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Revelations & London Bridge


vote4llama

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I don't know how I came across these 2 primetime British soaps from the 90s. I found these two short videos advertising their DVD releases on youtube. They look pretty low budget

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/-FcFkch93jU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/VgvQpRqJDs0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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'Revelations' is a cult classic from Russell T. Davies during his early soap days; he was involved with the final months of the daytime serial 'Families.' 'Revelations' was a tawdry tale about a minister's family with Judy Loe (mother of Kate Beckinsale) playing the mother from hell. There were three children: Lenni (married with a kid), Gabriel (a sexually confused drug addict), and Charlie (a teen hellraiser). The first series involved Gabriel's marriage to Rachel and his relationship with his best pal Thomas. Gabriel's sister Charlie was also infatuated with Thomas, but I think Thomas ended up pining for Gabriel. Lenni's husband Mark was a louse so she bedded his best friend Jimmy. Edward became involved with the church secretary, Anne, and she was set to have his baby. Anne took a tumble down the stairs during a fight with Edward and died. Jessica came in to clean up the mess. In the early days of youtube, there was a clip of Anne / Edward / Jessica. There use to be a youtube promo for Rachel / Jessica / Gabriel, but who knows if it is still there.

The second series dealt with the lesbian relationship between a new vicar and the Rattigan housekeeper, Mary. Mark's family became involved in the story. Mark's mother Ruth seemed to insert herself into the drama while Mark's brother became a romantic interest for Charlie.

There are 50 episodes of 'Revelations.'

I confuse 'London Bridges' and 'Castles'. I seem to recall reading that people saying they tunned out once the initial murder mystery storyline played out. The BFI (British Film Institute) states there were 260 episodes. I guess it was fairly popular or lasted long enough to make quite a few episodes.

I hope this makes it stateside.

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  • 3 months later...
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More than a decade ago, I was introduced to 'Revelations' in conversations between British soap fans on a primetime soap board. This show has intrigued me ever since so I broke down and bought the DVD determined to find a way to watch it. Apparently, you can change the DVD region on your laptop a limited number of times. Hopefully, this means I can leave it in Region 2 and continue to watch other Region 2 DVDs.

I saw the first four episodes of 'Revelations' yesterday. It has a rather slow start, and I always seem to forget the show was tape like the daytime soaps rather than on video. Visually, the Rattigan house is stunning and the location work is wonderful. Gabriel takes Rachel to a place in the woods where he found a wounded bird growing up and there were beautiful shots of the grounds. I'm surprised by the camera angles; a couple of scenes open with Gabriel opening his eyes to realize what he has done. They are very powerful. There is a shot of Rachel's wedding dress in the opening episode bathed in sunlight which is equally stunning.

There is limited use of music, but the music is very moody. It is highlighted in the clip of above used to promote the series. You can feel the tension building. When Gabriel and Jessica have a rather important conversation, all you can hear is the ticking of a pocketwatch reminding the viewer how precious time is and heightens the emotional intensity of the scene. When Jessica announces to Edward she doesn't think her son's marriage will last, shown in the above clip, you can hear a storm brewing in the background.

While I've found the episodes slow, they are engaging. The power struggle over Gabriel Rattigan is particularly fascinating. Gabriel has married Rachel hoping married life will calm his wild ways and plans on resuming his painting career. Rachel desperately loves Gabriel, but she feels alone in the country with the tight knit Rattigan clan. Jessica loves Gabriel, too; however, she isn't convinced the marriage to Rachel will last. For now, Jessica is trying to save the marriage by controlling Gabriel's methadone treatment and hiding Gabriel's excessive drinking. Thwarting Jessica is Charlotte Rattigan, Gabriel's teen sister, who has a near incestous love for her brother. Jessica encourages Gabriel's drinking and is openly hostile towards Rachel, who Charlotte thinks is a bore. It is Charlotte who has lured Gabriel from the Lodge on the Rattigan estate to the main house to get drunk off their father's booze. During Gabriel's drunken monologue about Charlotte's spoiled behavior, Charlie gets physically close to Gabriel; I kept waiting for her to kiss him. It may have happened had mother Jessica not returned home.

I can see why Judy Loe was considered the standout. She is marvelous as the loving wife of the Bishop who enlists her family's help in keeping Gabriel in line, while secretly harboring feelings of dread. Considering later turn of events, I can only imagine how mesmerizing she will be.

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The fifth and sixth shows add a bit more to the drama. Lenni, the oldest Rattigan daughter, returns home after learning her husband has been having an affair with a secretary at his office. Lenni's return interrupts a phone call Jessica gets from her husband, Edward, who is in a hotel room he has been sharing with his secretary. The irony doesn't go unnoticed as there is a neat a scene of Lenni sitting in the kitchen at night after everyone's suppose to be in bed. Edward emerges from the shadows to talk to Lenni about her feelings. During the course of the conversation, Lenni asks Edward if he could ever do such a thing to mom. As if this wasn't all delicious enough, the episode ends with Jessica taking Edward to task for his treatment of Anne and hopes he treats her better on their romantic rendezvouses than he does at the office.

Carl, there is a novel based on the first season of "Revelations." I got it many years ago and began to reread it last fall when it was announced 'Revelations' had been released on DVD. In some ways, the novel moves much smoother than the series as it highlights a lot of the relationships and can cover more story. Overall, I'm finding the DVDs a real pleasure.

Charlie is a bit of a nuissance as she attempts to lead Gabriel astray. When Thomas arrived, Charlie kept trying to get the two men to drink with her. She remains out of her element with Thomas, the pianist, and Gabriel, the painter. All of these artists and all Charlie can do is skip school.

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I'm up to episode 10. It kills me there are only 13 episodes released so far. I hope the rest of season one will be released soon.

Anyway, episode 10 is absolutely amazing, which is quite a feat since episode 9 was quite a ride. In ten, Edward returns home to the Rattigan home to be confronted by Jessica after visiting Anne. Jessica had sent him in order to convince Anne to have an abortion. As Jessica asks about the situation, Edward reveals, in parts, Anne has died after a fall down a flight of stairs. In the ensuing conversation, Jessica tries to pry the information from Edward. Edward has pushed Anne, but he doesn't tell this to Jessica. In fact, Loe doesn't even play it like Jessica suspects Edward of anything. If anything, she truly believes it is an accident, while aware the details are a bit murky. As Jessica tries to put together the situation, she realizes Edward has left phone messages on the answering machine. Edward begs Jessica not to send him back to Anne's place. Jessica agrees to go herself. I found it all reminiscent of Lady MacBeth.

Jessica arrives at Anne's home at night. She presses the answering machine and we follow Jessica through Anne's home while Edward's messages play. It all incredibly chilling watching Jessica listen to all of Edward's words to Anne, while she travels upstairs and discovers the bed where Edward and Anne had consumated their relationship. Loe's reaction to the bed is amazing as Edward's words from the answering machine echo through the empty house. As Jessica prepares to delete the messages, a final message is heard from Anne's mother wondering about how she has been, reminding us that Anne had a life outside of the Rattign ans and Market Cross. Equally chilling is Edward at the Rattigan home responding to baby Ben's cries clearly haunted by the cries of Anne's unborn child.

As if all this wasn't enough, Gabriel, Rachel, Thomas, and Charlie move their date from the restaurant to the Lodge where Gabriel continues to appear jealous of Charlie and Thomas' relationship. Things become tense when Thomas asks Gabriel, in Rachel and Charlie's presence, if he and Charlie can stay in the guest room. It is clear Thomas is looking for a reaction. Gabriel concedes and heads off to bed with Rachel. Later, we find Thomas standing alone in the kitchen in the middle of the night in just his underwear drinking a glass of milk. Gabriel joins him, and they speak of their misspent youth breaking into the Lodge. Reflecting on their past, it becomes increasingly clear how close Gabriel and Thomas were. If the subtext wasn't clear, their parting hug, which turns to a kiss confirms any lingering suspcion. While Thomas intends to have a much more passionate encounter, Gabriel stops him and leaves for bed, and Rachel.

I hope more will be released soon. In the meantime, I'm going to try and string out the last few episodes. I'll be lucky if I make it to the weekend.

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I'm currently on episode 8 of the Revelations set having not seen it since it was aired originally and I was only 10 years old. Some of it is creaky but a lot of that's down to the affectation of the characters themselves. The 'poshness' can be irritating - Rachel Rattigan in particular makes me want to punch the screen. I also think it's a very odd format for a show like this and perhaps it would have been better as an hour long primetime drama.

That said it's a brilliantly twisted show. The scene where Jessica Rattigan meets her husband's mistress for dinner in her husband's place and tries to manipulate her into having an abortion is chilling and brilliantly observed. Yes it descends into an argument but it's far above the "you bitch, you slut" Stephanie/Brooke type histrionics. It's equally venomous but absolutely based in the truth of the characters with Judy Loe being astounding. It's hard to tell what she loves more - personal pride, status, her husband.

Remembering where the story heads, it still seems a long way off where the plots currently are. Hopefully Network will keep releasing to see it through.

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A sidenote to add, I bought London Bridge at the same time which I had similar memories of (I think it started around the same time that Revelations had its second run) but I can't bring myself to sit through the DVD after a few episodes. It's fine but it just doesn't have anything unique about it. It's like a pastiche of what a 90s ITV executive thought the 20something demo should be watching in a soap.

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Thanks for the descriptions. I'm not too interested in this, mostly because I'm a little tired of RTD shows, but I did want to hear more about Ben Hull. I've seen some of him, and his beautiful bottom, on Hollyoaks, and thought he had real talent. Too bad he doesn't do more. I think he was almost cast on Corrie as Nick Tilsley, until they cast the wizened, talent-free Ben Price.

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That's a shame although I get your ambivalence re: RTD. One of the interesting things about Revelations is it has so many soap names in the credits: Yvon Grace, Paul Marquess, Tony Wood, Carolyn Reynolds. It always interests me to see soap producers that are demonised by the likes of Digital Spy doing 'lowly' script editor jobs at the start of their careers.

Ben Hull gets good physical exposure on the first 2 or 3 episodes but it's an underwritten joke role really. Just a horny teenager that Charlie Rattigan shags and humiliates a couple of times.

The Nick Tilsley thing's interesting though, I hadn't heard that. Would have been interesting to see a different take on that mess of a character.

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Yvon Grace was behind the 2003 revamp of 'Crossroads.' I believe her catch phrase was 'I want to bring Dallas to tea time,' or something along those lines.

James, I see what you mean about the format, but, as the episodes progress, I think it finds its footing. I think the events surrounding the wedding are a bit rushed and some of the relationships could have benefitted from having more time to move. A couple of the sequences with Gabriel / Rachel in the Lodge do absolutely nothing for me, and I am confused over their purpose.

As I said, I recently reread the book, which makes some of the subtext much clearer. In the book, Jessica is written a bit more controlling from the begining whereas I don't really get the sense Jessica is in control in the series until the moment at the end of episode 5 or so when we learn she knows all about Edward's affairs. In early episodes, I find Jessica's motivation incredibly rationale other than her offhand comment to Edward about Rachel and Gabriel's marriage. I stopped reading around the time of Anne's death and will put off the reading in hopes that there will be another set of episodes released soon.

Charlie's rather obnoxious so I paid little attention to Ben Hull's Nick. I wonder if Nick returns in the episodes soon. I'm on episode 11, and I'm unsure when the big fall out comes in terms of the Rachel / Gabriel / Thomas / Charlie situation.

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Finally got around to viewing the final installment on Volume One. I thought Sally Robinson stepped it up a notch in Rachel's confrontation with Gabriel. She had a very interesting line about being an artist like Gabriel because she created the idea of the man she married. I think the problem with Rachel is there doesn't seem to be much at stake. Granted, her marriage is being threatened, but would it really be terrible for her to return to London? I guess I'm trying to say Rachel feels out of place in Market Cross. Maybe if she had more ties I would feel worse about the possibility of her marriage failing. She is just so isolated that I don't feel the ramification of the revelation.

With that said, I think the relationship with Edward is important. There is something about Robinson that reminds me of Margo Gunn, the actress who played Edward's mistress, Anne. I feel like Rachel is the type of woman that Edward would have an affair with so I can see how the emotional connection develops between them.

Charlie is annoying.

Some of the scenes between Lenni and Jimmy are very theatrical. I know Lenni's story isn't the most exciting, but there is something about it that I adore. I loved Lenni sitting at her father's knee looking for advice on her marriage. It was so childish, and yet it worked for Lenni. Lenni seems to have fallen off her pedestal and is humbled by the affair. I enjoy it. I like how Jimmy and Lenni have a history, like Gabriel and Thomas. Usually, when soaps are doing multiple adultery plots, it is annoying, but 'Revelaitons' utilizes the thematic links to develop the individual stories further.

I'm sort of disappointed with the lack of a cliffhanger, but I do hope Network DVD releases future volumes. The end of the first season becomes quite wild from what I heard, and season two is even more wicked.

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