One second in and I know that series two of A Touch of Cloth is going to be gold. I know this because Todd Carty is the first thing in the sequel to Charlie Brooker’s 2012 Bank Holiday weekend gag reel. A robbery at ‘Bankleys’ by the not-so-masked crusaders throwing their weight around with tights on their head and showing leaflets who is boss sets the scene for the next hour of comedy so literal, clichéd and bland that if it were attributed to anybody but Charlie Brooker it would be criminal.
Once Todd Carty is out of the way, again, Jack Cloth (played by John Hannah) re-joins the police force alongside Anne Oldman (Suranne Jones) after his downward spiral from the end of last series almost results in necrophilia. A barrage of genius observations regarding crime dramas unreality follow suit with a particular highlight as Cloth strides into the room and recites precisely what he wishes to know about the supposed perpetrator Macraty – all cleverly devised into a rap; which actually reminds me of Charlie Brooker’s The Sun witch hunt rap.
The motivational posters are back and better than ever, again particularly comical as Anne Oldman has a phone call with Hope Goodgirl (Anna Chancellor) whose efforts to seduce bisexual Oldman run throughout the episode – although it is clear the sexual tension between Anne and Jack still remains and has been acted upon. The level of slight vulgarity in parts also returns and still fails to add absolutely anything except Great British smut to the proceedings. Didn’t see much of forensic analyst Natasha (Daisy Beaumont) in this episode which was a shame as she was a real highlight of the first 2-parter.
Mercifully, the cloth gags appear to have let up for this episode and are pretty few and far between unlike last year when Cloth was frayed, washed up and torn in every scene, which got a little tedious. It also felt that Jack Cloth played more of a central role in the first episode whereas last series felt like Tom Boss (Julian Rhind-Tutt) was taking control as he held power over Cloth by murdering his unseen-to-us wife Kate.
To enjoy A Touch of Cloth you have to do turn off your sensible and embrace every ounce of silliness that Brooker and co throw at you. In lots of ways this second episode has moved on well from the serial killer in the first series but it appears to have maintained the elements that made the first series so appealing. It’s daft, bonkers and ridiculous in places and makes you wonder how you can ever take crime drama seriously again. It’s ironic that whilst some were watching BBC1’s new crime drama What Remains, others were enjoying A Touch of Cloth which revels in mocking every inch of this well tread genre.
The gag rate in A Touch of Cloth can actually be exhausting. Visual gags, rhyming gags, Cloth gags and mocking gags are in abundance here, but the brilliance of the script means that you never lose sight of the crime story at the centre. Charlie Brooker said recently that the series could potentially ‘go on forever’ and if you enjoyed tonight’s episode you’ll be pleased to know they’ve already filmed a third 2-parter which Sky have yet to schedule.
Contributed by Natasha Sporn