TV Review: Trigger Point

Almost as if Spooks or 24 was back, just a little bit sillier. Vicky McClure helms bomb disposal thriller Trigger Point in great style

“I just can’t believe everything that’s happened to me”

Oh I loved this. From the pen of TV newcomer Daniel Brierly, Trigger Point took a vivid approach to the life of a bomb disposal expert who finds herself in charge of a troubling case of a serial bomber. And in the absolute way of these things [spoiler alert], there’s an increasingly personal agenda with Vicky McClure’s Lana Washington losing both her best friend and her brother by the midpoint of the series, oops!

But because the tone is ever so slightly campy and heightened (it is an ITV show after all), it never really comes across as traumatic as the emphasis is on the high-octane thrill of the chase as Lana starts to question even her friends and colleagues as what is made to look like an Islamist threat turns out to be something more fundamentally dangerous and closer to home. Does it end up being a bit predictable? Who cares, pass the popcorn! Continue reading “TV Review: Trigger Point”

TV Review: Magpie Murders / Hotel Portofino

In which I sample the first episodes of new Britbox series Magpie Murders and Hotel Portofino

“Do be careful not to get smuts on your dress”

Across the various streaming platforms that I’ve signed up for, it can be hard to keep track of just how much there is to watch. But Britbox are standing out at the moment as they’re pumping out quite a bit of original content and so I thought I’d dip my toe into the waters of two of their latest dramas.

Magpie Murders has been adapted from Anthony Horowitz’s book of the same name and is one that you definitely need to pay attention to for its a murder mystery that all gets rather meta. When mystery author Alan Conway is bumped off at his country pile, his editor sets about her own investigation as the answers seem to lie in an unfinished manuscript which we also see onscreen. Continue reading “TV Review: Magpie Murders / Hotel Portofino”

TV Review: Silent Witness Series 18

As the dust settles on all the recent changes, Series 18 of Silent Witness turns out to be just a little bit average 

“If you think you can do better, you’re very welcome to try”

After some wholesale changes to the core team and indeed the remit of the show, Series 18 of Silent Witness is the first chance to really sees where the land lies now that the dust has settled. The biggest consequence is the shift to incorporating forensic science just as much as, if not more than, forensic pathology which of course lends much more credence to the team spending so much time out of the lab.

I say the team, I actually mean Nikki and Jack, as it is these two who unquestionably lead the investigations now, Emilia Fox and David Caves finding a nice chemistry. Richard Lintern’s Thomas may be the head of the Lyell but is comparatively considerably under-used. He’s less a third lead than a second supporting lead alongside Liz Carr’s Clarissa, whose dry wit makes her the MVP here. Continue reading “TV Review: Silent Witness Series 18”

#AdventwithClowns Day 15 – Wanderlust (BBC)

NIck Payne adapts his play Wanderlust for TV, with a great lead performance from Toni Collette and stunning work from Sophie Okonedo

“I thought old people were supposed to go off sex”

It being more than 10 years since I saw Nick Payne’s play Wanderlust at the Royal Court, I’d be hard pressed to tell you much about how it differed from this TV adaptation which aired back in 2018 but essentially, Payne circles around notions of sex and intimacy and the different roles they can play in different relationships. At the heart of the tale here are Joy and Alan, long married but sexually stale and thus we follow their decision to open out their marriage, with all the attendant difficulties that presents to their tightly-wound emotional states.

We also see the ripple effects on their teenage children, each finding their own way through love and sex and life and friendship, and we also see a lot of Joy’s therapy clients, the significance of which comes heavily to bear late on. Toni Collette and Steven Mackintosh are great value for money as Joy and Alan, Paul Kaye and Zawe Ashton also entertain as their new sex partners, and Kate O’Flynn and Anastasia Hille both thrill in supporting parts. The whole damn thing is worth it though for the simply spectacular Episode 5 in which locks Collette’s Joy and Sophie Okonedo as her own therapist in a room and keeps them there, to just stunning effect.

Wanderlust is available to watch on Netflix

Film Review: Supernova (2020)

A gay dementia weepie ought to leave me distraught but despite the presence of Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, Supernova leaves me cold

“Can you tell that its gotten worse?”

Harry Macqueen’s Supernova clearly had designs on a whole suite of award nominations but overlooked as it was, it has popped up on cinema schedules as an early summer oddity very much in the shadow of The Father. And though it seems tailor-made to tug on the tearducts of voters and audiences alike, I found it surprisingly unaffecting (and I cry at a lot!).

Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth play Tusker and Sam, an irascible but well-suited couple who’ve been together for nigh on 20 years. Tusker’s a novelist and Sam’s a musician but the former’s diagnosis of early-onset dementia has thrown their future into disarray. And as they journey to the Lake District to connect with family and friends, it becomes clear just how much. Continue reading “Film Review: Supernova (2020)”

TV Review: Bridgerton Series 1

So much to love in the uninhibited Series 1 of Bridgerton, not least the most perfect of roles for the brilliant Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury

“If I were truly courting you, I would not need flowers, only five minutes alone with you in a drawing room”

Created by Chris Van Dusen and inspired by Julia Quinn’s Regency era-set novels, the much heralded Bridgerton arrives on Netflix with the most excitement arguably reserved for the presence of producer Shonda Rhimes. And it’s a presence that we feel rightaway as this version of Regency London is a racially integrated one, starting with Queen Charlotte being a mixed-race woman and trickling down through all levels of society.

It’s a simple innovation but still a radical one in its execution here, of course it took an American woman to do it! The best thing about it is that it offers up a range of roles for actors who might not normally get a look-in – Golda Rosheuvel as Her Majesty, Regé-Jean Page as the Duke of Hastings and best of all for me, Adjoa Andoh as the deliciously wry Lady Danbury. And as with Nikki Amuka-Bird in the recent David Copperfield film, there’s a general sense of knocking it out of the park and regret that it has taken this long. Continue reading “TV Review: Bridgerton Series 1”

TV Review: Jonathan Creek, Series 2

The second series of Jonathan Creek continues the good form of the first, even if the writing starts to verge on the misogynistic

“There’s always an explanation”

After the success of its first season, Series 2 of Jonathan Creek followed in short order in early 1998. And having firmly established its modus operandi of impossible crimes and simmering but awkward sexual chemistry between Akan Davies’ Jonathan and Caroline Quentin’s Maddy, it carries on ploughing that same furrow.

This series sees Stuart Milligan added to the mix as Adam Klein, replacing Anthony Head who got the job as Giles on Buffy and whilst he is a vividly entertaining character, his presence seems to allow writer David Renwick to indulge in some misogynistic touches over and above what might be ‘forgiven’ for being 20 years old, just look at the way Adam and indeed Jonathan treat the majority of the women in their life…  Continue reading “TV Review: Jonathan Creek, Series 2”

News: new Netflix show Bridgerton sets its premiere date

I was already looking forward to the new Shondaland show Bridgerton, but these preview pics are really whetting the appetite. I mean, Jonathan Bailey…*insert falls over emoji*

 

Bridgerton will premiere on Netflix from 25th December

TV Review: Bodyguard Series 1

Bodyguard reaches a thrilling climax that is sure to disappoint some but left me on the edge of my seat

“I wanted to know who did it, I don’t know who did it”

Except we do finally know who did it. Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard – an unexpected massive hit and a reminder that the appointment-to-view model is far from over – reached its climax tonight in typically high-tension style, confounding expectations to the end and dashing the dreams of many a conspiracy theorist to boot. Seriously, so glad that Julia Montague remained dead (at least until a sequel is announced and we have to go through this whole farrago again). 

And though it is bound to have its detractors, I have to say I found it all hugely entertaining. If it just wasn’t realistic enough for you, then WTF are you doing watching dramas? If you’re getting swept up in locations in this fictionalised version of London not being where they are in real life, turn the damn thing off! Its not for everyone, that’s absolutely fine, but you don’t have to drag everyone else down with your misery. Continue reading “TV Review: Bodyguard Series 1”

TV Review: Bodyguard, BBC1

Jed Mercurio hits the mark once again with new drama Bodyguard, led by two excellent performances from Kelley Hawes and Richard Madden

“Looks like the Home Secretary couldn’t be in safer hands”

The weather taking a turn for the blessedly British feels like a most appropriate herald for the return of proper drama to our tellyboxes and first out of the gate for this year’s slate of autumn dramas is Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard with a properly nail-biting opening 20 minutes which serve as a remarkable statement of intent for this series.

In an expertly tense sequence, Afghan vet turned special protection officer David Budd (Richard Madden) negotiates the peaceful surrender of a suicide bomber of a train in Euston. The perpetrator(s) (as it turns out) may be Islamists but its the gung-ho approach of the police that emerges as much as a threat to a peaceful resolution. Continue reading “TV Review: Bodyguard, BBC1”