Sunday, June 21, 2020

Honourable Mention: Neverwhere

So, back in 1996 the BBC aired Neverwhere – based on a concept by Neil Gaiman and Lenny Henry and I was really excited about it. The concept of a hidden London beneath London, an urban fantasy, was compelling and I remember being disappointed (though not so by the novel). It looked cheap – actually partly due to it being shot on video but lit for film as it was going to be treated to look like it had been shot on film, and then not being treated. I disliked the way the characters were constructed as well and I fairly have forgotten it over the years.

Paterson Joseph as Marquis de Carabas
However, I re-discovered it had a vampire aspect (indeed there is a vampire character) and so I re-watched it. Time has been kind, it held together better than I remember and some of the performances, especially Paterson Joseph as Marquis de Carabas, were wonderful (others perhaps were a tad BBC). The show still needed a lot more fleshing out, both of characters, setting and plot, but it was better than I remember.

Door and Richard
So city worker Richard Mayhew (Gary Bakewell) stops to help a destitute looking girl, Door (Laura Fraser), and loses his controlling fiancée Jessica (Elizabeth Marmur, Forever Knight & Blood) in the process. It seems Door is being hunted and he finds the mysterious Marquis de Carabas for her, who agrees to help for the price of a significant favour. However, when she has left with the marquis, Richard discovers that people can no longer see him and he had lost both job and flat. He has become a denizen of London below against his will.

Tamsin Greig as Lamia
He, of course, ends up both accompanying her as she tries to discover who killed her parents and, of course, becomes the hero of the piece (this is essentially a retelling of the hero quest at heart). Anyway, later into the series he is passed by a member of the Velvet, gothic looking ladies, and catches her eye. She approaches him in the Floating Market , introduces herself as Lamia (Tamsin Greig, Going Postal) and seems to mesmerise him into hiring her as a guide.

stealing his 'warmth'
Lamia and Richard fall back from their companions and she turns her charms on him, saying that she is cold and he is warm and asking him to give her some of his warmth as payment for being their guide. He agrees and she sucks his warmth out – later literally described as life – and leaves him literally starting to freeze. She is going back for more when he is rescued by de Carabas, who makes her return his life and tells Richard that she was going to make him a cold thing like her. Though the V word is not used, she is clearly an energy vampire. Whilst we see her pass by in a couple of episodes, she is only in one in any level of substance and then only fleetingly.

The imdb page is here.

On DVD @ Amazon US

On DVD @ Amazon UK

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