Enola Holmes and other good stuff to get you through Covid Winter

— by Alyson Walsh

Enola Holmes photo: Esquire

As we stumble into Covid Winter, it’s good to have a plan. So, I’ve been thinking about what got me through lockdown earlier this year: Yoga With Adriene (still doing it), mastering the art of coffee-making, walking and cycling in my neighbourhood, enjoying nature and taking my mind off the pandemic by tuning into some decent TV. Repeat for autumn but with warmer clothes and more books (currently reading, Laura Cumming’s On Chapel Sands which I can highly recommend). Oh and add bird-watching from the balcony to the list. As well as parakeets squawking in the trees opposite, there’s a family of Peregrine Falcons nesting in the bell tower across the road from That’s Not My Age Mansions. Birds of Prey. In South London. Who’d have thought it….

On the home entertainment front, I haven’t seen Stranger Things (That IS My Age) but Millie Bobby Brown is excellent as Enola Holmes, Sherlock’s teenage sister. Based on Nancy Springer’s Young Adult detective books the Netflix film features Helena Bonham Carter as the mother, Eudoria, who has raised her smart, intrepid daughter through home-schooling in martial arts, chess, literature (reading every book in the family library) and playing indoor tennis. On Enola’s 16th birthday, Eudoria mysteriously disappears. The film, set in 1884, follows Enola’s adventures as she searches for her mother, escapes boarding school (Fiona Shaw plays the school teacher), and all the while a reform act concerning women’s suffrage is going through the House of Lords. Henry Cavill is Sherlock Holmes and Sam Claflin plays Mycroft. Enola Holmes is directed by Harry Bradbeer (Fleabag) and written by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and His Dark Materials) – both cheering and warm, it’s just what we need right now. Looking forward to the sequel…


Catherine O’Hara as Moira Rose. Photo: Vanity Fair

Schitt’s Creek is quite possibly my favourite comedy, ever. The deserved winner of nine Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actress for Catherine O’Hara. The 66-year-old Canadian is superb as matriarch Moira Rose, with her collection of bonkers wigs, outlandish outfits and unique diction. We’re nearing the final season and I don’t want Schitt’s Creek to end…

There’s something lovely and calming about Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing. Series three of the BBC2 programme has just ended but all episodes are available on iPlayer. Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse are old friends in their early 60s who have both had heart surgery, and unusually for two middle-aged men are quite open about their health and emotions. I’m not the slightest bit interested in fishing but the programme is beautifully shot around the UK and, with two comics on a riverbank, very funny. As with Great Canal Journeys, this is not about life on the river, this is about life itself.

Meanwhile over on Channel 4, artist and social commentator Grayson Perry’s Big American Road Trip is worth watching for his natty leathers and customised bike, alone.

One film I’m looking forward to is The Forty-Year-Old Version written, directed and starring Radha Blank. This semi-autobiographical comedy and directorial debut is shot in New York, with Blank as a once-promising playwright turned teacher who starts rapping at the age of 40. The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year to rave reviews, achieving the US Dramatic Competition Directing Award. Official trailer HERE, The Forty-Year-Old Version is out now at Curzon Cinemas or wait till October 9 to see it on Netflix.


Radha Blank in The 40 Year Old Version


There’s a feature here on Making the Pandemic Winter a lIttle Easier. And don’t miss the latest, subscriber’s Ask Alyson: tips for bra-buying online in a pandemic.

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As we stumble into Covid Winter, it’s good to have a plan. So, I’ve been thinking about what got me through lockdown earlier this year: Yoga With Adriene (still doing it), mastering the ar…