Did we like it?
It was Crimewatch, but instead of the annoying Nick Ross there was Mary Nightingale who did a solid job while dangling a rancid bag of swag tantalisingly over the heads of the viewers.
What was good about it?
• It was much, much better than the recent farce fronted by Mark Austin that ran along similar lines.
• The reconstructions of the various crimes were presented in a professional, meticulous, sombre and evocative manner. With little of ITV1’s trademark sensationalism, the often tragic cases were recounted by investigating officers to the ex-coppers ITV had despatched to aid the inquiry. In fact, may we suggest that ITV1 gets in such no-nonsense coppers to host the cloying mess of parasitic indulgence of GMTV?
What was bad about it?
• The fact that a bounty had to be offered to the public to help solve these crimes left a bitter taste in the mouth. The reconstructions themselves should have been sufficient to provoke anyone who wouldn’t have felt under threat for passing on information to phone Crime Stoppers.
• The ugly discrepancy in the bounties on offer. Anyone successfully helping the police with their investigation into the theft of a sculpture by Henry Moore would net £100,000, five times the amount for information leading to a conviction in the case of a Filipino nurse killed in 1994. Indeed, just £53,000 was on offer to solve crimes against people – two murders, a kidnap that is a probable murder, an armed robbery, the rape of an old woman and the attempted murder of two young women.
• ITV1 is the Tourette’s sufferer of TV. It almost made it to the end of the programme without dive-bombing into the dank pool of tackiness and drowning its lungs in the delights of crass kitsch.
• For no reason, the case of the Filipino nurse had Mary Nightingale jauntily stating: “We’d like you to cast your mind back to 1994. To jog your memory John Major was prime minister, the Queen opened the Channel Tunnel, and Wet Wet Wet was number one in the chart.” Cue, Love Is All Around to soundtrack the harrowing tale of a brutal murder. What can we expect in five years’ time – a retrospective of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers with Bob The Builder’s Mambo Number 5 playing in the background spliced with excerpts from The Office?
What is so frustrating is that ITV1 has such a low opinion of its viewers that it seems to think a few, scattered cultural islets could invoke their memories of an evening 13 years ago. Firstly, that such references might be relevant – Major, after all was PM for five years, and Wet Wet Wet were number one for almost as long – and secondly that they might have the slightest significance whatsoever, that people are too stupid to order their lives according to their own experiences and chronology.