Cordon: Episodes 9 and 10

Cordon Episodes 9 & 10

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The final episodes. Who lives? Who dies? Who still hasn’t got over the shower curtain scene? (Apart from me).

We continue where we left off with the door to the fire escape in the lab being smashed in. Despite my hopes to the contrary, it isn’t Jack Nicholson that comes through it, but Lars, Melissa and the men who were terrorising the outside on the bikes. Sam has a lighter and aerosol which he is using as a flame thrower to try and keep them back, but it runs out in about 10 seconds.

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When they discover it is a computer lab and not one which contains the drugs they are hoping for, Lars blames Melissa and is dragging her around by the hair. Jana is trying hard to hide from the man who she stabbed in the eye with her shoe and half blinded in the other eye with the pepper spray. He soon spots her though and chases her and punches her in the face, knocking her out.

Lex goes to see Gryspeerts and asks him why he hasn’t blogged about what they found out. The journalist tells him that he is scared and there is a lot at stake. They argue, but Gryspeerts phones his contact in public health, who says that he would need to see a copy of the files before he does anything. Lex agrees that the files are sent.

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Lien and Jokke are out looking for Tyl. A man tells Jokke about someone who is immune to the virus and he is drinking the urine from this person that he has bought, as it is said to have healing powers. Despite the fact it is probably reassuringly expensive, it’s unlikely to have the taste or aroma of Stella Artois.

Lex is telling Nald about what he has found out and is asking how the cordon was up so quickly and that Cannaerts and Lommers are responsible. Nald is disbelieving and asking why he would believe some old journalist who stitched him up rather than his friends and colleagues.

Jana comes round and is asking Melissa if anyone touched her. It seems they were all too drugged up to do anything. Lars and co have gone, but have left one of the men in the area outside the office before the lifts as he is infected. Melissa and Ineke have stayed. Jana is scrubbing herself down in the shower, but thankfully with no shower curtain action.

Jana and Sam have an intimate moment and kiss. She tells him that they are all going crazy and then says “Stop. Leave me alone”. She’s such a tease.

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Lommers is skyping Cannaerts and telling him that questions are being asked. He has to make sure all traces have been removed and the truth is what they say it is. She will stop the questions at her end.

Lex is with the team investigating the shooting that Nald did last week and the story seems to pan out. The money that was paid by the people escaping the cordon has gone, but the investigator will follow the trail.

Lex phones Gryspeerts. He doesn’t answer. Lommers is with him.

Sam and Melissa go out of the lab to get powdered milk for Ineke’s baby and for some food. Jana tells them to ask for Jokke. One of the men at the supermarket tells Jokke there are people there to see him and when he asks who, he replies “Cinderella and Bob the Builder”. But it’s just Sam and Melissa.

Sam buys a gun from the remaining brother at the supermarket and is asked if he wants to escape the cordon. “I’ve heard that story before” he says.

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The man that Lars and co left behind, Remco, manages to burst through the doors at the lab, causing untold panic, but dies before he can do too much damage.

Lex is set to meet Gryspeerts in an underground car park, where all shady dealing takes place, but Lommers turns up and asks if he is waiting for someone. She tells him that he needs to go to a psychiatrist after the shooting incident with Nald. After telling her that he is meeting one of his men, she says that “you can’t trust some people can you?” and gives him a knowing look.

Lex goes to see Gryspeerts who says that he had taken a sleeping pill and slept through their arranged meeting. Gryspeerts tells him that there isn’t anything that his contact has revealed and they may have got the dates wrong that suggested the scenarios for dealing with the cordon had been drawn up before the outbreak. Lex says the dates have been changed and attempts to upload the files from his mobile phone, but it doesn’t seem to be working. When he goes to his office to retrieve the files from his laptop, the files are remotely deleted.

Sam is speaking with Jana and Suzy back at the lab and talking about trying to escape the cordon again. Suzy, being very politically correct shouts “Are you retarded?” Ineke overhears them and says they must take her baby.

Lex blames Gryspeerts for the files being deleted and he says he didn’t do anything but they need to forget exposing anyone. It is too big and will put the whole country into chaos. Nobody will believe them.

Veerle admits to Bert that she lied and did not see Micheline. Despite his compound fracture, Bert manages to go round to their house with the aid of a crutch and he and Micheline are reunited.

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Melissa is sneezing a lot in the office and claims it was the pollen when she was out getting food, but they force her into the area outside the lift.

Things continue to go wrong for Lex. He tries to phone the secure line at the NIIDA, but the codes have been changed and his name is not on the list of names to be given the new code. He goes to see the psychiatrist and asks her what they have asked her to write in her report. She asks “Do you think people are conspiring against you?” Looks like she won’t have to make anything up.

Despite Sam’s reservations, they are going to take the baby. They are at the supermarket to arrange it all and Jokke sees Jana and asks if she will take Quinten. Jana says there is no more room, but she will look after him if Jokke gets him out.

A man comes to the supermarket looking for ammunition for a gun which Lien realises is the gun Tyl had. Jokke forces him to take him and Lien to where he is. He takes them to a house then runs off. They enter the house and find lots of things that have been looted and one of the boys who was bullying Tyl is there. He is drinking urine.

Lex is asking Nald to look into what he has discovered as he needs proof and they are watching him. Nald eventually agrees.

The shooting investigator phones Lex and asks him to come to the scene of the shooting as he has found something. There is a receipt down the side of one of the seats in a car at the scene that is for blow torches. There is also a box in the car with the same equipment that is uses to lock the containers at the cordon. They use the car’s sat nav to go to its last location, which is one of the containers, stationed above an entrance to the sewers. Nald and Lex open the container and find a hole has been cut in the floor directly above a manhole cover which leads to the sewers.

The bully tells Jokke and Lien that Tyl seems to be immune to the virus and has been taken to a big house where they are using his blood and urine to help people.

Jokke and Lien go to the big house and finds Tyl on a table with blood being taken. He takes Tyl out. He tells Lien to go back to the supermarket and he will take Tyl to the NIIDA.

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Nald tells Lex that he can’t get the courier details of the package that was delivered to the NIIDA that the first doctor infected was carrying that Lex had seen on the CCTV footage without a court order. Lex tells him he will give him the details of a judge that owes him a favour.

Sam and Jana have noticed that Ineke is infected, despite her trying to hide it. They say they are not taking her baby as it may be infected. Tony hears what is being said and is standing with the gun that Sam had bought. He is angry that Jana is going to escape and leave him there, taking a cleaner she has just met and a stranger’s baby. He tells them if he doesn’t go, no-one does. Sam grabs for the gun and is shot in the foot. Suzy hits Tony on the back of the head and Sam and Jana manage to get in the lift.

Jana tells Jokke that she can now take Quinten on the escape route.

Cannaerts has discovered that Tyl’s blood helps slow down the virus. He tells Jokke that it is looking good, but that Tyl may still be a carrier despite not being affected. Jokke says he was in close contact with Tyl so must go into isolation at the NIIDA.

Lex asks the army boss for his code to phone the secure line at the NIIDA and phones Jokke. A nurse takes the phone to him in isolation. Lex tells Jokke all about what he has found and that the package the doctor had was from a place in Brazil that deals with infectious diseases. The army man cuts him off and tells Lex he is a psychopath. “A psychopath you gave your code to” says Lex.

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Bert and Micheline’s doorbell rings and when they go to the door, Ineke has left her baby on the doorstep with a note for them.

The army boss tells Lex he is taking over his Unit. The rota drawn up to watch the containers to catch whoever is making the escapes has one of the containers without anyone watching. Lex shows him what he drew up on his iPad which shows he did have that one being watched. Lex and the army man head to said container.

Cannaerts is at the window of Jokke’s isolation room with Jokke shouting at him. The doctor remains calm and says that they are always testing new diseases and it may well be the case that a sample was indeed sent from Brazil.

Cannaerts comes through a container with Tyl to the media and Lommers with a crowd there to greet them. They will be taking Tyl to a special unit.

Mees and the brother are leading Jana, Sam and Quinten through the sewers. Lex, Nald the army boss and two soldiers are now also in the sewer. They split up in the tunnels.

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Cannaerts returns to Jokke. The virus has taken hold of Jokke now. Jokke wants the truth before he dies. Cannaerts explains that a trainee made a mistake and she was distracted flirting with a doctor. Lommers had the idea of blaming the Afghani. It would help her increase the counter terrorism budget. He told a small lie which got out of hand. Jokke says he has to tell the truth, but Cannaerts says the truth is they save millions of lives, and he couldn’t allow one mistake to ruin it all.

As Cannaerts starts walk away, Jokke shoots through the window of the room and chases after him. He catches him and kisses him full on the lips to make sure the virus is transferred.

Shooting starts in the sewer and Lex sees all the army men dead, along with the brother. He sees Nald standing above Mees and shooting him. Nald says that Mees pulled a gun on him. Lex says it looks like he was expecting you and pulls his gun out. Nald tells him that Jana is there and he got her out. He shows Lex a bagful of money and says they can split it and he has Jana. Lex says he has to do his duty. Sam, having not learned his lesson, grabs for Nald’s gun when he goes for it and is shot. Lex shoots Nald.

Jana and Lex see each other again in the sewer. Jana tells him she is not ill and asks if she can come with him. He says that “If I do that, it will all be in vain”. She asks what he wants. He tells her he only wants what he wants is her. Awwwwwww. They kiss.

We see Jana, Lex and Quinten climbing out of a manhole. But it’s on the side of the cordon where the infection is. Then a horse walks past? And it ends.

As ridiculous as it was, this turned into a very good thriller. It was tough to try and get past the negligent way in which people carried on, but it was well done. With a second series on the way, we will find out what happens next.

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Will Tyl infect everyone outside the cordon? Will Lex expose the truth? Will Bert and Micheline contract the virus from Ineke’s baby? Is it too late for Jokke? And Cannaerts? Will Lommers get her comeuppance?

Whatever happens in Series 2, I think I’ll stay off the Belgian chocolate for a while.

Issues:

  • I don’t think the scene with Sam and the aerosol is likely to become a Lynx advert.
  • Lex clearly doesn’t know how much effort it takes to blog. No, really.
  • Loved Jokke’s reaction to people drinking urine. “Ok”.
  • How did Lien recognise Tyl’s gun? Is she a gun expert?
  • What contribution have the army actually been making? We have seen very little of them.
  • All that blood taken out of Tyl and not once did we see him get a drink and a biscuit.
  • How many of you thought when Lex got the call from the investigator to meet him that it was a trap?
  • Dr Cannaerts looks scarily like Labour Party leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn.
  • If Ineke’s baby has the virus, she has just killed Bert and Micheline.
  • I doubt that Nald was anyone’s first choice for a naked shower scene.
  • If Tyl is possibly a carrier, why would you take him to the side without the disease?
  • Given how delirious people get with the virus, was it not a bit daft to leave Jokke with his gun in the isolation room?
  • That was nothing like kiss chase when I was at school.
  • Sam seemed to get about pretty well with his shot foot.
  • We see no animals apart from rats all the way through, then a horse appears in the final scene. Odd.
  • Given Jana’s kiss with Sam, the first website she goes on when the internet is back up and running is likely to be Ashley Madison.
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Cordon Episodes 7 and 8

Cordon Episodes 7 & 8

Odd introduction on BBC4 where we are told that next up is the “Belgian science fiction drama”. Science fiction??

Katja continues to deteriorate in isolation. Her son comes to see her and she makes him promise to phone her brother when the phone signals are back. I’m not sure if the translation was wrong or if she was becoming delirious, but his number ended in “or 74”.

Jokke and Lex are meeting in a container again and Lex is handing over the vaccine. He tells Jokke he officially doesn’t know what is in the box, but Jokke spells it out anyway, in case we weren’t paying attention. Lex also gives him the keys to his flat and asks Jokke to give them to Jana if he sees her again.

As Jokke returns to the NIIDA, he tells Dr Cannaerts that one of the vaccines is for Katja. The doc tells him that it is too late for her. It would have to be in the first couple of hours of infection or before it has been caught.

Jokke is at the window of the isolation unit speaking to an increasingly unwell Katja, who says “I’m not looking my best”. It’s hard to argue. She tells an already tearful Jokke that she has fallen in love with him. That will help. Especially when she dies soon after.

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The junior brother holding court at Ineke’s family’s supermarket seems to have contracted the virus. The senior brother tells Ineke she is responsible for looking after him. Lien seems to step in to do this. Ineke leaves the supermarket with her suitcase.

Sam the cleaner is telling Jana they need to get out of the lab as there is nowhere to go if people break in. He says that he knows someone who is helping people through the cordon. She says that she will not go and he should report the man to the police.

Gryspeerts has posted on his Son of Horseman blog asking why Dr Cannaerts is lying about patient zero. Later on, a pool ball smashes through his window, and it seems that someone has posted that it is him who is the Son of Horseman. He thinks Lommers was the one who gave him away.

Ineke arrives at the NIIDA and asks if she can have her baby there. She hears someone saying they are on the list for the vaccine and finds Dr Cannaerts and asks to be put on the list. He refuses because she is pregnant, but she eventually gets him to agree.

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Jokke, after drinking heavily goes to the lab and gives Jana Lex’s keys. He tells her that they are all going to die. This makes her decide to go with Sam and try to get through the cordon.

Ineke has lots of blood tests leading up to her getting vaccine, but one of the other doctors, Luc, says he wants the vaccine and threatens Dr Cannaerts with revealing what he knows (whatever that is). This seems to mean that Ineke is off the list and Cannaerts tells her that one of the samples has been contaminated, so they can’t give her it. She thinks he is lying. As does everyone watching.

Jana and Sam have got out of the Lab and are almost immediately accosted by the men on bikes. Sam runs and Jana stabs one of the men in the eye with the heel of her shoes and runs. He catches up with her and she sprays him in the other eye with pepper spray she seemed to have in her bag. She picks up a crowbar on the ground which she beats him with. Sam reappears after all the trouble has subsided. Jana drops the crowbar and picks up her shoes. Women and shoes eh? When they get to the rendezvous point, the people who they are supposed to be going with are not there.

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Lex gets a call about bodies on the beach and finds some dead people on the beach who had been on the escape route Jana and Sam seemed to be going on. Although he is about 30 yards away and a woman is face down in the water, he thinks it is Jana. It isn’t.

Ineke is ringing the doorbell of Micheline and Bert’s house. Bert of course isn’t there. Micheline doesn’t answer and is eating what appears to be a rat she has cooked.

Lommers speaks to Lex about the gap in the cordon that the bodies on the beach must have got through. She says that there must be mole in his team to know where they could get through. Lex says this is a bit of a leap, which is exactly what I was thinking.

The officer who pulled the bodies from the beach is showing cold symptoms, so Lex is to be put in quarantine for 48 hours as he touched bodies too. When asked if he has touched anyone else, he points out that Lommers touched him, so they go in together. Lommers is on the verge of a breakdown and is freaking out. Telling Lex that he has no idea of the things she has to deal with and the decisions she has to make about the “doomsday scenarios” that she has to decide on. When someone comes and says that it looks like they will be ok, she tells him to forget what she said. Yeah right!

The other doctor has had the vaccine and like the other patients, his kidneys have failed. Dr Cannaerts is with him. He tells Cannaerts he wouldn’t have said anything, whatever it was he was threatening he would say. He dies.

Jokke leaves the NIIDA with Quinten, Katja’s son, much to the annoyance of Cannaerts who says that “You know who your friends are”. Jokke joins up with the crooks running Ineke’s store.

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Ineke, back at the flat she went to earlier in the series that her friend Melissa is at. Melissa is quick to share Ineke’s food that she has in her case with the boys she is sharing the flat with. Ineke also tells Melissa that she knows a lab where they will be safe that Jokke had told her about.

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Jana and Sam are back, but the office boss Bram isn’t letting them in. He is angry that they left them in the office. They are made to go to the floor below, but Bram soon comes and apologises and invites them back up so Jana can help get a phone working that Tony has been working on.

Lex is looking for information in Lommers office and manages to get into her computer. Just at this point, Jana tries to phone him as they have managed to enable the phone at her office. As it is a number Lex doesn’t recognise, he rejects the call. She leaves a voice mail and almost immediately, the authorities block that phone. Lex downloads all the files from Lommers computer onto a USB stick.

Gryspeerts’ Son of Horseman has posted on his blog that he thinks that the vaccine is fake. Where is it? He asks. Lex goes to see him with the USB stick. There are various scenarios about how to deal with the outbreak on it. Lex thinks that they are just going to let it run its course based on what they see. Then they spot that the first scenarios were drawn up the week before the outbreak. Gryspeerts says he will speak to a contact he has inside Public Health.

Lex phone Cannaerts at the NIIDA and asks to speak to Jokke. The doctor tells him that he has left and asks if he wants to leave a message, knowing that Jokke won’t be coming back. Lex says no. We then see Cannaerts phoning Lommers saying that he phoned.

Ineke wakes up in the house to find her housemates taking drugs. The man who seems to be the leader, Lars is saying that if only they knew where a lab was to get some ether. Melissa says that Ineke knows where one is.

Bert comes round and asks the nurse, Veerle, to go and check on Micheline. When she goes to the house, a rat crawls out of the letterbox and she goes straight back to her own house and tells Bert that she is fine.

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Melissa and the boys from the flat have brought Ineke to Jana’s office and have unsuccessfully tried to get in. Those in the office need food again and Jana and Tony draw the short straws and have to go. They go down in the lift, but a van is parked immediately outside and Jana appears to get shot in the hand. They quickly go back up in the lift.

Jokke takes Lien back to her house with the intention of burying Tyl, but there is no sign of him. They go next door and see Micheline, who is concerned about Bert, but also tells them that she saw Tyl with two boys outside. Lien puts up posters of Tyl saying “Have you seen this boy?”

Police officer Nald has done as told by Lex and followed the trail of money for those who paid to escape the cordon. He is at the house of the suspect and phones Lex who tells him to wait for backup. Nald of course goes in and Lex hears a shot and rushes to the scene. Lex arrives and is being shot at with a submachine gun. There is eventually a single gunshot and Lex sees Nald standing over the suspect who he has shot and killed. They see photographs at the site with the suspect and Mees in.

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Bram decides that he will go down in the lift and negotiate with those in the garage, and while he does, Tony and Jana can sneak out down the stairs and go and buy some food. As they go into the fire escape, they hear a baby crying and see Ineke, who has now given birth. Ineke tells Jana that Jokke sent her and she takes her upstairs and tells Tony he will have to go on his own. Why I’m not sure. Tony returns soon after saying he can’t get out.

The lights in the office go out then come back on and the lift starts coming up. The door opens and bloody Bram is standing there who collapses, seemingly dead. Just then, the doors to the stairs start being smashed through.

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One week left and it’s not looking good for, well, just about everyone. With another series on the way, I hope they are going to finish this next week.

Issues:

  •  Was there really a need for the blokes to all be walking about in their pants in Jana’s office?
  • I can’t believe that they didn’t just about kill Tony after he pretended to have caught the virus.
  • Nice of Sam just to run and leave Jana with the blokes on the bikes.
  • Micheline has either run out of food, or Heston Blumenthal has been round to cook her dinners.
  • Will they ever stop touching their faces with their gloves?
  • Jokke better hope Katje wasn’t wearing that t-shirt he sniffed after she caught the virus.
  • I wonder how much Maersk paid for the product placement of their containers.
  • Jana and Tony drew the first two straws on who went to get food and both had to go. Were they all like that?
  • I’m sure Nald was the one shooting the sub machine gun at Lex and had already killed the suspect.
  • If someone had seen Tyl and saw one of Lien’s posters, what were they supposed to do? Write yes on the poster?
  • How handy that a crow bar happened to be lying around when Jana needed it.
  • I’m still not sure if Katja died from the virus, or something else that she caught from the shower curtain
  • Are there no black people in Belgium?
  • Does nobody have pets in Belgium?
  • At the end, I half expected Jack Nicholson to pop his head through the door and shout “Here’s Johnny!”
  • As the doors were being smashed in, why was Suzy repeatedly shouting “Sam!” who was standing beside her?
  • How did Bram remain standing in the lift until the doors opened?
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Cordon Episodes 5 and 6

Cordon Episodes 5 and 6

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A bit late with this week’s update, but my birthday got in the way.

Lex barges into a meeting Minister Lommers is having to castigate her for blocking the phones inside the cordon, but is sent out with his tail between his legs.

Journalist Gryspeerts is on a roof with Lex asking him who shut off the phones. Lex tells him to “Ask Lommers”. Gryspeerts is using a hidden camera to record what Lex is saying and then posts it on the Horseman’s blog.

The 3 kids who were bullying Tyl at school have come to his house and announce they will be staying there. Tyl pulls out a gun and as they torment him, he shoots one of them in the leg. The other two start giving him a kicking and he shouts on his sister to run. As she runs, she hears another shot.

Bert, now back at home with Micheline, hears the gun shot next door and tells his wife that he won’t go back to the NIIDA with the rats that Dr Cannaerts had asked him to bring.

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Lommers is considering the possibility that the virus has been spread deliberately and thinks it may be some kind of terrorist attack. She isn’t happy with Lex after the Horseman’s blog comes out. They have traced the IP address (that took a while) and have tracked the blog as far as Belarus.

Lex phones Gryspeerts, angry at being tricked. The journalist says he just did what everyone else is doing and sent the videos to the Horseman’s email and that he doesn’t know anyone in Minsk. He couldn’t have known anything about Minsk though and when he answers the door as he is on the phone, he finds Lex there and they fight. After managing to hurt each other, they sit and have a beer.

One of the boxes of medicine hasn’t arrived at the NIIDA and Jokke goes out to check if they have been delivered by accident to one of the food outlets. The brothers are holding court in Ineke’s family’s supermarket and Jokke isn’t happy to find that they are charging for the emergency food supplies that are supposed to be given out free. And double at that! They also have the drugs that they claim to have found.

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Once Jokke goes, the senior brother tells the other that he must let the medical supplies through.

Jana and her colleagues Suzy and Tony are going to investigate that terrible smell which seems to be coming from the air vents. They find some much needed clothing, but also find a room where there are dead bodies lying directly under an air vent in the basement. One of the dead bodies is Chandra, the woman that Dennis had been with last week.

A man appears in the corridor behind the work colleagues and is clearly infected. He appears delusional and is rambling (he may have just been a politician). They manage to push their way past him, but he traps Jana and as he comes closer to her face Jokke appears and manages to knock him away.

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It’s all happening at the NIIDA with one of the rats that they had been testing an antidote on reacting well. Lommers is asking Cannaerts if it could be bioterrorism, which he reluctantly agrees that it could be. On the request of Jokke, the doctor has also tested the lunchbox that Anwar had with him and finds that the yoghurt contained the virus, adding fuel to the idea that it may have been started deliberately.

With Afghani asylum seekers being attacked, they will need to be careful about news of it possibly being started on purpose. Lommers discovers that Anwar lived near a terrorist training camp.

Tyl’s sister Lien has found her way to the supermarket after fleeing home and Ineke is welcoming her. One of the brothers is quick to spot the new girl and Ineke has to come to her rescue when he is trying to take her off somewhere. He returns later though and is groping her.

Lommers has found out who The Horseman is and sends the police to take away all his computer equipment. Gryspeerts tells Lex that he still has an encryption box and will have a new blog up and running within the hour.

Jokke tells Katja that the virus may have been released on purpose. She tells him that she saw two dead doctors in the NIIDA before Anwar died, but that Cannaerts told her not say anything.

Jokke decides to review CCTV footage from inside the NIIDA, although the disc with the relevant footage on is missing. Cannaerts says that the police took it, but Lex ensures Jokke this is not the case.

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Micheline has convinced Bert to return to the NIIDA with the requested rats. Partly because they also need some food.   Cannaerts is pleased to see Bert with the rodents. As Bert returns home, he is mugged and his food stolen. He is left lying in the street.

Lex and Jokke meet in a container on the edge of the cordon and Jokke hands over a cool box with DNA etc in for testing. He tells Lex he has met the woman of his dreams. He also says that he saw Jana who is at her work and is ok.

Gryspeerts is setting up his new blog. He is calling it “Son of Horseman”, so no chance anyone will know who that is. Lex arrives and tells him to take off the terrorism claims and tells him about the two doctors.

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As Jana and co have run out of food again, they draw straws once more to find out who will go and get it. Jana and Suzy have to go this time.

Cannaerts is telling Katja that he has had a call about the doctors and people are now jumping to the wrong conclusions.

A woman at the NIIDA to be tested for the virus has wandered off and ends up hugging one of the children, Britney. She is put into isolation. It isn’t clear what they do with the woman.

Jana and Suzy manage to get back to the lifts outside their work, but are being surrounded. The cleaner who works in their building comes to their rescue and they manage to get up in the lift. They now have to stay outside the main office for 48 hours to ensure they aren’t infected before they go back in.

On patrol on the edge of the cordon, Lex sees a balloon in the air and shoots it down. A memory card is inside which he takes to Gryspeerts. It contains a film of a girl celebrating her birthday with her family and wishing her grandma could be there, who is inside the cordon.

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Gryspeerts tells Lex about a story he did years ago about a female politician who ended up killing herself. He later found out she had nothing to do with the allegations he had written.

A couple are in Micheline’s house taking food. She sees them, but can’t stop them. Bert is still lying in the street.

Lommers goes to visit Gryspeerts and he says to her “You’ve got my computers, my routers, my back-up. What more do you want? My body?” I’m guessing no. She tells him he is worrying people and he needs to stop.

Tyl is nursing the boy that he had shot. The boy has the gun. He also has the virus and dies in Tyl’s house.

Lex and Gryspeerts are watching CCTV footage from the NIIDA and see the red haired doctor receiving a package. She doesn’t appear to be ill then. Lex asked Jokke to check it out, but Cannaerts says it was probably just a text book. Hmmmm.

The brothers ask Jokke to join them, but he is having none of it. He gives a very heavily pregnant Ineke the address of Jana’s office and tells her she would be safer there.

A woman rescues Bert from the street and takes him into her house. He has an open fracture but luckily enough, she is a nurse.

The man who was being a racist at the NIIDA last week decides that he is going to take the children to safety and piles them all onto the school bus with the intention of ramming his way through the cordon. As Katja and co chase after the bus, the police shoot the man through the head as he drives. Katja and co get on the burning bus to try and rescue the children, but many of them appear to have died in the crash. She picks up Britney and carries her off, getting her blood all over her face.

Katja returns to the NIIDA and is showering frantically, but is soon in quarantine, as the virus takes hold. Britney has now died. Jokke is crying.

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Cannaerts thinks he may be close to an antidote and wants to test it, but Lommers doesn’t think enough tests have been done yet. He asks Jokke to pick up a package as he is going to test it anyway.

Two weeks to go. How many more will die?

News reaches me that a second series has been commissioned. I don’t know if this means an entirely new story, or this one not finishing.

Issues:

  • Where was the roof that Gryspeerts was speaking to Lex? Was it the Crisis Centre? If so, what was Gryspeerts doing there?
  • Lex isn’t much of a hero, unable to beat an old journalist in a fight.
  • Lex also seemed to make friends with Gryspeerts pretty quickly after he did the dirty on him.
  • Was Dennis in the basement? Did I miss that?
  • I thought yoghurt with bacteria was all the rage these days? (Mmmmm Danone).
  • A lovely way for Jana to thank Jokke after he had rescued her by shining her torch right in his face.
  • Katja temporarily thought she was Bruce Willis, telling Jokke “I see dead people”
  • Dr Cannaerts is very suspicious. He’s definitely trying to cover something up.
  • Is it a Belgian thing to sit in chairs at the front door to talk like Lommers and Gryspeerts did?
  • I was thinking that ginger haired people were immune, but Katja puts paid to that.
  • How did the bloke get Britney out of isolation to put her on the bus?
  • How have Tyl, Cannaerts and Jokke not contracted the virus yet?
  • Although I’m sure she will ultimately prove to be bad, I find myself agreeing with the vast majority of things Minister Lommers is doing. I must be getting old.
  • When she got back from rescuing Britney, Katja was showering like she just got back from T in the Park.
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Cordon Episodes 3 and 4

Cordon Episodes 3 and 4

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It has been quite a while since there has been something on BBC4 at 9 on a Saturday which I’ve looked forward to, but despite some of the problems it has, I was glad Cordon was there to save Saturday night TV.

Lex and the other police officers are moving into a command post where they will also be sleeping.  The army will be coming to relieve them.  While I try not to think of any sexual connotations for what that might mean, the police start to sing “we’ll take them dry up the arse!”  O……….k then.

Jana isn’t happy with Lex for not telling her in advance that the cordon would be up for longer, but he explains that he was ordered not to say anything.

Journalist Gryspeerts has a contact inside the cordon, Ingrid, who is video calling him on her laptop and sending him videos of some of the happenings inside the cordon.  She sends footage of Anwar being taken into the National Institute for Infectious Diseases (NIIDA).  Our journo publishes it with the heading “Is this patient zero?”

Minister of Public Health Sabine Lommers phones Dr Cannaerts and tells him she wants him to release information on Anwar being patient zero and any other details so that they can get ahead of the story.

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Things are deteriorating at the NIIDA.  The bodies are piling up (including Anwar’s cousin) and the incinerator appears to be slowing down.  One of the men is holding up a food cart claiming that “wogs shouldn’t be getting our food”.  Jokke does what we all want to do and punches him several times.  Three kids are showing signs of the virus, including Thomas, who Dr Cannaerts does some blood test on, but doesn’t think he is getting worse.

Ineke and family are trying to ration what people can buy in supermarkets so that there is enough for everyone.  A man runs out with his basketful and then a man spits on his hand and threatens to rub it in Ineke’s dad’s face and leaves with his basket.  I wonder if that would work in Waitrose?

Minister Lommers is holding  a press conference where she is asking the press to be more balanced and not be so xenophobic about Afghani Anwar and to stop sensationalising stories and panicking the people.

As our ginger friend Tyl heads home, he sees prisoners giving the warden a kicking in the street.  It’s not clear how they got out.  As he goes to see if the warden is ok after the prisoners have gone, the warden touches his face.  He really needs to stop people doing that.

Ingrid is on videochat with Gryspeerts again.  She sends a video of her flatmate convulsing with the virus having taken hold.  Ingrid also has the virus and says she is not going through it and will be ending her own life.  She says that she wants him to show this video.  Gryspeerts’ boss says he can’t publish the video, so he creates his own personal blog called “The Horseman” and posts it there.

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Tyl makes it home to his parent’s house where he receives a phone call from Bert at the NIIDA who asks if he can check on Micheline, who lives next door.  Micheline had dropped her phone down the stairs when Bert rang and being wheelchair bound, couldn’t retrieve it.  She is lying at the top of the flight of stairs the phone fell down and seems to have sprained her wrist, but is ok.  Bert manages to get home.

The police are arranging for food supplies to be given out to those inside the cordon and while this is happening, they are to transfer Thomas from the NIIDA across the cordon so he can be taken to the Hospital outwith the cordon.  Thomas is spotted shaking near the cordon and is seen by those collecting their food.

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Panic ensues and people are running everywhere and the food giveaway needs to be abandoned after people are trying to break through the cordon.  Inspector Mees is cut while stopping them coming through and Lex makes him go through to the other side of the cordon in case of infection.  “You’ll regret this!” he shouts.

After the death of Thomas, Minister Lommers announces that if people have the disease, it will have taken hold within 48 hours of the initial symptoms, although Dr Cannaerts does not think this is definite yet.  This is clearly going to come back to haunt them.

Video emerges of Lex sending his colleague into the infected area and he has to explain to the media why he had to do this.

As a man tries to steal more stuff from Ineke’s families supermarket, her dad points a gun at him, but can’t bring himself to shoot.  As he is surrounded by the family he spits at the mother.  Two brothers appear with guns and shoot him.  An arrangement is quickly made that they will stay with them and protect the store and its stock.

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After drawing straws at the F-Tran office where Jana works, two of her colleagues go out and try and find food.  When they come back with it, Jana tells them they can’t come back in until 48 hours are up, after the announcement by the Minister.  They aren’t best pleased about this.

The army finally arrive at the command post, but to the police officers disappointment, they are there to assist rather than relieve and all police leave has been cancelled.

The Horseman blog is picking up a lot of attention as Gryspeerts continues to post pictures of dead bodies and bodies being dumped in the street.  His boss is annoyed that these are all coming to light and they aren’t getting them.  Gryspeerts points out that they wouldn’t be able to use them anyway.

The army, who are more used to dealing with logistics, are to set up a second attempt at food distribution, and three shops within the cordon will give it out.  This will include Ineke’s shop.  Inspector Mees is now in league with the brothers and is supposedly acting as the liaison within the cordon.

Minister Lommers criticizes The Horseman on TV and says that he is a parasite and that the videos he is posting are scaremongering with things that may not even be from inside the cordon.

During the night, Jana finds the fire escape door open and when she investigates, finds one of her colleagues, Dennis making out with a woman on the stairs.  As the others go to investigate, it turns out this was a woman who had been where they had got food.  As Jana says that they must wait 48 hours to come back in, Dennis goes mad.  He had been one of the two who had just been outside the door after getting food.  As he tries to fight his way back in, Jana’s friend and colleague Suzy gets pepper spray in her eyes.

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Katja tells Jokke that she had been in an abusive relationship where her ex-boyfriend had beat her and even burnt her with an iron.  He had done this when she was pregnant and she had begun self-harming.  Jokke seems to suddenly be a mental health expert and tells her that she no longer needs to be taking the anti-depressants she is on.

Dennis is hammering on the door to get back into the office as the woman he is with is getting ill.

Tyl and his sister’s parents have died and Tyl even sees them being burned after their death.  It really isn’t his week.

As Jokke is taking a shower, Katja comes in and they kiss and feel each other through the shower curtain.  Yuck.

Minister Lommers is concerned that everything is getting out of hand.  Especially due to “Twitter and fucking Facebook”.  There is a suggestion that they may cut off communications from inside the cordon.

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A young man has got on top of the containers on one of the streets at the cordon and despite the police repeatedly telling him to get down, he doesn’t.  Lex (who seems to be everywhere) fires a shot in the air and the man falls off from the great height.

A very dejected Lex is on the phone to Jana when the line suddenly goes dead.

The level of fear is being conveyed well and the difficulties surrounding dealing with the outbreak.  The lack of care in terms of contamination and people being allowed to roam freely seems increasingly daft though.  How will this end well?

Issues

  • The police and the army in Belgium sound as if they don’t get on too well judging by the song at the start. Or maybe they do!
  • Not sure why Jana was in her bra when speaking to Lex on the phone the first time in tonight’s episode.
  • Great idea on the rationing to prevent panic buying. The amount people buy in the UK at Christmas when the shops will be shut for one day is astonishing.
  • How did Ingrid get the footage of Anwar in the NIIDA?
  • Why are all heads of news outlets twats? Printing a top ten of killer diseases is something you can really imagine in the tabloids.
  • Why was it a good idea to try and transfer Thomas to the hospital? Was his case special enough to be worth the risk?
  • Amazing how quickly the arrangement was made for the brothers to stay at the supermarket.
  • Since Ingrid has gone, where is Gryspeerts getting all his footage from?
  • Don’t know why Suzy was so angry at Jana. Especially since the girl Dennis was with had been infected.
  • Expect Mark Zuckerberg to sue Minister Lommers at any moment.
  • Things could be contained if everyone just stayed in and read a book.
  • The Horseman clearly hasn’t watched much TV. They can always find you via an IP address.
  • The “F” word seems to have been exported to Belgium.
  • Gryspeerts always looks like he is on holiday in Hawaii.
  • Shower curtains never look clean at the best of times, but touching one in the middle of a virus outbreak?
  • Can’t imagine it was too nice a moment between Jokke and Katja. My body tenses up if a shower curtain even touches against my leg.
  • They even used my Cordon Blue joke from last week!
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Jane Seymour in Edinburgh, 28 June 2015

Jane Seymour: In Person

28 June 2015

Traverse Theatre

Another event which is part of the Edinburgh Film Festival.

Jane Seymour is 64.  Sixty-four.  And she looks amazing.  I could end the blog there, but the 90 minutes on Saturday, superbly hosted by Siobhan Sinnott, was so much more than just marvelling at how good she looks.

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Jane’s latest independent film is called Bereave.  Jane plays Evelyn, the wife of Garvey, and they have been married for 40 years.  Fatally ill, Garvey plans how he is going to die.  But when Evelyn goes missing, he must live to save her.

Siobhan opened the discussion by asking about Bereave and how she had been offered the part.  She said that Malcolm McDowell, who plays Garvey, showed her the script, saying it was a game changer.  She thought it was a great role and met the film makers the Giovanis brothers.  They raised the money for the film through a crowd funding exercise and it was made in around 18 days.  In one scene, she is running down a street wearing a wedding dress – which is actually her wedding dress from when she was 20.  Jane says she works with first time film makers a lot – if it’s good material and they have a good cast then she’s happy to be involved.  Jane has also been producing for many years so she respects how hard it is to make, fund and promote films.

Siobhan asks about the feature Jane has done on the country singer Glenn Campbell, who has Alzheimer’s.  She was asked to chronicle his tour, thinking it would be a few gigs here and there – it turned out to be 150 sold out concerts.  She says Glenn is so funny and he wanted to do something to help other people with the disease, so decided to share his experiences with others.  Jane tells us 1 in 2 people in the USA, will suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia by the time they are 80, and so this was a good way to raise awareness of the disease and share Glenn’s experiences.

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We are then taken back to the start of Jane’s acting career, which started almost by accident.  Jane was going to be a ballerina (indeed she played a dance teacher in last year’s High Strung and appeared in the US version of Strictly, Dancing with the Stars).  She trained as a ballet dancer and appeared in the Nutcracker, but when she injured herself she became an actress.  She tells us that her mother was a huge fan of Strictly, and she passed away during Jane’s time on Dancing with the Stars – she was meant to learn a tango in 3 days when she heard the news of her mother’s death, and did the show in her honour.

Jane then tells us that her proper name is Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg, and she was told that it was too long and too difficult to spell. She chose Jane because she liked its plainness, and her agent suggested Seymour because it was easy to spell. It wasn’t until later that they discovered that they had actually taken the name of Henry VIII’s 3rd wife. In a spooky coincidence, it’s believed that the King’s wife died a few days after childbirth from pre-eclampsia. This was something that Jane had when she had the twins – fortunately medicine has moved on and she was able to be treated.

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We move on to Bond. Jane was 20 when she played Solitaire in Roger Moore’s first Bond film Live and Let Die. (Still my Favourite Bond film).  The people casting the movie had seen Jane in The Onedin Line. In the books Solitaire was supposed to be black and she had long black hair. The film makers wanted Jane’s brown hair to be black and to cut it but she wouldn’t let them. They gave her a hair piece instead and darkened it slightly – she also has different coloured eyes so sometimes has to wear contact lenses. We are treated to an amusing story about how Roger Moore didn’t do any of his stunts (he didn’t even really do running according to Jane). At one point there is a stunt where she is on a bus, which goes under a bridge and gets the top deck chopped off. She was to do the stunt, but when she asked whether it was safe, she was told “we did the stunt on paper, so it works.” Highly reassuring. She also said that the snake scene got a little bit hairy – and that when her kids wanted boas for their 2nd birthday she had to be the brave one and handle them.

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Siobhan invited questions from the audience and the first question is about what it was like working with the late Christopher Reeve. Jane says it was one of the greatest experiences of her life and she and Christopher became really good friends – one of her sons (Chris) is his godson. They were so close that when Chris’s wife couldn’t be with him, Jane used to go and hang out with him instead. She says he was the inspiration to start The Open Hearts Foundation. This is a non-profit charity which shares the philosophy of transforming personal adversity into an opportunity to serve others, with communities worldwide. Each year, the Foundation recognises the achievements of individuals whose inspiring stories illustrate the Foundation’s mission; they have overcome difficult situations by creating positive improvements in the world around them. Jane also designs Open Hearts jewellery to complement the foundation’s work.

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The other questions were on:

  • What was it like to play two strong women characters, Wallis Simpson and Maria Callas – Jane played them back to back. She thought they were both great roles, and since playing Mrs Simpson, she has spoken to a few of the Royal family about the role. The Queen Mother couldn’t watch but the Queen wanted to know how Jane knew so much about Royal family secrets. Lord Lichfield also photographed Jane in the same poses as he had photographed Wallis Simpson. For Callas, Jane researched her a lot and had to sing 3 arias in 3 different languages in one day. She says this role is one of the hardest she has ever taken on. She tells the audience that, even though someone else’s voice was dubbed over the songs, she still sung at full voice and ended up damaging her vocal chords. She was then injected in the wrong place and went into anaphylactic shock, resulting in her having a near death experience.
  • How life completely changed after that near death experience; how she values life so much, with her message being that the only things you take with you are the love you’ve shared and the difference you’ve made;
  • How she got the title Queen of the Mini Series and that she was supposed to play alongside Richard Chamberlain in The Thorn Birds but for an unfortunate incident with her breast milk;
  • Her experiences on Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger in one scene she had to play chess with a baboon, and it wasn’t until she saw the movie that she realised what they were doing with the special effects;
  • How she took on Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman at a time in her life when she needed the money, but how proud she is of what was made – it’s now been relaunched in the UK on CBS Action and is still running in 98 countries. Her father was a doctor so she had watched surgery from when she was 10 – she’s attended 3 open heart surgeries and a C-section;
  • How does she still look so good? Jane says she doesn’t feel like that at the moment as she’s just been on a cruise where it was “Seymour, eat more”. She loves a Mediterranean diet and grows lots of fruit and veg. And no, she hasn’t tried (and doesn’t intend to try) haggis;
  • She doesn’t like the idea of cosmetic surgery – as an actress, you need to be a blank canvas and she wants to be able to turn herself into a character and move her muscles. She says it’s all about the light, which was why in past times women used to wear frilly white collars. The dress she has chosen today is a McQueen, which has a thistle type pattern on it – clearly she puts a lot of thought into these things;
  • What was Malcolm McDowell like to work with? Jane says that he is one of her closest friends. He’s so eccentric and loves to act, which is why he is working all the time. He’s very cheery and a fantastic father to his two families – he has 4 grandchildren with another on the way (the little girl who is about to get a little sister, calls her mum’s bump “pizza pizza”);
  • Jane has just appeared on Who Do You Think You Are and whilst not wishing to give away what she found out she tells us that she knew her mother had been in a Japanese concentration camp. She says they don’t tell you where you are going or who you are seeing, so it’s a complete surprise;
  • She tells us an amusing story of how terrified Owen Wilson was when he had to squeeze her breasts in Wedding Crashers – of course, Vince Vaughan didn’t help by asking if he was “ready to see more of Seymour”!
  • Jane still paints as often as she can and tries to put on 12 art shows a year in America. She paints impressionism and uses her open heart theme. She also designs furniture. She loves teaching people, especially those who don’t think they can paint;
  • Whilst she thinks that if things had turned out differently, she would still have gone to America when she did, Jane says she would love to come and film in Scotland – and treats us to a decent Scottish brogue;
  • Jane talks about how she and her ex-husband James worked for 11 years on making Walk the Line the film about Johnny Cash. The promise she made to Johnny and his wife was that it would be about redemption and she had hoped they would finish it before they passed away, but that didn’t happen.

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The final question is about what does Jane think is the most important thing in life. She says it’s to be authentic, be the best you can be under whatever circumstances are thrown at you. Just be real.

Jane was happy to talk and the event did run over its allotted time, which was a bit of a blow. Not because she wasn’t interesting, far from it, but the fold down two-seater seats at the Traverse are really not designed to sit in for anything longer than an hour. The fact that every time we moved, an almighty creak could be heard didn’t help matters.

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If you go here, take a cushion.

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East Coast Crime Writers versus West Coast Crime Writers – the Re-match

East Coast Crime Writers versus West Coast Crime Writers – the Re-match

Friday 26 June 2015

Waterstone’s, George Street, Edinburgh

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Tonight’s battle is taking place in George Street’s Waterstone’s bookstore.  After navigating the totally confusing new one way (for parts of the way) system in George Street we manage to get parked nearby and arrive about 10 minutes before the start.  Wine is being partaken by authors and audience members alike and we appear to be waiting for one of the Glasgow authors (Matt Bendoris) who arrives with a box of newly published books in a box tucked under his arm.

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Craig Robertson is referee/chair/points awarder tonight, ably assisted by Dom Hastings, the festival manager of Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s international crime writing festival based in Stirling, which takes place this year between 11th and 13th  September.  As Craig tells us, it’s Assault n Battery versus Assualt n Sauce, and is the return leg from a match up which took place last year (which the West Coast won).

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On the home team tonight is captain Doug Johnstone, whose new book The Jump will be published in August; Neil Broadfoot, author of Falling Fast and The Storm; and T F (Frank) Muir, whose books, including the latest The Meating Room are set in and around St Andrews.  The Glasgow team is captain Caro Ramsay, whose latest book The Tears of Angels was published in May this year; Douglas Skelton who writes fiction and non-fiction about Glasgow’s dark side, including his latest fiction Devil’s Knock; and Matt Bendoris, whose new book DM for Murder was hot off the press on Friday – he’s especially proud of the cover.

The first point of debate is about whether there’s a difference in backdrop when you write about Edinburgh or Glasgow.  Caro thinks that Glasgow bears its ugliness on the outside whereas Edinburgh hides its ugliness.  East’s Doug agrees, saying that exactly what you say when you get off in the train in Queen Street Station – “this is hideous! “  Douglas retorts with, “no Doug, that’s what we say when you get off the train!”  And so the tone of the evening is set…

West’s Matt points out that the tram works were “lovely” – and Craig promptly awards 20 points to the West, just for the traffic in Edinburgh.  Caro says that’s one thing about Glasgow, it’s easy to get in and out of, with the M8 running right through the middle of it. Doug points out that if you have to drive through Edinburgh, no wonder you want to kill someone!

Craig brings Frank into the discussion, saying that all cities have a dark history but that it takes an excellent author to do that to somewhere like St Andrews.  Frank confirms that there has only been one murder in the town in the last 20 years.

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Discussions move onto humour – is Glasgow funnier than Edinburgh.  Everyone seems to think so.  Caro surmises that perhaps they have to have a better sense of humour because they live there.  Doug points out that the humour gets driven out of Edinburgh by the festival and the traffic, whilst Neil counteracts that by saying that Edinburgh humour is there, it’s just more observational, dire and deadpan.  After a few more retorts, they all agree that they all hate Aberdeen, and Craig wonders if we can get a hold of Stuart MacBride for a response to that one.

Doug wonders whether everyone moves the police around, do they visit other areas and Craig asks what everyone has done now that there is a single police force in Scotland.  The discussion turns to the inequalities in Glasgow and Edinburgh and Doug thinks that there are more extremes in Edinburgh.  There is the banking side and the rich folk but then there’s also Craigmillar. Glasgow, to him, seems more level, more of the same class, but Edinburgh has more disparity, which makes for good contrasts.  Frank agrees that St Andrews also has its poorer parts and then the students which can always result in a few tensions.  Douglas wants to know that if they know that “Craig Millar” is responsible for a lot of crime in Edinburgh, why don’t they just go and arrest him (points to the West for that one).

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At this point we find out that one of the audience has been tweeting Ian Rankin during the discussion to see if he’s up for popping into the discussion.  He, however, says his dinner’s on the table so he can’t.  Doug points out that, surely, coming from Edinburgh, Ian will “have had his tea”.

Craig asks at which event you have more fun – a Glasgow funeral or an Edinburgh wedding.  Matt says definitely Glasgow funeral – the last one he went to had a lock in (after of course, lots of respect being paid etc etc).  Doug says that the East Coast have a terrible time at all social events.

How do our authors link to a sense of place?  Neil says you need to write other places your books go to as a visitor.  Doug says he always checks stuff, as it makes a massive difference to those who are reading it.  Caro’s latest book is set on Loch Lomond and she has made up an island, but made it fit with the privately owned ones which are there.  Matt says he concentrates more on dialogue and characters because he can’t compete with others in writing about Glasgow – he prefers to meet people before he creates character and dialogue.  Frank adds that having that sense of place is crucial and that his main character works out of a police station in St Andrews which has now closed down and been moved to another part of town – he’s reluctant to move though and is sticking with the old station.

A discussion ensues about who has moved the mortuary in Glasgow to the new South Glasgow University Hospital – some, like Craig, have moved it, but others like Alex Gray, have left it where it was.  The panel also agree that it’s fine for them to slag off their own cities but woe betide anyone else who tries it.

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Craig then awards 20 points to the East team because of Doug scoring the winning goal the previous week in the football match where the Scottish Crime Writers took on the Italian Crime Writers and won 2-1.  (Doug is still basking in the glory as I heard him talking to the other authors about the game before the start).

The panel discuss William McIlvanney and agree that he led the way for crime writers in Scotland.  Matt adds that when you read someone who is really good, there’s no way you can try and copy that, so each author has developed their own style.  Doug says that McIlvanney was a naturally poetic writer and he gave voice to the underworld of Scotland.

We then find out that Ian Rankin had been watching the event on Periscope earlier and the point where Doug was talking about his house being burgled and a suspect being charged with burglary.  Mr Rankin had tweeted our audience member to say that Doug should know better – burglary is not a term in Scottish Law.

Dom handed the final scores over to Craig who announces that he came last with minus 40 points, the “guy behind Dom” got minus 10; Dom got 20.  However, the points that mattered (and there was a trophy for this – a very small one, “in case the East Coast won it” says Caro) was 465 to the East, and 467 to the West.  So a very closely fought contest, which according to Craig was supposed to be won by the East.  Really entertaining evening.

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Cordon – Episodes 1 and 2

Cordon Episodes 1 and 2

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After the ridiculous that was Salamander, I was unsure about the merits of another Belgian drama in the Saturday 9pm slot on BBC4.  While there has been some magnificence at this time, there have also been a few that haven’t exactly been up to scratch.

This sounds like it has potential though.  Cordon’s 10 episodes centre around a deadly virus brought to the historical city of Antwerp, the most populous city in Belgium and is produced by Eyeworks and the VTM and is from the mind of writer Carl Joos.

We start with two men at the Port breaking into a container under darkness where they let out a man hiding at the back of it.  The men hug.

Then we meet couple Lex and Jana.  Lex is a riot police instructor while Jana is an IT expert at F-Tran, who works in a data recovery job, where her office has its own private lift due to the nature of the often secret data they are recovering. Jana is due to move in with Lex but changes her mind at the last minute.  Your day is going to get worse Lex.

Teacher Katja is taking the children she teaches on a trip to the National Institute for Infectious Diseases (NIIDA).  This seems an odd place to be taking children, particularly at the age they are at.  Anyone would think that would end in disaster….  As one of the children says early on “why didn’t we go to the zoo?”  Yes, exactly.

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Sixteen year old Ineke works at her parents’ supermarket.  She returned from a holiday in Spain pregnant and despite her parents’ protestations, want to keep the baby.   She decides that she is going to go to Spain and raise the child there with its father, Xavi.  He should be able to devote some time to the child now that he has retired from Barcelona.  (Football joke there for those who didn’t understand it).  Her mother catches her leaving and takes her suitcase off her, but she leaves anyway.

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As the children’s tour guide at the NIIDA tells Katja that there is to be a safety drill and they will have to leave, an alarm goes off.  When they leave the building, Katje bumps into the man who had been in the container at the beginning.  As they get back on their bus, someone comes on from the NIIDA and tells them they have to go back into the Institute.  And they are not to touch each other.

Still the characters come and we visit Magdalena high school where the headmaster is speaking to 3 pupils who seem to have been bullying the small ginger fat kid. The ginger kid, Tyl, had punched one of the bullies in the face.  Tyl is to stay behind for detention.

Two doctors at the Institute appear to have contracted some sort of disease and are in quarantine within the building.

Lex sends his colleague Jokke to pick up the man who had been in the container, Anwar, after one of the quarantined doctors had been giving him his inoculations after arriving in the country.  Jokke is told that Anwar might be infectious.

The characters continue to come thick and fast as Ineke visits her wheelchair bound Aunt Micheline, who gives her a wad of notes, seemingly helping her to get to Spain.  Then we are off to the local newspaper where journalist Gryspeerts has had an email about the schoolchildren being taken back off the bus.  His boss doesn’t think there is anything in it and tells him to focus on the obituary he is writing.

Jokke arrives at the house where Anwar is supposed to be with several of his colleagues.  Anwar is an illegal immigrant from Afghanistan.  To protect themselves from any infection, they have their helmets on with the visor down.  The well-known way to avoid catching diseases.  They take Anwar and everyone else in the house (quite a few) to the NIIDA.

Dr Cannaerts, the head doctor at the NIIDA has discovered that the infection is not airborne, but is transmitted by body fluids, such as sweat, blood etc.

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Lex phones Jana and tells her that people are worried about the disease and as she lives close to the NIIDA, tells her that she should go to his house.  She agrees.

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The police next go and pick up a man who had delivered rats to the NIIDA and he tells them he hasn’t come into contact with anyone else so they take him away.  But this is the husband of Aunt Micheline (although he calls her “Ratty”) and she wheels through after he has been taken away.

Anwar is deteriorating badly and manages to cough all over a nurse, covering her in blood.  She is quickly put into quarantine as his body is convulsing.

Jokke is told that he can’t leave the Institute as he may have been exposed to the disease.  He phones Lex accusing him of knowing this would happen and calls him “bastard” several times.

Minister of Public Health Sabine Lommers decides that they need to set up a cordon around the area where the infection is for 48 hours and the police quickly put it in place and use megaphones and loud speakers to explain to the public and tells them to stay two arm lengths away from each other.

Cordon5

Everyone seems to have forgotten about Tyl who seems to have been left alone inside the school.

Lena doesn’t make it across the cordon before it is in place and heads to her office.  Outside the private lift she meets Sam, a cleaner for the building and Lena’s boss arrives and agrees to let him come to her office as it is a safe place for him to sleep.

One of the schoolchildren is missing at the NIIDA and teacher Katja is on the lookout for her.  You really would have thought that there would be strict protocols about movements in the building by now.  While she searches, she comes across the dead bodies of the two doctors who had initially come into contact with Anwar.  Dr Cannaerts appears and asks her not to say anything as he doesn’t want panic.  Jokke finds the missing kid.

Ineke runs into her friend Melissa who says that she can stay at her place.  It turns out that Melissa’s place is a penthouse flat that she and two male friends have moved into, as it is empty.  With her friends getting drunk and kissing, Ineke decides this isn’t where she should be and heads back to the supermarket.

As all the people at the NIIDA continue to just walk around the building to their heart’s content, the cousin of Anwar is screaming at Jokke after the infected man has died, and blaming him for it.  He claims he was fine until he came to the Institute.

Tyl finds a woman who is a cleaner at the school who is saying that her husband had been fixing a drinks machine at the Institute and he now isn’t well.

Cordon11

Lex and Minister Lommers give a press conference with Dr Cannaerts via computer.  They give the assurances you would expect, trying not to worry anyone, but Gryspeerts asks what would happen if someone escaped the cordon, and would Lex shoot them?  They avoid the question despite much pressing.

Cordon7

As news breaks that the cordon will be in place for another 72 hours, tensions are running high.

Jokke decides he is getting out of the NIIDA and discovers that overnight containers have been piled up round the cordon so nobody can get through.  The fact that he left and was allowed to leave the Institute seemed bad enough.  He returns.

Cordon_s1_afl02_05

Cordon_s1_afl02_05

Two women seem to have got past the containers and are at the edge of the cordon.  Lex doesn’t buy their story that they had been on the other side and were just taking photographs.  As they protest, he shoots his gun in the air and sends them back into the cordoned area.

One of Anwar’s family now seems to have contracted the virus and one of the children seems to be also showing the symptoms.

Tyl goes to speak to the cleaning woman at school.  She says her husband is dead and also looks far from well.  Almost zombiesque.  She touches Tyl’s face and he legs it.  Run fatboy run!

Not exactly a new idea having a story around the outbreak of a virus, but it’s being done pretty well and it’s nice to see some of the beautiful city of Antwerp (although they haven’t shown much of it yet).

Issues:

  • Why on earth does nobody seem to have the requisite equipment to wear to deal with infected patients?
  • Especially at the National Institute for Infectious diseases.
  • The only people who seem to have any kind of suit which might offer some protection seem to work in the data recovery office??
  • I’m sure if my primary school colleagues and I had visited an infectious diseases place at that age, every single one of us would have caught something. Although I nearly came home with a penguin from the zoo once.
  • Why are people being allowed to leave the NIIDA?
  • Must be hard for Max’s team to have much faith in him when their leader managed to shoot the figure of the mother with child during their training exercise.
  • With the kid at school getting bullied being ginger, small and fat, I assume that Magdalena High School must be somewhere in Scotland.
  • One of the kids that bullied Tyl was fairly giving himself a good work out as he stood with the others, feeling his package for some time.
  • Is this a world record for the number of characters in an opening episode of a series?
  • Aunt Ratty is bound to be infected surely?
  • Is Gryspeerts putting off writing the obituary because it is a relative who has died? Or does he just think he is better than that?
  • Nice to see that Lex, the policeman in charge of containing the disease told his girlfriend to go to his house because her flat was near the outbreak. Nice and responsible there then.
  • Was quite a surprise to hear Gryspeerts saying to his boss under his breath “fuck you very much” in English.
  • Bit strange to have a foreign drama where there has been no sign of lovemaking or nudity in the opening two episodes. Definitely not Cordon Blue…..
  • Tyl’s diet at the school after getting all the chocolate out of the vending machine means he may die of a chocolate overdose, never mind anything else.
  • The doctors spoke in English as they conversed online. Is there any foreign drama that doesn’t include some English?
  • Interesting that the head doctor at the NIIDA rubbed all over his face with his gloves on in exasperation at unfolding events. You’d think he would know better.
  • Is Tony going to try something with Lena in the office?
  • Nice touch that the rest of Belgium seemed to be joking on twitter that Antwerp should have been cordoned off for years.
  • It seems that Flemish for “fuck you” is “fuck you”.
  • It took me until near the end where I’d seen Jana’s workmate Tony before. He plays Ian Beale in Eastenders.
  • If anyone near me sneezes today, I’m running.
  • The lack of professionalism from everybody in it in relation to the disease is very off-putting, but it’s still better than James Corden.
  • WHERE ARE THE BIOHAZARD SUITS????
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