moving too quickly with a man she barely knows. But I don't think they can be completely cut out of the will, despite their fears, unless Vivian has already changed her will. I can't remember if that was specifically mentioned or not (the will-changing part).

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I saw a t-shirt with something like "The older I get, the less the thought of a "Life Sentence" is a deterrent".   *LOL*  And as Vivien points out, she's 70, and could basically go at any time. 

HER life, HER money, HER decisions.  The wretched spawn seem to think she OWES them whatever they want.   When her husband died, she may have re-drawn her will, but maybe not.  If she didn't, then her spouse would probably have rights of survivorship.  No telling, as UK law and US law are different.  But her kids don't seem to know what her will entails, so that's on them.  Greedy gits. 

My parents had a family trust set up many years ago.  Both of my brothers and I know exactly how it is structured and what it entails.  When my dad died in 2015, mom had the trust immediately updated and informed us of all the changes.  And we all have copies of each other's wills.  I'm amazed how few people know anything about the final wishes of their loved ones. 

Edited by leighdear
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I refuse to take a peek at the spoilers.  Its taking all of my self control!

Anyway, going to throw out another guess (as my original one about Mary seems very wrong).  Anybody think that Meera mighr be behind this?  Maybe Mark is her father?  And that this is another way to get back at what ever the eldest daughter's name is.

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3 hours ago, 12catcrazy said:

I refuse to take a peek at the spoilers.  Its taking all of my self control!

Anyway, going to throw out another guess (as my original one about Mary seems very wrong).  Anybody think that Meera mighr be behind this?  Maybe Mark is her father?  And that this is another way to get back at what ever the eldest daughter's name is.

Meera just got fired in the first episode.  Vivian said she had known Mark for 6 months just before introducing him to her children.  Timing doesn't support your theory. 

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9 hours ago, PattyG said:

Meera just got fired in the first episode.  Vivian said she had known Mark for 6 months just before introducing him to her children.  Timing doesn't support your theory. 

Oh okay!  I missed when Vivian said that.   Was it mentioned how they met?  

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I'm wondering if the why is more important that the who regarding the victim. Sort of a "it's not the crime, it's the coverup" situation.

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Didn't Mark say his daughter's name was Sophie?  Did I imagine that?  Crap, I think I need to go back & re-watch both episodes....

Edited by leighdear

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5 hours ago, 12catcrazy said:

Oh okay!  I missed when Vivian said that.   Was it mentioned how they met?  

Not that I recall.  

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8 hours ago, 12catcrazy said:

Oh okay!  I missed when Vivian said that.   Was it mentioned how they met?  

I thought she mentioned in passing that they met through an online dating site.

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8 hours ago, 12catcrazy said:

Oh okay!  I missed when Vivian said that.   Was it mentioned how they met?  

 

18 minutes ago, Rickster said:

I thought she mentioned in passing that they met through an online dating site.

A WIDOW'S dating site.

So, yeah. Wake up, Viv. 

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For someone who claimed to love the freedom she finally had since her husband died, Viv paired up with someone awfully quickly.

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This family is just the kind of hot mess that British TV has told me mostly fills up these sea side British towns, and I am here for it. It has a great cast which it was drew me in, but the possible murder mystery really hooked me. Its hard to pick which of the "kids" is the most messy, but I think that Vivian might say the knocked up mistress daughter, considering the affair her husband/their father had. The acting is all great though so they keep me interested even when the characters are making such terrible choices. 

I am kind of torn, because on the one hand, its really none of her kids business who Vivian dates. She is a grown woman who is fully capable of making her own choices, and while they are moving kind of fast, as she said, she is already in her 70s and if not now, when? On the other hand, Mark does seem like he is hiding something, and is really into getting married super fast, so they might have had a point after all. Granted, they dont know a lot of that and are seemingly mostly worried about money and are annoyed that their mom is moving on after their dad died, but I am pretty sure that Marks intentions are not just making a love match. 

I am assuming that the body is Mark, but I could be wrong.

Edited by tennisgurl
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Nice to see the younger sister finally dump her married jerk of a boyfriend. I find it more pathetic than anything else that she lied about being pregnant. After five years of sneaking around, I get why she did something so stupid and drastic. Though after five years of sneaking around, it should have been obvious the guy was never going to leave his wife.

The passive-aggressive Olympics with Mary and Mark by the fence was great. I wish there was a bit more of that.

I did not see DS Barbara Havers being the lawyer. That was a nice reveal.

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What the heck was Mary sewing from the scraps she cut up from the clothes Vivian gave her?  Ooh, I loved the looks she and Mark were giving each other from a distance when Viv left her to get into the car with Mark. If looks could kill!!

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8 hours ago, ECM1231 said:

What the heck was Mary sewing from the scraps she cut up from the clothes Vivian gave her?  Ooh, I loved the looks she and Mark were giving each other from a distance when Viv left her to get into the car with Mark. If looks could kill!!

It looked like she was making a quilt from the old children's clothing.   Actually a perfectly nice thing to do, except that it's Mary and she does everything in a creepy way.

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A little disappointed in last night’s episode. The plot seems to be moving at an awfully slow pace for a series that is wrapping up next week.

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Agreed.  I thought last week (episode 2) was also rather slow.  Maybe they should have made the series three episodes instead of four.

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Agreeing with the comments about the episode being slow.  But it looks as if the daughters' relationships have broken up and the son's "business relationship", seems to be getting more, uh, "personal".  The woman seems to be getting emotionally involved, anyway. 

And I'm confused about the younger daughter.  Is she really pregnant (I thought we had seen a pregnancy test kit in one of the prior episodes) and now saying she isn't, or was she never pregnant to begin with, as she told her lover?  All three of the adult "children" sure have their personality flaws.    And I'm still not sure that the victim is going to turn out to be Mark - would the show be THAT obvious after all of 3 episodes of mystery?  

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The younger daughter was never pregnant—she lied to her boyfriend to get him to leave his wife and be with her. When she saw them together at the beach, she finally realized he'd never give up his current family. So after five frickin' years, she finally broke it off with him. I'm glad they gave that to her instead of having the boyfriend get all self-righteous about being lied to about a baby that wasn't. 

If we saw a pregnancy test, I don't think we saw any results.

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Random observation: Francesca Annis has an amazing figure for any age. What a beauty! I’m really enjoying this show. When Helen and George were at the counseling session and she received several urgent texts from Jake, I couldn’t believe that she didn’t show the texts to George immediately as proof that she needed to excuse herself to respond. He really is too good for her. She is so self-important.

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I found the escalating tensions between Mary and Mark to be really interesting and well done.

I think that the son will end up being with his "client" rather than the wife he was desperately trying to win back.  However, he is referring to his client as a therapist type so he may solidly have her in the friends with benefits (and an apartment and money...) category.

Since the youngest sister told the older sister that she always had a crush on the husband, I wonder if that will go anywhere.

I can't believe that this all gets wrapped up next week.

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When Mark said he didn’t have a pic of his daughter on his current phone, I thought “Where is all his stuff? Has he totally moved out of where he was living to be with Vivian? Did he bring nothing other than toiletries and clothes to Vivian’s? No framed pics?” I am over-thinking this, I know. Loving Mary’s character and Imelda is crushing it. 

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I want to like Mary because she seems like a devoted friend, but the fact that she sneaks into Vivian's house and goes through her things makes me dislike her immensely.  She's downright creepy. 

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