FEATURE: Lanterns On The Lake – Bunch Of Fives | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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In February 2016 Lanterns On The Lake performed a special, one-off hometown show at Sage  Gateshead accompanied by the Royal Northern Sinfonia. For this unique event the band were joined by the 40-piece orchestra to have their acclaimed catalogue of atmospheric rock and cinematic dream–pop reworked and reimagined within a sumptuous orchestral setting. The band’s label–mate Fiona Brice, who has worked with the likes of John Grant, Vashti Bunyan and Anna Calvi, wrote the arrangements for the performance. 

Now, for the first time, this sublime recording will be released on vinyl on Friday 24th November via Bella Union, to coincide with Black Friday.

Ahead of that though, we got Lanterns On The Lake to share their top five television episodes of all time.

The Office – Christmas Special/ Final episode
The Office really stands the test of time. The genius of The Office lies not only in the characters (Brent is one of the best comedy characters ever created), but also in the subtleties, the nuance of every scene. Every detail is perfectly placed from the subtle facial expressions to the faultlessly scripted interplay of characters and every beat of dialogue. This episode encompasses all of that but it also does something that is rare in TV series nowadays – it rewards the audience for having invested in these characters. From Brent at last telling Finchy to “fuck off” to the ‘old gang’ laughing at Brent’s Frank Spencer impersonation in the final scene, we feel like there is a payoff. Contrary to Tim telling us that “life is just a series of moments and there is no happy ending”, it really feels as though we get one with The Office. This episode also highlights how The Office was more than a comedy about a mundane paper merchant, it could make you laugh and cry; oh man, when Dawn opens her secret Santa to find an oil painting set from Tim with the words “never give up” written next to the drawing she made of him – I still can’t hear Yazoo’s ‘Only You’ without getting a lump in my throat.

I’m Alan Partridge – To Kill A Mocking Alan
It is so hard to pick a favourite episode of Partridge but I remember being ill with laughter the first time I watched this episode. Things get off to a bad start for Alan when Sue Cook pulls out. Alan then ignorantly manages to completely miss the mark on all of Irish history in front of the Irish TV executives but does order a ‘British Isles breakfast.’ He then tries to impress his visitors by slagging off the travel tavern and its “blonde bastard” robotic staff (despite creepily sniffing her earlier in the episode). Later, this leads to the toe curling situation of Alan taking them to his mega fan’s home and pretending that he lives there; casually passing a saucer of soggy bread on the wall that he leaves there “for friends.” As they sit in a room covered wall-to-wall in Alan Partridge pictures (he is “such a bighead.”), drinking tea from an aerialator, things spiral more and more out of control.

Quantum Leap – Mirror Image / The final Episode
Oh man, this episode is heart wrenching. Sam leaps into the strangest bar in a coal mining town in the 50s. When he looks in the mirror to see which body he has leaped into it is his own reflection looking back at him. The bar tender’s identity is unclear, is he God? Or fate? Or Time itself? Throughout the episode Sam sees the faces of people he has previously helped in other leaps. Sam is then faced with a decision – to change his trusty hologram advisor Al’s history or not. If he changes Al’s past it would mean that Al would never become his hologram advisor as part of the Quantum Leap experiment which of course means that Sam would then be stuck leaping. We know from every episode that Sam is hoping that his next leap would be his leap home and in saving Al’s relationship with his true love, Sam commits the ultimate sacrifice. The program closes with the words “Dr Sam Becket never returned home.”

The Thick Of It – Spinners And Losers
I love pretty much anything Armando Iannucci is involved in and The Thick Of It is some of his best work. I am a big fan of its American cousin Veep but overall I think The Thick Of It just has a much darker and more cynical tone to it which adds to its sharpness. In this episode we follow a single night behind the scenes as backstabbing, fickle and mostly incompetent advisors and junior politicians all scramble to align with various potential candidates following the PM’s resignation. Glenn is pushed to breaking point after being persistently ridiculed and made to feel irrelevant by the likes of Ollie and he perfectly delivers his civil rights plagiarised “I am a man” speech while Terri tries to calm him down. There are so many glorious Malcom Tucker moments in this episode (“I’d love to stop and chat but I’d rather have type 2 diabetes”) and of course he’s ruthlessly always one step ahead of everyone else. I’m not sure this kind of political satire could work in the same way with our current political omnishambles.

Eastenders – April 2009 Archie and Peggy’s Wedding/ Danielle’s death
This was the golden era of Eastenders in my opinion. The drama is almost Shakespearean in how it is set up in this episode with the interplaying motives of the characters all colliding in a tragic ending. Danielle sneaks into the Vic to drop her locket into Ronnie’s champagne glass – the locket that only Ronnie’s daughter could have in her possession. She hides upstairs as the wedding party return. When Ronnie finds her Danielle blurts out that she is her daughter but of course Ronnie is under her wicked father’s spell who claims that Danielle is mad because Ronnie’s real daughter died a long time ago. They throw Danielle out of the Vic.  Later, as the guests all toast to the bride and groom, Ronnie raises her glass and spots the locket. Ronnie’s world crumbles around her as she realises that her father had lied all along and that she has just rejected her long-lost daughter who she has been living close to for all this time. As Ronnie runs through the square and calls Danielle’s name, Danielle turns to say “Mum”. Mother and Daughter are reunited for mere seconds before Janine’s car screeches around the corner and they are torn apart forever. Danielle lies dying in her Mother’s arms as Ronnie cradles her beloved child for the first and last time. Duff duff duff duff du-du-duff. Gut wrenching.

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