Friday, June 24, 2011

'When Will There Be Good News?' - Television Adaptation

I'm sad that 'Case Histories' has finished. It's probably the only series of book adaptations, that I have felt stayed true to the original texts.

The last two programmes, a two part adaptation of Kate Atkinson's novel 'When Will There Be good News?' features private investigator Jackson Brodie, involved in a train accident and saved from the brink of death by teenage babysitter Reggie. As the plot develops, Reggie employs Jackson to investigate the disappearance of her employeer Joanna Hunter and the baby that Reggie cares for. Also throughout, Jackson continues to deal with his daughter Marlee living on the other side of the world and the complications of his love life.

In my other reviews (which you can find here, here and here), I previously talked about how well made this series is and also the success of the casting. However something that has struck me all of the way through this series, is that it's not only the main cast that should be praised, but also the smaller characters too.

I particularly liked Jackson's secretary Deborah (played by Zawe Ashton). Although I don't think that she is predominate in the 'Jackson Brodie' series of novels, I think that her sharp wit and no nonsense attitude, plays brilliantly against Jackson's sarcasm and dry humour. She tries to keep Jackson organized, both in his working and private life and I think Jackson and Deborah, make a great team.

Also I thought that the producers made great choices, when casting the younger characters within this series.

As I have said before, I think that the young actress who plays Marlee called Millie Innes, is wonderful. There is a tenderness with Marlee and Jackson's relationship and Innes brings a maturity to the role, which then helps Jackson to see sense in certain situations. I think if the producers of this series hadn't got Jackson and Marlee's relationship right, I think that this would have been a major flaw within the series. This is because in the books, their relationship plays a large part, in how Jackson lives his life.

Within 'When Will There Be Good News?' the part of teenager Reggie, played by actress Gwyneth Keyworth, is a key character within the story and I thought that she was excellent. Due to the fact that Marlee is away in New Zealand, Reggie fills some of the void that Jackson's daughter has left. Jackson takes Reggie under his wing and together, they have a good relationship. It is slightly different to the one that Jackson has with his daughter, but still full of humour and affection.

I have really enjoyed 'Case Histories' and I think that 'When Will There Be Good News?' has been the best adaptation, of the whole series. I look forward to the possibility of more Kate Atkinson adaptations on the BBC, in the future.

Have you seen this series? What was your overall opinion? What other novels would you like to see adapted for television or the big screen?


  1. Your 'Brodie reviews are great. You know the answer to your question - I will let you know when I have seen the adaptations.

  2. I'm definitely going to have to get this on DVD. Thanks for the great reviews - you've made it unmissable!

    Thanks too for your kind comments over on my blog - much appreciated. I've just read a review of the programme in the Guardian. Don't think Jo Brand is a fan - oh, well...this is the really tough bit, for an introverted author putting the book out there. Head above the parapet time!

  3. I also thought this was the best out of the three, as far as your comments regarding the younger characters I must agree, however my feelings are biased as it was my twin daughters that played baby Gabriel. This was Adriana and Juliana's first role and I was very pleased with the results.
    Julia & Mark Cairns

  4. Aguja, I'm glad that you enjoyed my reviews. I look forward to hearing your opinions on this too.

    Deborah, You're welcome about the comment, I hope that your book does well. I haven't seen the episode of 'The TV Book Club' which features your novel (will watch it tomorrow), but it must be hard to hear other people's opinions of it both bad and good. I know as a writer, I become very attached and protective about the things that I have written. Getting your book out there is a very brave step!

    Julia, thanks so much for getting in touch. It's really interesting to hear from someone who was involved in the making of this series. You must have felt very proud to see your children on the television!