It seems like every time I turn sround, the UK shoots out another dream programme that I should have always known about. ADAM ADAMANT was a glaring example among many brilliant secrets. The recently released dvd of MR. ROSE has immediately found itself among my favourites, and I've only seen the first two episodes! Incredible. How do these things keep popping up? Apparently this series is one of a trilogy, the first being called THE ODD MAN, and the second, IT'S DARK OUTSIDE. All three feature the character of Mr. Rose, all played by William Mervyn.
For those aware of the classic radio dramas of the detective Dr. Morelle (played brilliantly by Cecil Parker), Mr. Rose is familiar and welcome territory. In fact, the two series begin in much the same way, with the elderly detective interviewing a secretary for what he warns is a very challenging position. In Mr. Rose, it's a miss Drusilla Lamb, played charmingly by Gillian Lewis, who I recognised from the great series THE MIND OF J.G. REEDER. It's during the interview that we meet Mr. Rose's manservant John Halifax, played by Donald Webster. Mr. Halifax is a really odd bird with an extremely peculiar sense of humour...immediately likeable. The interview is a great staging device, introducing all three main characters, rolling quickly into the plot. I haven't enjoyed an introduction so much in quite a while; there is none of the awkwardness that some shows have while they find their vibe.
What makes it so wonderful is the combination of a wickedly funny script, a very cheeky and unsentimental sensibility, and the almost Noel Coward-like charm of William Mervyn. Almost nothing that he says is without wit, and yet his airy glibness disguises a crisp understanding of the situation at hand. The repartee between Mr. Rose and Mr. Halifax is hilarious; the two actors are very comfortable with each other, and it makes the relationship between their characters both plausible and entertaining. I must mention again that the show is quite brash at times, poking fun at each character in turn, with little bits of sarcastic humour that rides the edge of acceptability in a very sharp way. Even if the storylines were boring(which they are not), the dialogue alone would keep one entertained completely.
If you can get a chance to see Mr. Rose, I recommend that you do so. It's already climbing my list of favourite programmes...now I must find the preceding two series... (NOTE: Since I wrote this article I have seen IT'S DARK OUTSIDE, and it is completely amazing!)