UNDER THE HAMMER
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Secrets and seduction at a London auction house
Intrigue and romance in a high stakes world
Ben Glazier (Richard Wilson, One Foot in the Grave) and Maggie Perowne (Jan Francis, Just Good Friends) head the paintings department at Klinsky’s, a well-regarded auction house. Ben can’t resist a good mystery, whether it’s identifying a potential Titian masterpiece, tracking down a lost Dickens manuscript, or pondering how to catch Maggie’s attention. Maggie, meanwhile, dabbles in her own workplace intrigue--in the form of dashing-yet-dodgy wine expert Nick Roper (Michael Siberry, The Grand).
Ben and Maggie share a profound passion for the art they put under the hammer, even if the job means contending with professional competition, a cash-mad boss, and the ever-present threat of fraud. One part art caper, one part slow-burn romance, Under the Hammer provides a revealing glimpse into a world that celebrates profit nearly as much as artistic genius.
Written by John Mortimer, creator of Rumpole of the Bailey, the series also features superb guest stars, including John Gielgud (Arthur), Emily Mortimer (Match Point), Rosemary Harris (Spider-Man), Hermione Norris (Cold Feet), and Ian Carmichael (The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries).
Top Customer Reviews
Cast is led by Maggie (Jan Francis-`Just Good Friends' `Anne of Green Gables, Avonlea') head of Old Masters dept. who's desired by painting expert Ben (Richard Wilson-`One Foot in the Grave' but never says "I can't be-lieve it!"). Maggie is hot for wine dept head Nick (Michael Siberry-`The Grand'). Klinsky's London office Lord Bernard `Chairman' (Robert Lang) cheats with office gal Camilla (Marsha Fitzalan), & then Annabelle (Kate McKenzie-`Endgame'). Shrimsley (Stephen Boxer-`Garrows Law' `Prime Suspect') is too busy counting the company beans to get female-frisky. Receptionist Lucy (Rose Keegan-`Lilies' `Harry Potter') dizzily dreams of acting.
And then the GUEST STARS begin to appear profusely in each episode. Many stars are not even recognized as such on the box or in the credits, just listed as a cast member. Many are noted below in the episode details (without spoilers).
7 Episodes, about 51 minutes each, all with SUBTITLES provided.
Bonus is a text bio of Mortimer, the AMAZING writer.
Rated perhaps PG (?) with plenty of adultery and bed shots but everyone covered. General family entertainment, but content likely more young adult and older.Read more ›
Richard Wilson's attempt at portraying a sophisticated Ben came off more as just an unpleasantly snide man. I could not like the character or root for him, in his attempts to romance a much younger woman.
To me, the series would be greatly improved by an almost police procedural approach to investigating the art. Very little analysis was shown. If this was meant to be a comedy, it was just not funny enough. As a mystery, the series is only passable. I find that I much prefer "New Tricks" in a similar TV series category.
However, the cameos, by the likes of John Gielgud, were really wonderful. To me, the guest star performances only served to accentuate what was lacking in the rest of the episode. More engaging characterizations and a more interesting treasure hunt would have been just my cup of tea.
Besides some wonderfully humorous dialog for the viewer to enjoy, there are good mysteries to be solved by the team of Ben (played greatly by Richard Wilson) and Maggie (played wonderfully by Jan Francis) heading up the "Fine Arts" team and are always questioning "is it real or fake" uncovering extreme efforts by many characters (played by some famous British actors such as Sir John Gielgud--he's fabulous plus there are many, many more "guests") to "pass off" fakes or to just "pull one over" on the experts. In addition to the "Art Intrigues", there are delicious sub-plots involving the "sexual affairs " of Maggie and the wine Department head of the Auction House, Nick and the ongoing affair of the chairman and his "office gal" that he's not married to along with his many efforts to"hide" her. Added to the aforesaid, Ben is secretly in love with Maggie and is very jealous of she and Nick,
All in all, I derived hours of pleasure from viewing "Under the Hammer" and highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys wonderfully written, directed and acted British "mysteries".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Here is what British TV does best: art, antiques and mystery. Very polished, and loads of fun for the antique buff, or simply fans of well done Brit drama-com.Published 1 month ago by Dr. J.
A little tame, actually. I wasn't really looking for a romance; more of the passion for art, digging out the provenance, art theft. More mystery! Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
For some reason I really enjoyed this series. I like Richard Wilson and Jan Francis. Very light hearted.Published 6 months ago by Robert Fox
I loved Richard Wilson in an earlier British sit com... thought he was wonderful, so I ordered Under the Hammer based on that. I was bitterly disappointed with the series. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Janice Smith
IMO this show gets on ones nerves very fast. Arguments and petty quarrels seem so childish. Gave it to the library.Published 14 months ago by Roger L. Reynolds
This was an amusing series, but did not use the subject as informative, Interesting, or exciting as I had expected.Published 22 months ago by Mrs. Corinna Wildman
We're fans of Richard Wilson. These episodes show him in fine form. Now if someone would release Duck Patrol, we could watch Richard Wilson at his absolute best. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mitch NC
Being a lover of art, auctions and British crime shows, I thought this would combine three of my passions. Read morePublished on January 2, 2014 by C. P. Benedict