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The old adage that “it’s not the destination—it’s the journey” has never been more true than in Us, the hilarious and heartbreaking new miniseries starring Tom Hollander (Baptiste, The Night Manager) and Saskia Reeves (Roadkill, Luther); a whirlwind tour of Europe’s most iconic cities; and a last-ditch attempt to save a marriage. The two-part adaptation of David Nicholls’ bittersweet, bestselling novel, premieres Sunday, June 20 at 9/8c on MASTERPIECE on PBS.

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Today I received a notice from PBS that this starts Sunday.  I'll watch because it sounds interesting.  

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I'll be watching, too.  I'm just happy to have something to watch on PBS on Sunday nights.  I don't count concerts.  Boo, music.

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Anyone watch?  I thought it was good, interesting. 

Is Cat supposed to be the requisite loud American?  

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I was enjoying it immensely and then Mr. ECM walked in and started conversing. It being Father's Day and all that, I didn't want to shush him. 

So, I missed a bit. In the flashback wasn't that a female baby? I'm a bit confused by the time line. They've been married 20 years and Albie is a teen, so exactly how old is Albie? Did their first baby die early on and she immediately got pregnant with Albie? I thought he was about 18 but maybe he's supposed to be younger?

 

It was interesting that only the husband was shown having flashbacks to their earlier days. It will be interesting to see how the wife views their courtship and early days.

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I watched it and thought the two actresses playing the younger version of the wife and the older actress were too different in their personalities and, of course, looked nothing alike.  The younger and older actors playing the husband were fine.

They were extremely lenient parents.  My son would never have brought a complete stranger into his bedroom for sex, and it was in the next room so his parents could hear.  He just met this obnoxious hippy girl and they're off to the bedroom.  🙄 

I really like Tom Hollander.

 

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3 hours ago, ECM1231 said:

They've been married 20 years and Albie is a teen, so exactly how old is Albie? Did their first baby die early on and she immediately got pregnant with Albie? I thought he was about 18 but maybe he's supposed to be younger?

I fear the baby girl must die at some point, based on what they said when they first got to Paris.  Something like there should have been four and they keep wondering what she would have been like. 

Albie is 17.  Too young and sensitive to be running around Europe alone, that's for sure.  I think they're doing a good job of showing a young guy on the brink of manhood.  Picking up girls, having sex,  and bravely defending them against jerky businessmen one minute, nervous about making a phone call to a hotel manager the next.  Little things like navigating airports can be daunting to a young person.  I missed a flight connection when I was 15 because I thought we would be told more emphatically when the plane was loading, not just some mumbling over the intercom that I wasn't really listening to. My dad was so angry.  

2 hours ago, DonnaMae said:

I watched it and thought the two actresses playing the younger version of the wife and the older actress were too different in their personalities and, of course, looked nothing alike.  The younger and older actors playing the husband were fine.

Gosh yes, I don't know when I've seen such broad casting.  Age changes us a lot, but we don't go from a fantasy girl with a sexy overbite, broad cheekbones and tiny nose into a narrow faced woman with a prominent nose over time.  

I like Tom Hollander, too, even though he has made me hate him in more than one period piece.  

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I tuned in about a half hour in and saw a young woman in what looked like a very bad yellow wig.   I thought she was annoying, so I changed the channel.  

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55 minutes ago, Crashcourse said:

I tuned in about a half hour in and saw a young woman in what looked like a very bad yellow wig.   I thought she was annoying, so I changed the channel.  

Very strange haircut.

 

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16 hours ago, DonnaMae said:

He just met this obnoxious hippy girl and they're off to the bedroom.  🙄 

Ahh, this is the exact behavior we’re shown from the father in the flashback, except the parents weren’t as young. Ultimately, the son’s “hippie girl” won’t stay with him. I think he’ll be ok with that. 
 

I get why the mom is having a meltdown. She married before she had explored her own options for self-realization (weren’t they talking about their wedding in a flashback where she was clearly pregnant?). Now that her son is leaving the nest, she’s questioning what her life has been (or, could have been) about. Why she feels she can’t explore this within her marriage is the mystery. I guess it’s been hinted that the husband’s various idiosyncrasies or neuroses are somehow inhibitors? (Older songs, sung by Peggy Lee and Joni Mitchell come to mind.)
 

Yes, younger mom had some pretty bad hair, but I didn’t find it so distracting. I didn’t think the younger mom actress looked so terribly different from Saskia’s IMDb photo. 

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My recording cut off before the end; I’m trying to catch it in a repeat.

edited to add, I was able to catch the ending on streaming just now.

I didn’t think young Connie looked that different from older Connie. They married before she’d had a chance to explore life more, and (possibly) because they were expecting a baby, not because they were in love (or at least matured a bit more). From what was said, the baby girl died. A loss like that has a profound effect on the parents. 
The bickering sounds like a lot of longer-term married couples. They get along well enough, but have fallen in a rut, neither knowing how to bring changes that might be welcome.

I’m looking forward to the coming episodes.

Edited by zoey1996
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On 6/21/2021 at 6:38 AM, JudyObscure said:

Is Cat supposed to be the requisite loud American?  

Her accent and some words (such as Mum) and sentence phrasing weren't American, so I had to look this up, and her accent is described as Antipodean in the book.

I'm really enjoying the scenery.  The walk by the Seine before dinner was beautiful, though the dialogue in a similar walk after dinner seemed written like a play.  This is not a compliment.

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Question - what is she reading? I could see he’s reading about WW II (and is it a real book?) but I haven’t been able to see what she’s reading, or if it’s a real book.

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I was watching the first part as a recording in installments, a half hour or an hour at a time, and I was surprised when my recording cut off before the end, just as Connie and Douglas said on the phone that they missed each other.  I got the episode from on-demand and was shocked to see what was cut off: Douglas telling Albie that he shouldn't consider himself to be special.  Holy moly!  I've never heard a parent tell their child that.  Any sympathy I had for Douglas instantly evaporated.  Now I can see why that father-son relationship is so terrible, and it does make me wonder if that was why Connie suddenly wants to end the marriage.  In fact, I wonder if further flashbacks will show that he squashed her dreams as well, because we don't know much about her job, and she does put down her own art in the present.  Is the title Us an ironic remark on how this family seems to be about one person, not all of them?

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2 hours ago, One Imaginary Girl said:

Douglas telling Albie that he shouldn't consider himself to be special. 

Seeing Albie's chin quiver was heartbreaking, but I thought it was also heartbreaking to see his father's face when he realized how hurtful that remark was.  Douglas is afraid his son will have nothing but failure ahead if he continues to follow an artistic career path.  He thinks, like a lot of parents do, that the message to Albie's generation that "you be anything you want to be," "just follow your dreams,"  is a false message, setting innocent kids up for failure in the real world.  He just has no idea how to communicate that in a kind way.

The moment I (almost)  lost sympathy for Douglas was when he jumped in on the suits side in the restaurant when he didn't even know what was going on. 

Yet, I still like Douglas and I understand where he's coming from.  It's been easy for Connie to be the loving, supportive mother while her husband has gone to the boring job that provided them with the secure material surroundings, allowing the good schools, music and art lessons, and cool holidays.  I felt Connie and Kenneth sort of looked down on Douglas at times, and he felt that. 

I like all three, it will be good to see how they work it out.

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7 hours ago, One Imaginary Girl said:

I was surprised when my recording cut off before the end, just as Connie and Douglas said on the phone that they missed each other.  I got the episode from on-demand and was shocked to see what was cut off: Douglas telling Albie that he shouldn't consider himself to be special.  Holy moly!  I've never heard a parent tell their child that. 

Yes, that’s where mine cut off too. Glad I was able to see the remainder as well.
I was raised in the 50’s and 60’s, and we were raised as not being special, so that seemed OK to me. We were told that if we worked hard, made good choices, had some good luck, and made use of our talents, that we could be successful, but it wouldn’t happen just because we were “special” or “exceptional.”

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Experienced the cutting off too soon like above so DVRed the repeat of the first episode of Us scheduled later on PBS BUT you get an even more abbreviated version and some of the next show Seaside Hotel...grrrr

Connie plucking pubic hair from the pillow....that sums it up picking motels even with good reviews...

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I found myself feeling bad for Douglas even as he annoyed me to no end.   Seeing his and Connie's back story, I guess opposites attract, but that's about it.  They were never really compatible for the long term, but a baby pushed them into marriage too soon to figure that out.

Douglas is entirely too overbearing with Albie, but I get his sadness at feeling left out of the relationship Albie has with his mom.  That scene where he sees his wife and son laughing together at the table was crushing. 

I hope Douglas finds some peace from his anxieties, and meets someone who can appreciate him for his quirks instead of barely tolerating him becasue of his quirks.  Albie will be fine.  I don't know what adventures Connie wants in her life, so hope she is able to experience whatever she feels she missed out on.

Edited by izabella
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I love Tom Hollander (discovered him in "The Night Manager"). I love the locations of this series. The acting is brilliant. (I detested the character Kat, however.)

But the "ending"? I thought my recorder cut out early! 

Should have been more episodes for meeee! The ex-Mrs. Petersen ("3 'e's") should be shown learning about that greener grass truism. 

And the Trivia Quiz scenes? I understood Douglas totally! He was proud of his knowledge [See: "The Chase," Contestants and Chasers On] to the extent of his ego's needs outweighing his better angel's caution to remain silent and let Connie's  team "win." 

That would be, in my imaginary future episodes, the struggle for Douglas: To recognize when being right, when being honest, and when being structured, are poor seconds in relationships to being honorable, to being loving, and to being "in the moment." To recognize  that to be human is to transcend our "biochemistry."

Edited by LennieBriscoe
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44 minutes ago, LennieBriscoe said:

Holy Moly! I just watched the full ending on Amazon Prime! You GO, Douglas! 🥰👍

What is the ending?  I saw the ending on PBS web site. It shows 

Spoiler

Douglas meeting Freya at the National Gallery in London .  

Is there something more?

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I was checking out Prime just now and I see it’s one of their extra pay channels. I have a feeling you don’t have to pay for this to watch this material.  You can watch the same thing on the PBS web site.

BTW The thumbnail for the last episode on Prime shows 

Spoiler

Them sitting in the National Gallery.  

Not fair to spoil it in the thumbnail. 

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4 hours ago, GussieK said:

What is the ending?  I saw the ending on PBS web site. It shows 

Is there something more?

Nothing more---but my recording hadn't  included that! (I would add that your Spoiler doesn't go far enough!)

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I liked Freya, and I think they'll be happy together.

That was a big surprise finding out that Albie is gay, but Douglas handled it well.

I've read that those jelly fish stings are terribly painful and can actually stop the heart.  I wonder kind of surgery he had on his heart.

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I have more time to post now.  I really thought Douglas was the biggest jerk throughout--but a well-meaning jerk.  I think he was learning things by the end.  The trivia contest had to be one of the cringiest scenes I've ever seen.  He and Connie never seemed well-matched.  I really liked the ending. 

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4 hours ago, DonnaMae said:

I wonder kind of surgery he had on his heart.

He said he had a stent put in.

I was so happy for him and Freya at the end.  

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I've only seen the first episode so far, and it's okay.  I don't particularly care for either main character, dislike the son and absolutely hate Zoe, but the locations are wonderful.  I do want to see what happened to the daughter, so I'll stick with it.

I think the wife's reason for wanting to end the marriage were stupid.  Why not just try making some changes in their lives first rather than just ending it?  And while the husband was harsh in how he told the son, the kid really did need to be told that he might be talented but almost nobody makes much of a living with art.

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I gave up when Mr. Stupid not only left the bag on the train when stepping off for a snack (which nobody would do especially in a big city) and then made no apparent attempt to get it back.I'm sure the station could contact the train and have a conductor look for it before it reached the next stop.

15 hours ago, proserpina65 said:

I've only seen the first episode so far, and it's okay.  I don't particularly care for either main character, dislike the son and absolutely hate Zoe, but the locations are wonderful.  I do want to see what happened to the daughter, so I'll stick with it.

I think the wife's reason for wanting to end the marriage were stupid.  Why not just try making some changes in their lives first rather than just ending it?  And while the husband was harsh in how he told the son, the kid really did need to be told that he might be talented but almost nobody makes much of a living with art.

Unlike most of the commentators here I thought the son was obnoxious and the mother was enabling his bad behavior.

Edited by Dehumidifier · Reason: Dropped a consonant
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1 hour ago, Dehumidifier said:

I gave up when Mr. Stupid not only left he bag on the train when stepping off for a snack (which nobody would do especially in a big city) and then made no apparent attempt to get it back.I'm sure the station could contact the train and have a conductor look for it before it reached the next stop.

That scene gave me so much anxiety, because one of my biggest fears is having my purse stolen while in another city.  That's why I would never leave it unattended, for crying out loud.   Didn't Connie and Albie rib him about always warning them about pickpockets?  How convenient that he somehow had money to get bottled water, at least.  Did he borrow the money to get to Barcelona from Kat?   She did turn out to be a pretty good person, but asking for money from her was a step too far.

I wonder if this was a case of a filmed version of a book being not as good as the book.  It seemed kind of shallow--we don't really know why Connie wanted a divorce.  Doug appeared to be a jerk, but she apparently never said anything about it all this time, and their relationship seemed casual and warm a lot of the time.  We got a whole lot of storylines tied up with happy endings very easily.  But at least a TV version of the book made it easier to see the settings, and Barcelona was gorgeous.

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6 hours ago, Dehumidifier said:

 Unlike most of the commentators here I thought the son was obnoxious and the mother was enabling his bad behavior.

I agree.

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2 minutes ago, Crashcourse said:

The son reminded me of Justin Bieber, just a bit taller.

Minus all the tats, too....

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8 minutes ago, humbleopinion said:

Minus all the tats, too....

Yeah, it was really the face I was focused on.

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This may be the first time a Masterpiece offering was compared to SpongeBob SquarePants, but when Douglas got off the train for a snack I screamed, "NO!  You don't need a kelp bar!" referring to an episode where SpongeBob visited Rock Bottom and kept missing the train home for the sake of the vending machine.  It was a nightmare I tell you.

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On 6/28/2021 at 4:06 AM, LennieBriscoe said:

And the Trivia Quiz scenes? I understood Douglas totally! He was proud of his knowledge [See: "The Chase," Contestants and Chasers On] to the extent of his ego's needs outweighing his better angel's caution to remain silent and let Connie's  team "win."

The Trivia Quiz was indicative of the relationship between Douglas and Connie, and I found myself feeling badly for each of them, Albie too.

I was satisfied with the ending.  It looks like Douglas is coming to terms with the end of the marriage. Pleased that Connie and Douglas are able to come together to support Albie. I found myself hoping that Connie will find whatever she's searching for. Douglas and Freja together at the end indicated he is moving on to find some happiness for himself.

I started reading the book before watching the second episode. Douglas has just met Connie at one of his sister's parties. I felt for him there. I'm introverted, and while I enjoy being around others for short periods of time, my favorite time at a party is when I can leave. For him to stick around and start a relationship is taking him outside his comfort zone. Things develop from there.

 

Edited by zoey1996
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I am so glad Freja and Douglas ended up together. It says something about either me or the show that I kinda cared more about that than anything else that was going on. I wanted them together because I wanted Douglas to be happy, but I also really wanted Freja to be happy. I liked her better any of the other characters, kept hoping for her to come back into the story, and I didn't want someone so kind and warm to go unappreciated. Also, my goodness but Sofie Gråbøl is attractive.

Connie is a puzzle. I love that she handled the break-up in the kindest possible way, and said some truly lovely things to Douglas before she left -- that she loved being married to him, that she didn't regret a moment of it. But of course one then has to wonder, why leave? There's something a little terrifying about things falling apart even when they've gone really great, that someone can say, particularly with respect to a marriage: well that was lovely, time for something else now.

In my panic to make head or tail of it, I can only guess that while she loved Douglas, she loved her son, and the idea of the life she hadn't gotten to live, much more.

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I'm confused. I was away Sunday when the last episode aired and just watched it this evening. My DVR recorded up to where Connie and Douglas are at a gallery where Albie's photos were exhibited. There was more to the ending? How much more? 5 minutes worth or so? I have Amazon Prime but can it be viewed on PBS On Demand?

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Yes, a few more minutes. PBS usually has it available for maybe a week or so.

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On 7/3/2021 at 1:02 AM, ECM1231 said:

I'm confused. I was away Sunday when the last episode aired and just watched it this evening. My DVR recorded up to where Connie and Douglas are at a gallery where Albie's photos were exhibited. There was more to the ending? How much more? 5 minutes worth or so? I have Amazon Prime but can it be viewed on PBS On Demand?

For some reason my PBS station started this five minutes before nine and ended it a few minutes after eleven.  Aggravating!

All you missed were Connie asking Douglas if he'd like to go for a drink outside Albie's show and him saying. warmly, "Thanks but I've got plans" and then we see him sit down in a museum next to Freja and they smile at each other.

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On 6/22/2021 at 2:46 PM, One Imaginary Girl said:

Her accent and some words (such as Mum) and sentence phrasing weren't American,

The actress sounds Scottish to me.

On 6/28/2021 at 4:06 AM, LennieBriscoe said:

And the Trivia Quiz scenes? I understood Douglas totally! He was proud of his knowledge [See: "The Chase," Contestants and Chasers On] to the extent of his ego's needs outweighing his better angel's caution to remain silent and let Connie's  team "win." 

I totally would've pointed out that there was a miscalculation.

On 6/29/2021 at 12:04 AM, DonnaMae said:

Who is Zoe?  You mean Kat?

Yeah, I don't know why I thought her name was Zoe.  She was definitely better in the second part.

I found myself thinking better of everyone in the second part.  I see how Connie and Douglas ended up where they were, and Albie seemed more insecure little boy and less jerky teenager.  I do like that Douglas ended up with Freya; they definitely seemed more attuned to each other.

That scene of Douglas breaking down in the hospital parking lot actually made me tear up.  All I could think of was my nephew and his wife whose newborn son died right after birth back in January 2020.  Tom Hollander's performance in that moment felt very real to me.

 

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On 7/4/2021 at 7:01 AM, JudyObscure said:

For some reason my PBS station started this five minutes before nine and ended it a few minutes after eleven.  Aggravating!

All you missed were Connie asking Douglas if he'd like to go for a drink outside Albie's show and him saying. warmly, "Thanks but I've got plans" and then we see him sit down in a museum next to Freja and they smile at each other.

They then kiss and walk out.

The final shot is from the back, Douglas and Freja holding hands, gazing outward. 

Connie is the distaff version of Mid-Life Crisis Man, buying the proverbial red sports car and leaving hearth and home to pursue his vanished youthfulness.  

I must digress to add: I've found an older but still most delightful Tom Hollander TV series on Brit Box, called "Rev." He plays a modern and at times irreverent vicar in an "interesting" area of London. The esteemed Olivia Colman plays his wife. The show has all the hallmarks of a Tom Hollander vehicle: humor; drama; poignancy; silliness; sweetness; authenticity. Did I mention irreverence? Heh. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rev._(TV_series)

 

Edited by LennieBriscoe
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2 hours ago, LennieBriscoe said:

They then kiss and walk out.

The final shot is from the back, Douglas and Freja holding hands, gazing outward. 

Connie is the distaff version of Mid-Life Crisis Man, buying the proverbial red sports car and leaving hearth and home to pursue his vanished youthfulness.  

I must digress to add: I've found an older but still most delightful Tom Hollander TV series on Brit Box, called "Rev." He plays a modern and at times irreverent vicar in an "interesting" area of London. The esteemed Olivia Colman plays his wife. The show has all the hallmarks of a Tom Hollander vehicle: humor; drama; poignancy; silliness; sweetness; authenticity. Did I mention irreverence? Heh. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rev._(TV_series)

I simply love Tom's voice and accent! And I think the "Younger Douglas" actor is a superb mimic, down to his facial expressions!

 

 

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On 7/5/2021 at 8:59 PM, proserpina65 said:
On 6/22/2021 at 2:46 PM, One Imaginary Girl said:

Her accent and some words (such as Mum) and sentence phrasing weren't American,

The actress sounds Scottish to me.

I really had a hard time placing her accent. At times she sounded Irish, at others Scottish. I thought it was possible she had some northern English accent that I, the American non accent expert, might be unfamiliar with. It turns out the actress is northern alright, but Northern Irish, as according to her Wikipedia bio.

And you can definitely hear it in the way this young Irish gentleman speaks: https://youtu.be/OEaT4W7LL60

 

Edited by MJ Frog · Reason: Clarity
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On 7/5/2021 at 8:59 PM, proserpina65 said:

The actress sounds Scottish to me.

Thaddea Graham, who played Kat, was born in China and raised in Northern Ireland.  I was thinking the accent was more Glasgow, but still, not American.  It was more noticeable in the second part.

 

1 minute ago, MJ Frog said:

I really had a hard time placing her accent. At times she sounded Irish, at others Scottish. I thought it was possible she had some northern accent that I, the American non accent expert, might be unfamiliar with. It turns out the actress is northern alright, but Northern Irish, as according to her Wikipedia bio.

And you can definitely hear it in the way this young Irish gentleman speaks: https://youtu.be/OEaT4W7LL60

 

Great minds Google alike, lol.

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2 minutes ago, proserpina65 said:

I was thinking the accent was more Glasgow

It really did sound like that at times, didn't it?

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Aye, ye mean Glaswegian!

(In seven decades, I've  never had the excuse before to use that term!)

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I’m reading the book. I hope it’s OK to comment on the book here.

Anyway, in the book, Cat is from Auckland, New Zealand. 

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