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"Brilliant Fun!" --What's On TV (U.K.)
Ex-cons Ellie, Hannah, Shoo, and Josie have done their time. Now they just want to disappear to Barbados with £3 million stolen from Ellie’s gangster husband, Roy. When a twist of fate leaves them without passports, they flee to a remote village in the Scottish Highlands and a shabby hotel that seems like the perfect hideaway. All they have to do is lie low and plan their escape. But the town of Hope Springs harbors bigger secrets and worse crimes, including unsolved murders. Soon their lives are complicated by small-town nosiness, a shady solicitor, a handsome policeman, and a hit man sent by Roy in search of his money--and the girls.
Alex Kingston (ER, Moll Flanders) leads a colorful cast that includes Annette Crosbie (Little Dorrit), Sian Reeves (Emmerdale Farm), Paul Higgins (In the Loop), Christine Bottomley (The Street), Vinette Robinson (Waterloo Road), Ronni Ancona (Gideon’s Daughter), and Alec Newman (Frank Herbert’s Dune). Set against the backdrop of gorgeous Scottish scenery, Hope Springs is escapist, entertaining fun.
Hope Springs balances drama and whimsical comedy with easy skill. Kingston drives the show with her mix of iron will, confident sexiness, and flashes of vulnerability, but the entire cast is solid, including Annette Crosbie (One Foot in the Grave) as the previous owner of the hotel who's not as dotty as she seems. Particularly good is Bottomley; her character Shoo is a mess--needy, reckless, prone to petty tantrums--but in Bottomley's hands she's deeply sympathetic, and exemplifies the damaged lives these women have lived. The show's overarching theme is how these former criminals, who've learned to look out for themselves at all costs, discover the value of community. Thanks to the fine cast and strong writing, this opening up is both comic and touching. Hope Springs is an excellent show that deserves to find a wider audience. --Bret Fetzer
- Biography of Alex Kingston
- Photo gallery
- SDH subtitles
Top Customer Reviews
My wife gave it 5 1/2 stars while only half way through the series. Men will add an extra 1/2 star for the beautiful babes. These women-of-the-world don't dress like it's cold in the Scottish Highlands. And oh, what scenery, landscape were talking here. Add to that the lovely British and Scottish accents, with SUBTITLES PROVIDED TO HELP. Some funny slang I need to remember to add to my own vocabulary.
The bevy of gals is led by Ellie (Alex Kingston-'ER' 'Moll Flanders') who is brilliant, colorful, and quite convincing as a tough ex-con. But she can get tender for seconds at a time. Her former cellmates include:
Shoo (Christine Bottomley, a blond with a blond brain,
Hannah (Sian Reeves), perhaps the most stable of the pack,
Josie (Vinette Robinson), leggy action-prone beautiful convict.Read more ›
The end of each episode get's you thinking, 'how the heck are they going to get out of that one'!
Full of twists and turns with plenty of drama and comedy to boot.
With a plethera of fine actors, I defy anyone not to enjoy this series. Just a shame that it's not getting a follow up.
This is one of the best shows I have ever seen on the Beeb.
P.S. You do get used to the inclemant weather here in the UK. :-)
I think the writers must have known, or suspected, that the series would not be renewed. They came up with a plot that was more or less resolved by the end of their allotted eight episodes. It starts out with four women being released from prison and immediately executing a major heist. They not only get away with a wad of cash, they do it by double crossing our heroine's husband, a mobster who has been two timing her after she had taken a rap for him, the rotten scoundrel.
Intending to flee to Barbados, the four end up fleeing to the Scottish Highlands and have to lie low for a while. See, there's a cold-blooded assassin after them. (Is it my imagination, or has the movie/TV assassin population grown exponentially lately?) Predictably, but pleasantly, the girls slowly become involved with the quirky population of Hope Springs, even as they make plans to leave as soon as possible. Of course, something always keeps them from leaving and they learn that they are not the only people in town with criminal secrets.Read more ›
Probably the best part for me are the four woman, escaped cons who somehow pull off the perfect crime, robbing their leader Ellie's husband of three million pounds and fitting him up for the job in the process, and then go from super competent to completely incapable in the space of a single episode. They war with one another constantly, but in the end always stick together, while all of them keep making unbelievable mistakes and suffering one in a million tragedies, such as burning the three million pounds in a house fire, not to mention buying a hotel with a dead body in it.
The writers did a lot of work in bringing these characters to life as tragic victims of past wrongs and portraying those pasts in the way that they act, and the actresses all do top notch jobs in showing those flaws in their characters as well as their strengths. These aren't one dimensional cardboard cut outs by any means. And somehow, despite all the improbable things that happen, and the amazingly bad decisions they make, that makes everything real.
Of course the surprising amount of cleavage shown in the freezing cold Scottish Highlands, the beautiful scenery, and the seemingly endless number of plots, plotters, hotel buyers and sellers, and people who want to kill them, and of course the twisted romance of the local copper and his pregnant soon to be wife, also help.
Definitely it's British humour, always slipping somewhere between the dramatic and the ridiculous, but its well worth watching.
Four solid stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The dvd will not play on my US player and nowhere on the package or item description does it say it is not Region 1 so very disappointed. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Julie H.
like many i can.t the players but if i had known that it just ended on a sour note my purchase might have been set aganist instead i,m forlornly affected by the left asking wtfPublished 14 months ago by tim huxoll
I purchased this on a whim and enjoyed the series. It takes place in very scenic Scotland and the performances and storyline are very engaging. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Ronald Davis
I agree with the other reviewers who thought the character Shoo was annoying. The writers gave her no appealing qualities at all. Time after time she jeopardizes their plans. Read morePublished on January 15, 2014 by VideoLibrarian
Not what I expected...I thought with the cast that it might be better. A little too over the top sometimes.....
loved Alex Kingston in Dr. Who