It's a lot of fun to discuss a movie afterward and then decide on a rating. The ratings we give what we view are important because the computer program makes suggestions based on that and develops categories that might interest us. The more shows you rate, the better the program gets at knowing what you like. It's fun but a bit scary in a Big Brother kind of way.
Over the past couple of years we've enjoyed quite a few British TV series, including Doc Martin (5 stars), Monarch of the Glen (4 stars), Midsomer Murders (4 stars), as well as several British produced miniseries (e.g. The Politician's Wife, 5 stars).
We have recently watched a few episodes of a show starring Stephen Fry called Kingdom. The show is about Norfolk solicitor Peter Kingdom whose "quirky clientele supplies him with a bounty of unusual cases, which he juggles with tending to his unbalanced half-sister, Beatrice, and searching for their long lost brother."
I wanted to give the series 5 stars but Joyce convinced me that just because I love the stunning car that Kingdom (Fry) drives around in I shouldn't be guilty of grade inflation. This is true. But the Alvis TE21 Drophead is such a beauty. I think I'm in love. Sigh. Joyce is used to this. Especially since we sold the XK8.
When I thought of the Facel Vega, I wondered immediately, why would the English be using a French car for a very English hero in an English TV series? Well they wouldn't now, would they?
But here's a pic of the Facel Vega HK500 so you can see the slight similarity. That chap standing proudly by his own HK500 is English racing driver, Stirling Moss, who's often called "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship."
But the car in Kingdom is not an HK500. The two are quite different. The Facel Vega is a French made car. The Alvis is very much an English automobile. From Wiki:
Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd was a British manufacturing company that existed in Coventry,England from 1919 – 1967. In addition to automobiles designed for the civilian market, the company also produced racing cars, aircraft engines, armoured cars and other armoured fighting vehicles, the latter continuing long after civilian car production ceased.
Alvis manufactured the TE21 between 1963 and 1966. It was powered by a 130hp, straight six. According to the producers of the Kingdom series, it was selected because it's very rare and it was designed as a gentleman's car. Here's Fry standing by the one used in the series.
Here's a brief video of the beautiful Alvis spinning around slowly so you can see it from all angles.
Now, let me briefly consider the Facel Vega HK500. I said earlier that it was built by FACEL (Forges et Ateliers de Construction d'Eure-et-Loir); the company manufactured Facels between 1954 and 1964. The engine the French used in the '54 HK500 model was a 275 cubic inch Desoto Firedome, Hemi V8. That's right. A Hemi. A French car company actually used something made in America. In '56 they even used the bigger 330 cubic inch Chrysler hemi.
As you look at the car you may notice a few external American style cues as well--wrap around windshield, lots of chrome. And here's another fact: a new Facel Vega cost more than a Rolls Royce. The advertising slogan the company used was "For the few who own the finest."
The HK500 had a sleek and elegant skin, but hiding under that beauty was enough brute power to give Facel the confidence to claim it was the world's fastest production car at the time. Guess that explains why Sir Stirling had one.
Ah gee whiz. I'm so fickle. I think I want both cars. I love this HK too.
Maybe when it comes to cars, I'm a bigamist. Actually make that a depraved, lust ravaged, polygamist.
I'll leave you with a brief video of this lovely, but very, very hot car. You can check out the curves, look at the fabulous interior, and listen to that lusty Hemi V8. I'm starting to sweat a bit here.