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Watching Birdsong With Mother

birdsong bbcOn Sunday night I attempted to watch Birdsong, which is a new BBC drama, with my Mum. It’s an adaptation of a novel by Sebastian Faulks which you may or may not know – that’s not important. What is important is that it’s quite a serious and sad old story, or at least it would be if you didn’t have a running commentary from the person next to you.

Here’s the trailer for the two-part series:

and here’s my Mum’s monologue. She did stop for breathing time now and then, but mostly she just talked through it.

OK, press play. Press play! Where’s my wine? Oh it’s there. Where’s the cat? Oh Mr Bear! What are you doing Mr Bear? Don’t go to sleep, I won’t let you sleep you naughty little kitten!

[Pause for opening credits]

Why is that man singing? Oh my God, it’s awful. I hate Sebastian Faulks – I haven’t liked a single thing he’s written, not even Endleby.

[Me: It’s Engleby. Please be quiet.]

[Enter Eddie Redmayne]

OH MY GOD! What’s wrong with his lips? Why are they so huge? Is there something wrong with them? Hold on – what’s wrong with her lips? Why have they both got such strange lips?

Oh, he’s a solider now. In the war. He looks better as a soldier.

She doesn’t look old enough to have those children.

[I agree]

Look how many moles she has on her face. She has so many moles! Now he has loads of moles, it’s like they’re infectious! The moles are spreading!

[Clemence Poesy takes off her brassiere]


[Almost falls of chair. Mother, not Clemence Poesy.]

She is absolutely COVERED in moles! Oh, they’re going to have sex. Ugh. UGH.

[Me: general murmurs of agreement that the sex is rather unnecessary. We are prudish!]

What is he doing to her? Oh that is not necessary! Against a tree? There are people behind in the background, look!

[Both of us shout at TV: THERE’S SOMEONE BEHIND YOU!]

[Cut to trenches, WW1, bombs going off and people getting shot.]

Oh dear. He’s dead now.

[Me: I bet he’s not.]

No, look, they’re burying him.

[Me: then what would the second part be about? I bet he’s alive and his eyes will flicker as they start to dig his hole.]

No, he’s definitely dead.

[Me: he’s alive. I bet you anything.]


[Redmayne’s eyes flicker at the last moment.]

[Both: HE’S ALIVE!]

[End credits.]

Mum: that was rubbish.

[Me: watch it next week?]


So. If you missed the first part, there’s a quick summary for you – and a spoiler, of course! Should have warned about the spoiler before I started, really…

*disclaimer: I’d like to point out that none of the above opinions are mine – Eddie Redmayne and Clemence Poesy are both “proper lookers”, neither are that freckly/moley and Redmayne’s lips are a thing of wonder. He once lay on my couch, and that’s all I’ll say about the matter…. My Mum heckles just about anything that isn’t Friends or Lark Rise to Candleford!


  1. “PHILTRUM” that indention between the lip and nose. It was a tie as to whose face was more distracting. His bee-stung lips and freckles or her moles and PHILTRUM.

    So, I’m wondering, if her mouth gets really popular, will plastic surgeons start scooping our deep PHILTRUMS above people’s mouths, to create really dramatic, exaggerated Cupid’s Bow pouts like Clemence’s?

    Oh…they are already doing it?

  2. And HER lips, too….that little “cereal bowl” thing between the mouth and nose. What is that body part called? I kept looking to see if hers caught airborne particles, like belly buttons create lint. It was just “distracting,” as your Mum pointed out.


  3. Hi Ruth! They just premiered “Birdsong” in the US last night. I was glued to the TV watching it. Eddie Redmayne is quite the leading man. Gosh, he’s such a wonderful actor. I loved the first installment. Part two airs next Sunday, but I couldn’t wait and I found it on Youtube. Stayed up till 1AM to finish watching it. It was so sad, romantic, and tragic. Now I want to read the book. But throughout the movie, I kept remembering this blog post you wrote back in Jan. It made me crack-up. Eddie Redmayne was on your sofa? Wish you would share the back-story!

  4. I hope you realize that we will all riot if we don’t get next week’s installment now, word for word. Your mum sounds like so much fun:)

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