Tuesday, June 2, 2015

David Tennant Week: Takin' Over the Asylum

Welcome back readers and I do hope you enjoyed yesterday's series and watched it in its entirety. Moving on to Day 2 of David Tennant Week we flashback to the year 1994... while some of us were just graduating high school, others were being born and smathering of us were listening to Metallica: Black. This time around we look into BBC Scotland providing us a drama about a radio station within a whacko basket... that is a pyschiatric hospital. Another six part mini-series at a fictional hospital St Jude's Asylum. This is Takin' Over the Asylum.

Gooooood Morning Glasgoooooooowwww!!!!

Our story revolves around aspiring DJ/ insulation window glazing salesperson Eddie McKenna (Ken Stott of Your Cheatin' Heart, All Good Things, Elvis and the Colonel: The Untold Story, Shallow Grave, Rhodes and The Boxer) operating his normal business hours of people taking their sweet ass time on window panes they can afford and what would look smashing with the exterior as well as the interior. While this soul crushing work pays for his bills, Eddie really wants to dazzle the world with his radio personality all the while be a functioning alcoholic. At St. Jude's he encounters a pantheon of folk with a variety of mental illnesses.

Hallo, I'm the Nutter.  Just the Nutter.

There's young Campbell (David Tennant of The Tales of Para Handy, A Mug's Game, Jude, Duck Patrol, Terry McIntyre, Doctor Who: Dreamland, The Catherine Tate Show and The Decoy Bride) a helpful and sometimes insightful lad that has an askew look on life one minute and then just concrete the next due to his bi-polar. There is the schizophrenic electrical engineer Fergus (Angus Macfadyen of Braveheart, Alias, Saw III, Saw IV, Eleventh Hour, Californication, We Bought a Zone and Assassins Run) who has a habit of escaping the premises but commonly just return back before there is any issues. Yeah no serial killer patient at the hospital thus far so bummer. Long time depressive Francine (Katy Murphy of Dangerfield, Roughnecks, A Mug's Games, Mike & Angelo, Fish and Cemetery Junction) who self inflicts wounds on herself and Eddie has a soft spot for and lastly Rosalie (Ruth McCabe of The Bargain Shop, Fatal Inheritance, Scarlett, Silent Witness, The Fitz and Wild About Harry) A housewife approaching middle age with OCD on cleanliness to the point of sterilizing people as they pass her in the halls and confused to the impeding divorce from her husband.

This basket of mixed nuts are the cornerstone of the story arc as each have their own reasons, illnesses and dreams being put on hold due to the mental issues. This is much drama as there is comedy but at the end of the day it feels truer to life than the film Awakenings. Each title of the mini-series is named after a Beatles tune which really maks it embrace its surroundings along with the musical score blends so well with the soundtrack and all the action in the foreground it makes me wonder why America has rarely produced something so dark, witty and loving. I guess a story of nuts in the nut house have to be kooky, pants dropping and lighting things on fire every day. A tad monotonous to say the least.

And now it is time for those wacky fun facts!!

The scenes in the hospital were filmed in Gartloch Psychiatric Hospital in Glasgow, before it closed up. Interestingly enough, many of the extras in the scenes were actually former patients, David Tennant bowed out of the BAFTA Awards Ceremony so Angus Macfadyen's girlfriend at the time, Catherine Zeta-Jones could go in his stead.   

Absolutely no Nickelback!  Drives the patients spare.