Monday, July 28, 2008

Catherine Cookson

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of British period dramas. And I'm really pleased to say that I think I've about completed (or at least as complete as it's likely to get) my collection of TV movie adaptations of the books of Catherine Cookson. I've been looking for the movies on DVD for a few years now.

A million years ago (or 9, whichever), there was a show on the Romance Classics channel (now WE) called "Tea with Fi". I remember very little about the show - it was a wrapper around an hour of British drama - except that I regularly referred to it as "Catherine Cookson Theater."

I seem to recall the show being on in the middle of the afternoon, so I must have Tivoed it (I got my first Tivo in late 1999, I think). I can't remember what started me watching, but they might have mentioned Cookson's name, which I knew from the 1997-98 season of "Masterpiece Theatre," during which they showed an adaptation of "The Wingless Bird." I absolutely fell in love with this movie, and remember telling a friend the entire plot over lunch one afternoon when I was in grad school.

After seeing that adaptation, I started looking for the books in the library. Seems like I couldn't find many when I was in Texas (I was probably only going to the school library, which I doubt has a lot of historical romance), but have since borrowed or bought a bunch of her novels. She wrote more than 100, I believe, and they tend to blend together after a while, but they are usually entertaining.

When they were showing "Tea with Fi" (which only lasted 2 seasons, apparently), I remember seeing "Colour Blind," "The Cinder Path," "The Moth," "The Rag Nymph" and "The Round Tower," at least. There are others that seem familiar, but it's hard to remember which I read and which I saw.

For some reason "The Cinder Path" really stuck in my memory. I doubt it was because of Catherine Zeta Jones, although I remember recognizing her. So the new collection has it in it, and I watched last night. Now I'm watching "A Dinner of Herbs," which I am not familiar with.

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