A visit to my optician this week sent me rushing to view a video on You Tube, not just one but a series of eight. The reason – he was reminiscing about an old TV series from 1979 that was set on Cyprus called “The Aphrodite Inheritance”. I think the real reason he remembered it so well was because the leading lady cast for the role of Aphrodite (Eleni) was Alexandra Bastedo a real beauty ,as you would expect no less for her to be, cast to play Venus herself. Alexander Bastedo lived locally and was married to Patrick Garland who for many years was the Director of The Chichester Festival Theatre which is local to where I live.
My optician whetted my appetite for viewing this old serial by describing it as a tale of mystery and intrigue involving treasure, myth and history all set on Cyprus. The quality of the You Tube offering was very poor sadly a bit like viewing through a glass of water but the story certainly was entertaining. It seemed to have been shot entirely on location and gave an authentic feel using not only scenes incorporating local colour like tavernas, coffee shops, historical sites and at one point a real festival running through the streets but many of the actors were Cypriot as well as many local extras. Where it was disappointing was the serious under use of one of Cyprus’ main assets – the scenery. The last episode had some good scenes in the Tombs of the Kings and the amphitheatre at Curium as well as the shores around Petra to Romiou but many early scenes which, if it was shot today I feel sure would include some fabulous panoramic shots, just seemed to show a lot of very scrubby, dusty landscape by the side of the roads. I’m sure they shot it late in the year when everything looked parched to extinction.
In stark contrast I went to see the film “Mr Turner” this week about the renowned painter William Turner 1775 – 1851, ( Timothy Spall) famous for his impressionistic land and seascapes. In this film the scenery is at its most breathtaking, giving us the vivid beauty of sunsets and scenery showing us the very scenes in all their magnificence, that Turner depicted in his paintings. The technology involved in film making has advanced so much. These days we are so lucky to be able to view films that give us incredibly clear high definition images, particularly when viewing scenery, they make us fee we are there,we can almost smell the fresh air see every blade of grass , smell the ozone as well as feel the spray of the sea.
There is a DVD available of the whole “The Aphrodite Inheritance” series and I’m sure that has to be of much better quality, I would certainly hope so anyway.
If you want to remain in ignorance of the story as you will be viewing the series yourself, don’t read any further. The storyline revolved around a hidden tomb of Aphrodite being discovered accidentally, containing a hoard of fabulous treasure. The three gods Dionysos, Pan and Aphrodite appear in human form and manipulate the proceedings so that the treasure remains where it has for thousands of years. The baddies get their just desserts and the good are rewarded. Peter McEnery plays the lead male role and Brian Blessed appears as a wonderfully larger than life Dionysos. I recommend it.