The 39 Steps on PBS vs. Closing ceremonies – no choice


Ok, I know the Olympic closing ceremonies are on tonight. But, there will be another closing ceremonies in 4 years, so it’s time for you to take a stand, DVR it, and then watch the newest adaptation of The 39 Steps instead. The show airs as part of the Masterpiece series tonight (Sunday) at 8:00pm CT on KERA Channel 13 and most PBS stations nationwide at 9:00pm ET/PT.

Coming off a stellar couple of months for the series which has included Cranford, Return to Cranford and the brilliant adaptation of the classic Emma, tonight’s re-make of the John Buchan novel stars Rupert images-1Penry-Jones (MI5, Persuasion) as Richard Hannay in the title role. Penry-Jones is joined by Lydia Leonard (Jericho, Foyle’s War) and David Haig (The Thick of It, Thin Blue Line and Midsomer Murders).

You know the story. Hannay is a former intelligence agent who’s given a imagescoded message by a spy who is then shot dead by Germans who burst onto the scene. Hannay escapes then is targeted by authorities as the spy’s killer. He escapes and finds himself on the run from both the police and the Germans who want the notebook with the coded message. He picks up Victoria Sinclair along the way who finds herself entwined in Hannay’s world of intrigue by accident which makes this both a thriller and a romantic thriller.

At this point, you may be asking in the day and age of poor re-makes, do we need another one? Simple answer is yes. Long before the Jason Bourne’s, Jack Bauer’s and James Bond’s of the world, there was Richard Hannay. For all of them, saving the world from disaster is all in a days work. Ok, I know Alfred Hitchcock did a masterful  job in the original 1935 version. But in this one, Penry-Jones out James Bond’s James Bond himself (except, maybe, Sean Connery, which no one can touch).

This is good television, folks, so remember, DVR the Olympics and watch The 39 Steps on Masterpiece. Would love to know what you think of it.