Saturday, 13 March 2010
Like a dog who hasn’t learnt that if he continues to bark he will receive a small yet painful electric shock I eagerly tuned in to the second series which aired on five consecutive nights on BBC1 completely willing to give writer Gwyneth Hughes a second chance to wow me. One might think that giving a crime drama a nightly run was a risky but the series did well in the ratings and just as I say every year I shan’t be sucked into the going’s on within the Big Brother house I sat night after night, slightly confused but really into Five Days.
The story started so promisingly with all the central characters stuck on a train as a mysterious figure in burker threw themselves onto the tracks. It was a strange mix of action and slow pace which allowed the audience to get to know the many characters whose stories would interweave clumsily throughout the series.
Let’s jump to the point (and apologies for any spoilers you might read) the figure in the burker was first thought to be a woman then a man (who eerily resembled Michael Jackson lying lifelessly on a slab) and then the man who he was thought to be turned up in a Scarborough. Now if you found reading that difficult imagine trying to keep up on TV. The main problem with this edition of Five Days though as it turned out were all the unnecessary storylines that we assumed were there because they were going to lead us to an eventual conclusion of the mystery of why the man in the burker jumped to his death. In reality though they seemed to be there just to patch out the story and make sure it could last a five night run.
I was halfway through the fifth and final episode (or fifth day) before it dawned on me that the majority of the stories that I’d tried to follow for four straight evenings weren’t actually going to come to anything. Like Bernad Hill as Gerard who seemed really creepy (for lack of a better term) as he wormed his way into the life of policewoman Laurie Franklin and her elderly dementia suffering mother played marvelously by the wonderful Anne Reid. That went nowhere and he wasn’t anything to do with any of the mystery. Or the Muslim family who saw pictures of their brother/son in the mountains of Afghanistan with a machine gun. Sure he was in prison but was that entire story really necessary as it took up a loft of time but didn’t take us any closer to discovering who jumped or why. When the mystery was explained it was done in a few sentences that left me feeling both baffled and cheated in equal measure.
I know I’m Mr. Grumpy about the series but I think it’s a case of not learning from my first Five Days experience and secondly because it started so well and it seemed so full of promise. The good things about it were the marvelous performance from Anne Reid and Surrane Jones and the surprising untimely demise of David Morrissey’s character but they were sadly outweighed by the things that by the end of the series just didn’t add up. For example why would the police investigation shut down after the death of Morrissey’s character? Why would a Muslim man wear a burker? And finally why had it taken five episodes to introduce to the eventual culprit. The saddest thing about this series though was if the ending had been more thought out and satisfying this could’ve been one of the best dramas the BBC has shown this year, instead it fizzled to nothing and left me irritated.
Thursday, 11 March 2010
We get that this trailer is in the same vein of the Tennant and Eccleston ‘So you wanna come with me?’ from years gone by. But from our new show runner and our favourite writer Steven Moffat we had higher hopes. 2009 and 2010 have been big years for ‘Who’ fans, we saw David Tennant as our favourite Doctor of all time proclaiming ‘I don’t want to go’ before bursting into a ball of flames. Emerging from these flames was Matt Smith who in the last seconds of ‘The End of Time’ and his first as the 11th Doctor showed promise. To accompany this was the astounding trailer on BBC Three after ‘Doctor Who confidential’ which was so action packed and insightful that in comparison it makes this latest effort look all the more embarrassing, which can only be described as style over substance. Perhaps when we see it in 3D before Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ its intentions will become clear and it’ll pack more punch.
The Doctor is certainly a hard role to cast, whoever the chap is they have to look old and young at the same time-not an easy task to display the wisdom of a 900 year old Lord of Time all the while fulfilling the part of a dashing hero. Sadly for Matt Smith, he has it all to lose and everything to gain. Opinions of him will swing either way after his first episode is screened. By Easter time we’ll either be pondering ‘David who?’ or Smith’s going to tank considerably. Of course we wish him all the best and want to see him succeed and all of those cynics proclaiming that they won’t watch prove that they were never true ‘Doctor Who’ fans after all-but decided to hop on the Tennant band wagon.
We were never a fan of the self indulgent Russell T. Davies, so when we heard that the writer of our favourite ‘Who’ episodes such as ‘The Girl in the Fireplace,’ ‘Blink’ and ‘Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead’, Steven Moffat was taking over we leaped with joy. However, we hope from this evidence that he hasn’t bottled it and lost his edge because the 2010 trailer has a feeling of the 2003 remake of ‘Peter Pan.’ So let’s just hope that this is but a bump in the road and Moffat really has stayed true to his dark roots. As the man himself put it the day after Matt Smith was announced ‘The 11th Doctor is here and the universe has never been safer.’ However, if the same goes for the franchise is yet to be determined.
In the Flesh: Why we should be shouting about this more
Amid the tremendous bevy of high quality programmes delivered over the past few months – Prey , Happy Valley , From There to Here ...
What to Expect from The Lady Vanishes
Sunday night has long been the home of period drama on BBC One with recent examples being Upstairs Downstairs and Call the Midwife. Thi...
The People Next Door: Thought provoking and disturbing Docudrama
Last year Channel 4 kept trailing a new docudrama called Cyberbully. The ads looked of interest but I have to admit as a man just gettin...
TheCustard chats to Line of Duty mastermind Jed Mercurio
Monday sees the release of Series 3 of Line of Duty on DVD. It's a drama that has literally gripped fans from beginning to end. Ahead o...
We chat to Scott & Bailey writer Lee Warburton
Wednesday saw the welcome return of ITV's Scott & Bailey for a special three-part fifth series. As part of our screenwriters p...
Matt on the Box: Undercover, Marcella, The Durrells, The People Next Door and Drive
Another week has passed in TV land and that means its time for another look back at the biggest shows that have graced our screens in the la...
Scott and Bailey: A welcome return
TV is saturated with crime dramas. It's a genre that we all know and love. We've got crime dramas from across the world, but none mi...
Matt on the Box: The Island, Maigret, Murdered by My Father, Can't Touch This, Two Doors Down and Fresh Meat
Welcome back guys, hope you had a happy Easter and that you like me checked out some of the great and not so great TV that we had on offer....