Helen Bailey (51) was a popular british author who disappeared on April 11, 2016. She was last seen walking her beloved dachshund, Boris. Her fiancé Ian Stewart (pictured with her) reported her missing on April 15, and claimed that she had left a note saying she needed time alone and would be spending time at her holiday home. But she never went there.
Soon police started to get suspicious of Ian’s activities, and eventually arrested him on July 11, after he came back from a trip to Spain he was supposed to take with Helen. While Ian had played the part of concerned boyfriend and had paid for missing posters and appealed on camera for Helen to come back, he’d also been taking money from her account, buying Arsenal tickets only two weeks after she disappeared and he was also caught on a surveillance video disposing of something in a rubbish tip, which the investigators assumed was a duvet, the same day Helen disappeared.
A day after Ian’s arrest, police did a new search of the house the couple shared in Royston and found a hidden cesspit which entrance was in the garage. They had initially missed it because Ian had parked Helen’s car right over it. When they went inside, they found Helen’s body buried in there along with her dog. A post-mortem examination revealed she had high concentrations of a drug called zopiclone, which is used to treat short term insomnia. Helen had been complaining to her family that she was lately unusually sleepy and forgetful, and she even googled “why do I keep falling asleep?”. Prosecution theorized that Ian had been drugging her for months, and eventually, on April 11, he suffocated her and hid her body. The motive? Money, since Helen had put him in her will and had a life insurance.
During trial, Ian dropped his initial charade of not knowing what had happened and said that Helen had been taken by two men called Joe and Nick, who were business associated of her former husband, John Sinfield, who drowned while on vacation in 2011. Ian said he’d lied to police because these two men had threatened Helen’s life and that of his sons.
No one believed his story, and none of the evidence supported it, so he was found guilty on February 22nd, 2017, and given a minimum sentence of 34 years.
Helen and Ian met in October 2011 through an online grief group for widows and widowers, and she dedicated a non fiction novel to him and often said he had saved her life. Ian’s wife, Diane, had died unexpectedly in 2010, in what was determined to be “natural causes”. However, considering the new circumstances, the prosecution said they were going to re-examine her death.
Has there ever been a more Iconic line than ‘He’s everything you would want in a man. But I want a woman.’ (Bad Girls, Season 3, episode 16 ‘Coming Out’) in the history of television/anything ? I don’t think so.
1) The head of Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of Dreamworks animation at the time and one of the former big wigs at Disney, had been pitching an adaptation of Moses’ story from Exodus to Disney far before he started Dreamworks with Steven Spielberg. During an early meeting of Dreamworks Katzenberg recalls that Spielberg looked at him during the meeting and said, “You ought to do The Ten Commandments.”
2) I think the opening disclaimer is a nice touch.
“The motion picture you are about to see is an adaptation of the Exodus story. While artistic and historical license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Moses can be found in the book of Exodus.”
3) Music plays an incredibly important role in this film, mostly for setting its grand storytelling and dark tone. This is clearly apparent from the opening song “Deliver Us” which depicts the suffering of the Hebrew people in Egypt and also the hope of Moses.
4) This film also does an excellent job of immediately establishing the brotherly relationship between Moses and Ramses. It’s fun and honest, which makes the following events all the more heartbreaking.
5) Val Kilmer is quite effective in the role of Moses, being able to provide a healthy balance of his youthful joviality and privilege early on and the wisdom that would come to define the character later.
6) This film has three noteworthy actors who have very little lines. The first two of these are Patrick Stewart as Pharaoh Seti and Helen Mirren as The Queen.
Neither of them sing, so their lines are few and unfortunately Mirren feels wasted in the part (less of a comment on her acting, which is top notch as usual, and more from the lack of screen time). Stewart, however, gives Seti some depth. We see him as father and ruler, both roles where he cares about his people, but also murderer of Hebrew babies which gives him a sinister feel.
7) Moses could have been painted as a spoiled brat while acting as prince of Egypt, but he takes responsibility for his actions and mistakes while also trying to shield Ramses from some of their father’s heavy expectations.
8) Tzipporah is established as fierce as heck from the get go.
Kept as a foreign slave in her first scene, she still fights back with great vigor despite being in a room who don’t care if she dies by the hands of the pharaoh. Michelle Pfeiffer imparts some of the strength she brought to Catwoman into the part and it’s a wonderful take on the biblical figure.
9) Sandra Bullock may have more lines than Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart, and (later) Danny Glover, but for some reason I’m always wanting more of her and her character Miriam by the time the film ends. I like what I see, I just wish there were more of her in the film (I think).
10) For some reason I don’t feel the way about her brother Aaron, who is voiced wonderfully by Jeff Goldblum. That may be because we see Aaron develop from non-believer to believer over the course of the film (wheres Miriam is consistently good and believing in Moses) and Jeff Goldblum plays both the doubter and the supporter well.
11) Continuing with the excellent music in this film, “All I Ever Wanted,” carries with it that sense of grandeur as well as the heartbreak of Moses denying his true heritage.
12) Moses’ nightmare is one of the most memorable non-musical sequences out of the film (not THE most memorable but one of them), and this is done both through the unique hieroglyphic art style and the lack of dialogue. It is true visual storytelling.
13) Remember how I said Tzipporah is fierce as heck? Well, that continues throughout the film when she decides to drop Moses into a well as a bit of payback for being a prince of Egypt (although she does help him out because he helped her escape the palace).
14) Danny Glover is the third actor who doesn’t have enough lines. He plays the role of Jethro, a character with about ten spoken lines (more or less) and then the rest of his role is in song. And Danny Glover doesn’t sing the song.
In the little dialogue Glover does give though, he is able to establish Jethro as a man who’s heart is as big as his stature. I just wish we’d heard more of him.
15) I mentioned in The Road to El Dorado the effectiveness of using a song to cover large gaps of time. This film is no different, initial with Jethro’s song “Through Heavens Eyes.” It’s a rousing and hopeful number which talks of the Hebrew god and how we can only know our worth when trying to look through (one guess what I’m going to say next) heaven’s eyes. In that time we cover Moses learning what a free life is from these people, his growing humility, and his blossoming relationship with Tzipporah (and eventual marriage).
16) The Burning Bush.
Val Kilmer provides the voice of god in this film, although that wasn’t the initial plan. Originally all the actors in the film were going to voice god at the same time, and were told to whisper so they wouldn’t overpower each other. When the time came to record Kilmer’s lines, they realized someone had to speak louder. It was a happy realization, as the filmmakers later noted that god usually speaks to us as the little voice in our own heads. And it parallels the Cecil B. Demille version of The Ten Commandments where it is said (although I don’t think confirmed) that Charlton Heston also provided the voice of god while also playing Moses.
17) Moses telling Tzipporah about his encounter with the burning bush is another fine example of how filmmaking is primarily a VISUAL medium. We don’t hear a word they saw to each other, but we see him talking and we see her reaction and we know EXACTLY what is happening.
18) Ralph Fiennes performance as Ramses is at its best when Ramses becomes villainous and conceited. Hmm, Ralph Fiennes playing a villainous and conceited villain. Sounds familiar…
19) Playing with the Big Boys is the only real villain song in this film.
Performed by the evil lackeys Hotep and Huy (who are voiced wonderfully by Steve Martin and Martin Short respectively), the song shows off just how dark things in the Egypt really are and how tricky these two “magicians” are. Martin and Short breathe wonderful life and evil fun into the song, and even recorded their dialogue together. And the scenes uses wonderful use of darkness and shadows to make us feel like Moses is in over his head. Which in a way, he is. But the film wouldn’t be interesting if things were easy for the protagonist.
20) The growing conflict between Moses and Ramses is heartbreaking and I give credit to all those involved in this film for that. The directors, the writers, the animators, Val Kilmer & Ralph Fiennes, everyone. We see them go from the best of friends to archenemies and neither of them wants to be in that position. But they are, and they each think they’re doing what is best for their people. It hurts a lot to watch.
21) “The Plagues” is also a great example of how this film condenses what could have been a massive chunk of time into a little two-and-a-half minute song.
It also does not make light of the plagues either. The plagues were horrible. True wrath of god type stuff that ruined people’s lives. And this song is an epic but dark representation of just what those were like while also developing the conflict between Moses and Ramses.
22) I’m not as familiar with my biblical readings as maybe I should be, but I like that this film depicts Moses reaching out to Ramses one last time before he releases the final plague. It is one final reminder that they are or, more appropriately, were brothers. And they almost seem to understand each other, to make peace. But they don’t. Meaning the final and most awful plague is released.
23) I don’t want to get into my own theological beliefs or philosophies, but I am always sickened about the death of the first borns of Egypt.
The scene is animated beautifully but the entire thing is heartbreaking. The idea of a god who will take away the lives of children just to get what he wants, even though he later claims that we are all his children, just never sits right with me. I just…it sickens me. That’s all I can say. It sickens me.
24) “When You Believe” is probably THE song from this film. It won the Oscar for best original song that year, beating out “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith. It is the perfect representation of the power of hope and belief which is the central theme of this film. Michelle Pfeiffer and Sally Dworsky (along with the film’s chorus) do an excellent job performing the song written by Stephen Schwartz, but the pop version performed by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey is just as good.
25) I think the most memorable part of this film has to be the parting of the Red Seas. And it could just be for this image alone:
That is such a powerful image which really gets across the wonder of what we’re seeing. A representation of the scene which few if any adaptations of the Exodus story have ever lived up to and which I think only animation can bring to life so wonderfully.
26) After the Red Sea crashes down and Ramses is washed away, we see Moses looking off in the distance and hear Ramses screaming, “MOSES!” The filmmakers have suggested that this may be in Moses’ head and that Ramses might actually be dead. I like that idea. It shows Moses still has hope for his brother.
27) And since this is an adaptation of Exodus, of course it has to involve the Ten Commandments in some way. I’m just glad that it’s the last shot of the film. A nice way of ending the story.
It makes sense to end a family film there, as opposed to Moses finding his people worshipping a false idol (a golden cow, I think) and smashing the tablet before God destroys the idol and forces his people to wander the desert for 40 years to kill off the rebellious generation. Oh, and Moses didn’t get to go into the promised land.
The Prince of Egypt is a great animated film who’s popularity has unfortunately lost steam in recent years. It represents its story well without beating you over the head with the religion, the animation and music are gorgeous, and the voice acting is top notch (if a little wasted at times). I highly recommend you see it.
I was about 5 when I had already realised that I was never
going to marry a man, and wanted a wife instead. This was the mid-80s. There
was nothing on television that adequately reflected how I saw my future. Then in
1984, when I was 7, along came a tv show called Kate & Allie, it featured
two College friends who had drifted apart and re-connected after their
divorces. They lived together with their three children in a New York City
apartment. Kate was the free spirited ex-hippie
type, whilst Allie was the more straitlaced pearls and proper decorum type.
Together they made an opposites attract kind of couple.
It was the only show at the time that even vaguely reflected
the life I wanted. It was no surprise that the show built up a lesbian
following, a sit-com with two attractive, competent, hilarious female leads,
bringing up three children together.
I was devoted.
Until they seemed to get wind of how this was coming across
to the audience, what followed was one of the most condescending 25 minutes of
television I have ever watched.
They “addressed” the issue of any implied lesbianism by
airing an episode that featured the protagonist’s landlady, a lesbian, saying
that they would have to pay more rent as they were two families living in a one
family apartment, unless they were actually one family, i.e. Kate & Allie
were lesbians. What followed was a convoluted and patronising episode that
concluded with the pair schooling their lesbian landlady on what constituted a
I never watched another episode. Even at that age I understood the message
they were sending me.
Cagney & Lacey was another favourite amongst lesbians,
two badass women, who could hold their own in a macho environment that is the
epitome of old school boy’s club. They were intelligent, tough, and still
empathetic. They were the kind of women
I wanted to see around me.
But yet again, as the show carried on, it was deeply
imparted to the audience how much Christine Cagney loved sex with men, and
hardly an episode went by where there wasn’t a scene of Mary Beth and Harv
kissing and more.
It was to remind us, these women might be playing in a man’s
world, but they are still all about the dick.
Lucy Lawless, the incredible Xena: Warrior Princess, was
very aware of the huge lesbian fanbase that the show had, in part due to the
extensive volumes of fanfiction written about Xena and her bard sidekick
Gabrielle. Lucy and co-star Renee O’Connor were deeply respectful of their
fans, and giving them as much as they could with their on-screen interactions
within the framework of the scripts. It was only as the show was ending that
they were told that the characters were each other’s true loves. A point they
addressed by saying that had they known earlier, they would have played the
parts more explicitly loving, and would have made sure it had been more
explicit to fans earlier in the show’s six year run. Their disappointment at
not having known sooner was palpable and displayed a deep respect that they had
for their LGBT audience.
Fast forward a few years, and in the post Beth Jordache era,
we had Bad Girls, a UK women’s prison drama that featured straight Prison
Governor, Helen Stewart, fall in love with one of her prisoners, Nikki Wade, it
was a sweet story, and one of the few with a relatively decent ending. The
actresses displayed grace and empathy when dealing with their fans, even
appearing at a London pub after a Leicester Square movie premiere to sign
autographs for a pub full of lesbian fans. I saw that it was possible for fans
to be embraced and treasured, which to me made me feel like we had turned a
corner from being scorned, ridiculed and patronised. We even had our own tv
show, The L Word, which as flawed as it is, seemed like a massive step to media
Post L Word, it is almost like we are being punished, almost
every lesbian character on tv seems to either die or have an affair with a
The past few years, scrolling through my tumblr feed is like
a journey in joy and heartbreak. Watching the younger generations get excited
over wlw characters, only to have to mourn the loss of them a short time later.
I never watch a tv series when it comes out now. I wait.
I wait to see where the arc is going. I wait to see how we
are going to be treated by the cast and studio who make it. I have been burned
a few too many times in the past, and only a couple of those many times have
been recounted here.
These shows taught me from a very young age to pick and
choose carefully what I watched, and that I could not rely on the mainstream
media to cater to my needs. This is
where fanfiction, fanart and fantasy come in. We learned how to take the
characters and make our own stories with them, the myriad websites dedicated to
fanfiction/art are a testament to that, and to our resourcefulness as viewers.
After all, amazing fanfiction is still being written about Seven of Nine and
Captain Janeway, and Olivia Benson and Alex Cabot (to name just two ships),
characters who haven’t shared screen time in many, many years. Our love for
these characters and their chemistry is enduring.
What we deserve though, are fully realised relationships
between characters on screen, not scraps, not looking for every nuance in interaction.
We can still do it, we are very good at it, we have had decades of practice
after all. It is probably something we will always do, it is almost as though
it is in our genes to be able to see the unspoken tensions and subtleties.
But it is so nice to have shows where this isn’t necessary,
where you can just relax and watch the relationship unfold, without having to
work to find those precious moments.
This was why I have loved watching the gifs and screencaps
of shows like Carmilla, Wynonna Earp, Grey’s Anatomy and Supergirl cross my
Knowing that there are generations younger than me who haven’t
had to be so patronised and condescended to by the media, but who are actually
being catered to.
To see Chyler Leigh be so enthusiastic in her representation
of Alex Danvers, and her deeply moving responses to stories of the fans. It
made my heart soar to see this. So I thought I would be safe with Supergirl, I
watched the first season and was drawn in, I was waiting eagerly to buy the
second season on DVD when I saw the footage from SDCC 2017.
To some, I know it is easy to brush aside, to wait for it
all to blow over. They don’t have the history of being invalidated and
To me, what I was watching, was deliberate, and unnecessary
and cruel. It reminded me of the popular kids at school bullying those who are
already society’s outcasts and unwanted.
To say you are an ally and trot out your ally credentials,
is meaningless if your behaviour speaks otherwise. To mention when you are
apologising for your bad behaviour, how badly you are being treated and how
unfair it is, is ridiculous. Take responsibility.
To me, the whole spectacle was sad and left me hurting for
the younger viewers who were experiencing the same things I experienced so long
ago, knowing that even if you find somewhere you think you belong, there will
always be those who don’t want you there, who will make that space unsafe for
you. There is a reason why the concept of safe spaces is so large in the LGBT
community, it is because we don’t have many.
What I won’t do is put my time and money into a show that
devalues me, or who employs people who do. (To be clear, I am not insisting
that others do not watch the show, you do you, boo boo).
I was heartened by the reactions displayed by Katie McGrath
and Odette Annable at SDCC, who along with Chyler Leigh and Floriana Lima have
been amazing ambassadors for their characters (Odette excepting as we have not
seen her screen time, but her displays of solidarity with Katie were invaluable
as an LGBT viewer), and make me long for a spin off with these four cast
The show has been tainted for me, and I won’t watch it, not
when there are other shows that are not treating their LGBT characters and
viewers poorly, so Wynonna Earp and The Bold Type, here I come, please don’t
let me down.