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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!

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  1. Flipping heck Ruth, that was wee your pants funny! Brightened up my day :)

  2. I nearly fell off the chair laughing, that’s hilarious! My mom is exactly the same except she tends to talk herself to sleep, wakes up 10 minutes later and complains that it just doesn’t make sense, who is this supposed to be?? Why can’t they introduce a new character properly?? Still love watching TV with my mom though…

  3. Brilliant post! I hope your MA writing is coming along well and that you publish a novel or a collection of short stories at the end of it–you really a a natural writer. And–I know you said you weren’t going to embellish–but Eddie Redmayne on your couch?! Good lord. What a gorgeous man. Lucky you!

  4. Despite his boyish look (I usually go for a more manly look) I really fancy that Eddie redmayne. He reminds me of a an older mikey from the goonies who I also had a crush in at 9.

  5. Squeeeeeeek!!!! That’s SO funny!!! Like a scene from my lounge when Downton Abbey is on – with my hubby and son doing the part of your Mum! (ie ‘How come she’s so flat chested’? ‘How can she get into bed with HIM – hope they’re paying her enough’ …. you get the picture. Hilarious!

  6. hahaha!!! I love it!
    My husband does a similar thing, but his his technicsl stuff ( mostly) i.e. “well that would NEVER happen because…blah blah blah “..drives me nuts!

    must catch up on this series tho


  7. That was funny!
    I didn’t see it.
    Now I don’t have to
    But what I want to know is…
    … what did Mr Bear think of it? :) xx

  8. It’s a mother’s job to be annoying. I know I annoy my daughter all the time (and get told off by her, for it). But, you see, my daughter knows everything, has done since she was about 11! Maybe she wanted to have some catch time with you, Ruth? .. Love to hear your Mum’s version LOL :D xx

    • @Mel aw, it didn’t annoy me, I found it amusing enough to write about it! Mum’s version would probably be very similar except she’d say that I talked all the way through, not her! Hahaha…

  9. what we really want to know is Did Mr Bear Fall Asleep !!!???

  10. Ha! That is funny. But I do recommend the book…I even cried at it (we did it in school). But don’t read on the train. The sex bits are WRIGGLEY CRINGESOME.

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