British stage and screen legends Alan Bates (Gosford Park, Women in Love) and Sinéad Cusack (Stealing Beauty) star in an irresistible blend of romantic comedy and mystery. He is a professor obsessed with word games who is ... more »forced into early retirement; she is a policewoman suspended from the force for voicing suspicions about a superior officer. They team up to find a missing person and wind up discovering much more. Traveling through some of Britain?s most glorious countryside from South Wales to the Orkney Islands, they uncover a web of nefarious activity, dodge an aerial attack, and exchange some of the wittiest banter since Hepburn and Tracy. Written by Alan Plater (The Barchester Chronicles, The Last of the Blonde Bombshells) and also featuring Bill Paterson, Mollie Sugden, and Miles Anderson, this story proves once again that with mystery and love?getting there is more than half the fun.« less
Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 01/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
OLIVER'S TRAVELS (Acorn) is a beguiling road trip romance across some of the most beautiful British landscapes and historical sites.
Alan Bates ("Women in Love," "Gosford Park") is Oliver, a word game, crossword puzzle fan and comparative religion professor who's forced into early retirement. Sinead Cusack ("Stealing Beauty") is a police officer suspended for voicing suspicions about a superior officer. Together, through spontaneous circumstances and chance, they end up travelling together by car from Wales in the south to the northernmost Orkney Islands off Scotland in separate quests that merge into single murder investigation.
Strangely, it's not the plot that involved me. In fact, I almost didn't care about the "who dunnit" as much as the colorful characters, the quirky, witty banter, the striking locations and the wonderful, mature romance between Bates and Cusack.
I can think of few films that allow us to so fully experience two characters slowly falling in love.
When Bates and Cusack say spontaneous vows at the isolated, arching ruins of 12th Century Lindisfarne Abbey with the fortress of Iona's Holy Island looming against the ocean horizon, I was swept up on this journey and didn't care about the destination.
Once again, BBC excels at some middle-age romance
Wes Saylors Jr. | Boone, North Carolina | 02/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"British television isn't afraid to delve into the romantic life of a man and a woman not in possession of rock hard abs, mid-riff baring clothing or those little tattoos that are always peeking up just over the pantline. Witness 'As Time Goes By.' Or, now, Alan Bates and Sinead Cusack in 'Oliver's Travels.' This mini-series follows Alan Bates (a professor who has been told by the dean of the college where he teaches that he is now retired) on his quest to find the world's greatest living creator of crossword puzzles (the Bates character is a mad devotee of the things). -- When he reaches the crossword creator's house he stumbles upon a mystery, and consequently upon Sinead Cusack, a policewoman who journeys with Bates not only to solve the mystery but, ulitmately, to journey with Bates till death do they part. Like most BBC mysteries, the couple doesn't investigate in dirty alleys or smelly bus stations. Their quest takes them to the lake district and on to the Orkney Islands, an area as remote as it is photogenically beautiful. There are castles and eccentrics and a great turn by Bill Paterson (of the equally charming 'Comfort and Joy'). One of the great pleasures of a BBC mystery is the travelogue that goes with it, and 'Oliver's Travels' doesn't disappoint. -- If there is one caveat, it is the relationship between Bates and Cusack. The idea of their relationship is fine. I have to admit, though, that the Bates character is a bit of an acquired taste, and while I didn't necessarily acquire the taste, I can only imagine that the lovely Sinead Cusack did. I kept losing patience with his certain brand of eccentricity before she did, but then, she was the one in love with him. 'Oliver's Travels' delivers all the things many of us come to expect (and desire) from across the pond. This isn't gritty crime drama ... it's mystery with a whimsical air, set against lush scenery. It's dotty professors and handsome women using their wits to outsmart villains that are actually pretty smart. And there's also that great castle."
I love this movie
J. Foster | Arizona USA | 05/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this movie/miniseries. I taped it when it showed on PBS and have watched it numerous times without getting tired of it. The "mystery" isn't the best part. I enjoy the characters, the scenery is great, and I appreciate the allusions to jazz and literature (also cricket.)As if that weren't enough, there's historical and mythological information and a chance to visit historical places. It's great entertainment."
Delightful Romantic Comedy/Mystery
H. S. Wedekind | Pennsylvania, USA | 01/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I shall be brief. I agree with the other reviewers here who have given this lighthearted series 5 stars. The main characters, Oliver, a redundant Professor of Comparative Religions, and Diane, a policewoman forced to take a leave of absence after asking sticky questions about her Superintendent's possible shady financial dealings (the late Alan Bates and Sinead Cusack play Oliver and Diane), are a perfectly matched couple who exchange witty banter as they travel through the scenic British landscape in search of a "missing" crossword puzzle compiler named Aristotle. Along the way they are shadowed by a sinister man, chased by villains in a helicopter, ultimately find love, and, yes, solve the puzzle. This is a refreshingly mature adult romantic comedy/mystery. Their scenic quest through Wales, England, and Scotland is beautifully filmed. I highly recommend it."
Worth it for the anagrams alone
Peter Holmick | Canberra, Australia | 08/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a delightful BBC made-for-television romantic comedy/drama, based on the novel by Alan Plater. Alan Bates is wonderful as the eccentric Oliver who loves cryptic crosswords and sees anagrams everywhere. He also knows something very funny about sex. Sinead Cusack is gorgeous and intelligent as Police Constable Diane Priest. She tries her hand at crosswords, he tries detective work, and together they go in search of Aristotle. A strong supporting cast includes: Molly Sugden (Are You Being Served) as a B&B proprietor; and Charlotte Coleman (Four Weddings and A Funeral) as a computer hacker. It's fun, it's irreverent and you'll never look at the daily paper or headstones in quite the same way again. See it with someone you love. Highly recommended."