Two big new cop shows this week on Telly Addict: Prey on ITV by first-time writer Chris Lunt (way to start an IMDb entry!); and Happy Valley on BBC1 by veteran Sally Wainwright, which surprised me; also, the German miniseries Generation War on BBC2; the exceptional and frank documentary from Rupert Everett, Love For Sale, on C4; and sketch show Cardinal Burns on C4. Oh, and a bit of Gogglebox Zen.
Two talking point TV shows on Telly Addict this week: BBC1’s top-notch Jamaica Inn, which found itself embroiled in a teacup-storm about the mumbling of tightly-wound character actor Sean Harris, whose performance as the dastardly Cornish innkeeper Josh Merlin was typical for him and catnip to his fans, but not helped in this instance by a “technical” issue that muddied the sound of the live broadcast of Easter Monday’s first episode. Cue: self-flaggelation by the Corporation on the News and elsewhere. (I watched it on catch-up, which suffered no such issue, so enjoyed the whole thing thoroughly – then again, I like straining to find the rhythm of a performance, if it’s well done – anyone who watched all of The Wire will understand how bracing it can be.) Also, there was the much-chattered-about Derek on C4, whose titular performance took flak when it first emerged, and to be honest, little has changed. Also, less controversially, unless you believe Bible stories to be sacred (so to speak), the Easter episode of the finite Rev on BBC2; and Boss on More4, which returned in confident style, even though its fate is sealed. And a bit of Mad Men that’s not a spoiler. That’s the kind of controversy I like to avoid.
The season finale of HBO’s True Detective on Sky Atlantic towered imposingly over my telly-watching week; however, those in self-imposed exile who don’t have Sky won’t have seen this initially mind-blowing and even towards the more conventional ending superbly acted Southern Gothic whodunit, so Telly Addict does its usual dance around potential spoilers; we’re on safer ground with Gogglebox on C4; The Battle For Britain’s Breakfast and estate agents docusoap Under Offer on BBC2; plus the start of season five of Community on the Sony channel (is it too late for me?) and the end of the glorious season three of Parks & Rec on BBC4. You have, once again, been watching.
This week’s Telly Addict does not feature the first episode of the new season of Game Of Thrones, which, after weeks of hype, went out on Sky Atlantic at 2am on Monday morning (or Sunday night, if you prefer), to sync with the US premiere on HBO. It’s impossible for me to review this epic saga without spoiling it for those without a Sky subscription, an HBO subscription or the spirit of lawlessness to illegally download. So, as an experiment, and a one-time-only deal, I have reviewed it separately, here. Thus, the regular Telly Addict is here. It’s all about New Worlds on C4; Klondike on Discovery; The Trip to Italy on BBC2; Monkey Planet on BBC!; Endeavour on ITV; and a bit of The Voice on Gogglebox on C4.
A piece of Telly Addict that will be forever England this week, from the thoroughly English (certainly Anglican) Rev on BBC2; the thoroughly American-English Martin Amis’ England on BBC4; the thoroughly British, although surprisingly European A Very British Renaissance with the fantastic Dr James Fox on BBC2 (promoted, one might say, from BBC4); the thoroughly English Louis Theroux, who’s moved to LA and made LA Stories for … BBC2; and, not at all English, but still British, and with English subtitled, 35 Diwrnod, the latest in Welsh-language noir from S4C, which is available, subtitled, on their website, if you can’t access it via Sky or other satellites.
I’m looking back on this week’s Telly Addict to what might be regarded as “quite a night” for BBC2: Wednesday, when Line Of Duty reached its much-talked-about and much-watched conclusion after six weeks of internally investigative cop intrigue, and was directly followed by a brand new comedy, W1A, specifically pitched and designed to take the royal piss out of the BBC. This, you might argue, is what the BBC does best. Also: The Widower, Jeff Pope’s latest true-life murder tale on ITV, where he works; Undercover Doctor – Cure Me I’m Gay with Dr Christian Jessen playing the gay Louis Theoux on C4; and two 30th anniversary specials, Arena: Whatever Happened To Spitting Image? on BBC2 and The Miners’ Strike And Me on ITV.
Sorry, failed to announce last week’s Telly Addict (and the one before) on this blog, due to crashing deadlines, so here, in the traditional manner, is the alert for what is, in code, TA145, that’s the 145th weekly TV review I’ve done since April 2011. Coming up to its third birthday! And still basically dancing the same jig: what I have done watched on the telly during the week previous, discussed, with myself, in a manner than cannot meaningfully be transcribed and run as text on the Guardian website, despite constant, whining calls for this service. (The same folk must often complain to a dog that they’d rather it was a cat.) Here we go then: Mind The Gap on BBC2, a nuanced look at the way London sucks talent and money away from “the rest of the country” from Evan Davis; Gogglebox, of course, on C4, although rationed doses for this third series, as as not to do myself out of a job; Shetland on BBC1, a detective drama almost as bleak as Hinterland; the delightful Great Canal Journeys with Prunella Scales and Timothy West on More4; the misleadingly titled Michael McIntyre Chat Show on BBC1; and a clip from Astronauts: Living In Space on C4. Normal service resumed.