Broadchurch 3 starts filming

Broadchurch 3 starts filming

David Tennant and Olivia Colman (photographed on their first day on set of the third series) reprise their roles as DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller, with Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan returning to play Beth and Mark Latimer

ITV’s third series of Broadchurch started filming yesterday, with Sir Lenny Henry and Roy Hudd joining David Tennant and Olivia Colman on the cast. Other new faces will include Julie Hesmondhalgh, Sarah Parish, Charlie Higson and Georgina Campbell.

The new series will herald a brand new case for Miller and Hardy, with the detectives reuniting to investigate a serious sexual assault.

‘This is the final chapter of Broadchurch,’ said Chris Chibnall. ‘We have one last story to tell, featuring both familiar faces and new characters. I hope it’s a compelling and emotional farewell to a world and show that means so much to me.’

After the huge success of series 1, the second season was, let’s face it, a crashing and messy disappointment. With this cast, it would be great if Broadchurch could finish on a high.

Gomorrah 2, Sky Atlantic

GOMORRAH - Series 2, Episode 12

See Naples and die – Marco D’Amore as Ciro

The Glocks are out for a revenge-fuelled return of the Neapolitan mob fest 

★★★ Sky Atlantic, Wednesdays, 9pm

ALONG WITH the Renaissance and tragic opera, another great Italian art form is the blood feud. And the Neapolitan Camorra has explored the dark side of the human condition through internecine vendettas as well as anyone.

GOMORRAH - Series 2, Episode 3

New alliances – clan leaders divvy up the Savastano empire

The gruesome finale of the first season of Gomorrah, which is based on Roberto Saviano’s non-fiction bestseller about the Neapolitan mob, was spectacularly bloody, with Imma, matriarch of the Savastano clan, murdered, her son Genny betrayed and shot by Ciro at his own daughter’s recital, and generations of soldiers on both sides wiped out.

Series two plunges us straight back into the mayhem. Wounded Genny on a gurney, his father Don Pietro busted out of prison looking for revenge, Ciro’s wife terrified of assassination and Ciro now desperately forming an alliance with Don Pietro’s old enemy Salvatore Conte.

Got it? Basically, no one trusts anyone.

Marco D’Amore as Ciro

Part of the fascination of this gritty, grimy series is why anyone bothers with the Camorra way of life. Yes, there are riches to be had, but you can’t turn your back on your best friend for a minute. Get to the top and you’ll probably end up living in an underground hovel hiding from every law enforcement agency in Italy.

GOMORRA - Series 2, Episode 1

Allies – Ciro and Salvatore

This is a fictionalised take on Saviano‘s eye-opening book, which is shocking in its depiction of the industrial scale of the mob’s operations. The series reduces the narrative to gang level, but it is still a fascinating portrait of depraved morals and warped loyalties.

The backdrop to events is once again the concrete housing hell of Vele di Scampia, a fortress of deprivation and criminality, and the series has an air of authenticity, with characters speaking the Neapolitan dialect barely understood by the rest of Italy.

Marco D’Amore once again leads the story as Ciro, but there seems to be an attempt to thrust some female characters into proceedings, with Ciro’s wife Debora featuring more prominently, among others.

Episodes 5 and 6 are coming up this week. Hang onto your armchairs…

Marcella on DVD

Marcella DVDIT’S BEEN CALLED infuriating and too dark, but dull it certainly is not. Marcella has been ITV’s attempt to refashion Nordic noir on these shores by getting the creator of the hugely popular The Bridge, Hans Rosenfeldt, to conjure up this Nordic-cum-Brit thriller. Anna Friel has certainly been compelling as the detective prone to blackouts, and this week’s episode had critics spluttering over a child’s death in the story.

Following the former Murder Squad detective Marcella Backland as she is propelled back to work following a 10-year career break has been an intricate and pretty deep at times. On the face of it the investigation concerns a serial murder case where the modus operandi of the killer bears a striking resemblance to an unsolved case Marcella was previously involved in, but there is plenty more to it, with Marcella’s husband being a bit dodgy (as well as unfaithful), sex worker muggers on the loose and various corporate shenanigans.

Personally, I can’t make up my mind about it (my original review is here). It is a bit daft and over the top at times, and certainly mystifying. I suspect we need to get to the end of it to see if it’s a load of pants or actually pretty decent.

Anyway, if the various storylines have had you baffled, you can scrutinise the drama again at your leisure or just see what all the fuss has been about as a first-time viewer when the DVD is released on 20 June. The boxset will be priced at £26.99 (cert 15, though this is to be confirmed).

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Wallander, BBC1, Kenneth Branagh

Wallander: Kurt Wallander (KENNETH BRANAGH) - (C) Left Bank Pictures - Photographer: Steffan Hill

Rocky times ahead: Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh)

A beautifully filmed opening episode to the Swedish detective’s final BBC series

★★★½ BBC1, starts the week beginning Saturday, 21 May

THIS IS the fourth and final series of Kenneth Branagh films based on Henning Mankell’s best-selling novels.

When this sequence of 90-minute, English-language instalments began eight years ago, the Swedish author was still alive.

Mankell, who sadly died in late 2015 aged just 67, had chosen Branagh to portray the rather downbeat detective back in 2007, after the likes of Trevor Eve, Neil Pearson, Jason Isaacs, David Morrissey, Clive Owen and Michael Gambon were being talked up. The character had already been depicted in two fine native serial adaptations by Rolf Lassgård and Krister Henriksson.

Each of the performers is different. Lassgård’s Wallander is bearlike and a little forbidding, Henriksson’s serious but sympathetic, while Branagh’s is probably the most approachable.

The White Lioness

The White Lioness launches this final BBC outing for the sleuth, to be followed by A Lesson in Love and The Troubled Man.

The opener takes Wallander out of Sweden as he attends a policing convention in South Africa. While preparing his address on ‘Making a Difference’ to delegates, a task he is struggling with, he is distracted by the opportunity to get involved in the case of a wife of a Swedish man who has disappeared.

The episode is filmed in South Africa and the photography around Cape Town and the farmland scenes is stunning and beautiful. Great use is made of the setting, with particularly good sequence when Wallander goes into a township looking for a witness and ends up in a deadly chase.

Henning Mankell’s masterly creation

What the story, whose theme is political assassination, lacks is any personal glimpse at Wallander. He is very much going through the motions as an investigator here, but we never get close to the man.

This will certainly change with ensuing episodes. The Troubled Man was Mankell’s final Wallander novel and sees the detective confronting the realisation that he is losing his memory.

Kenneth Branagh says: ‘I always approach each series of Wallander with anticipation and excitement, but this last series of films contain some of the greatest challenges the character has ever faced. It’s a privilege to try to meet them, and I look forward to a great Swedish autumn working on Henning Mankell’s masterly creation.’

It’s been an absorbing journey, and Branagh has certainly left his mark on the character, picking up a Bafta for his performance along the way.

See also…

CrimeTimePreview’s Killer 50 TV: Wallander (UK) No 23 and Wallander (Swedish) No 22

The Secret, ITV, James Nesbitt

Gripping account of the murders committed by Northern Irish couple Colin Howell and Hazel Buchanan

★★★ ITV, Friday, 29 April, 9pm

SOMETIMES the true story on which a drama is based is so riveting it almost can’t fail to keep you rooted to the sofa. This ITV series is one of those.

It recounts the crime committed by a couple in Northern Ireland, Colin Howell and Hazel Buchanan. They met at their local Baptist church and started an affair that had appalling consequences. Greed, lust, hypocrisy and evangelism make it a distressing but compelling story [as this is a true story, there are some spoilers in this preview].

From Hat Trick Productions The Secret: Ep1 on ITV Pictured: Hazel Buchanan [Genevieve O'Reilly] and Colin Howell [James Nesbitt]. This photograph is (C) Hat Trick Productions and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com For further information please contact: james.hilder@itv.com

Secret liaison: Hazel Buchanan (Genevieve O’Reilly) and Colin Howell (James Nesbitt)

It is accompanied by fine performances by James Nesbitt as the dentist Howell and Genevieve O’Reilly as Buchanan, along with an unflashy but convincing script from Stuart Urban. Nesbitt, in particular, is so believable as the grossly self-serving “Christian” that before the first episode is even finished you want to punch the screen every time he appears.

A faked suicide pact

In the first of four episodes, we watch the genesis of the affair. While Howell’s wife, Lesley, is expecting their fourth child, he begins to pursue married schoolteacher Buchanan. [Read more…]

Harlan Coben’s The Five, Sky1

The Five Episode 01 Danny (O-T Fagbenle). Ben Blackall 2015 for © RED PRODUCTION COMPANY LIMITED

One of The Five – Danny (O-T Fagbenle)

Twists galore await in this original Harlan Coben thriller from Sky1

★★★½ Sky1, Friday, 15 April, 9pm

HARLAN COBEN is highly rated as one of the best thriller novelists around today. A lot of my colleagues at crime-fiction site Shotsmag can’t wait for his latest book.

His award-winning mysteries often involve secrets from the past resurfacing and multiple twists. Perhaps best known of his books is Tell No One, which was turned into the 2006 French film Ne le dis à personne.

The Five Episode 01 Mark (Tom Cullen) hugs Pru (Sarah Solemani), Slade (Lee Ingleby) and Danny (O-T Fagbenle) look on. Ben Blackall 2015 for © RED PRODUCTION COMPANY LIMITED

Reunited – Mark hugs Pru as Slade and Danny look on

The surprising thing is that more of his multi-million-selling books have not had screen makeovers. There have been occasional reports that books such as Gone for Good were being worked on by the likes of NBC, but little has surfaced to date.

An original thriller from Harlan Coben

Which makes Sky1’s new series all the more exciting for Coben fans and thriller devotees. The Five is based on an idea Coben had planned to turn into a novel, but instead the author worked with top scriptwriter Danny Brocklehurst (The Driver, Accused, Shameless) to give Sky1 an exclusive and fresh 10-part thriller.

The premise is based on a tragedy from the childhoods of four friends. When they were 12 years old, Mark, Pru, Danny and Slade abandoned Mark’s five-year-old brother, Jesse, in the woods. The lad was never seen again.

In adulthood, Danny, now a detective, gets involved in a murder case. At the scene of the crime, Jesse’s DNA is found. So, is he still alive? If so, is he a murderer? [Read more…]

Marcella, ITV, Anna Friel

BUCCANEER MEDIA FOR ITV MARCELLA Pictured: ANNA FRIEL as Marcella. This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to MARCELLA.

Losing control? Anna Friel as Marcella

Dark and intricate thriller from the writer of The Bridge

★★★ ITV, Monday, 4 April, 9pm

HEROINES are often called ‘feisty’. Marcella Backland is not feisty, she is out of control.

She shoves her unfaithful husband down the stairs, she’s volatile, has blackouts, and when we first meet her she is in a bath and caked in mud and blood. How did she get there? That’s what this brooding eight-parter is going to tell us.

Writer Hans Rosenfeldt, who gave us the superb The Bridge, has here conjured up a heroine who is the opposite of Saga Noren in that Swedish-Danish production. The emotionless rule-following blonde has been replaced by a heartbroken, rule-breaking brunette.

Marcella on ITV with Anna Friel episode one

Gripping: Anna Friel as Marcella

Anna Friel as Marcella

Marcella, played wonderfully by Anna Friel, is a woman on a tightrope. It’s hard to even tell if she is a goodie or baddie.

Rosenfeldt has been brought in by ITV to inject some Nordic noir in between the fluff of Midsomer and Lewis. So Marcella is a forbidding heroine and many of the scenes are filmed on rainy London nightscapes. She’s not an anti-hero in the league of Walter White or Dexter, but she’s not cuddly either.

It also has in common with The Bridge multi-strands of stories woven together. This is how Rosenfeldt describes the drama he and his team wanted to make: ‘A thriller, yes. But there are many ways to tell a story. We settled for multi-plot. A lot of characters, not all of them immediately connected to the main story or main characters, but eventually ending up there; that’s what I like to do. That’s what I’m good at. Creating and solving a mystery with as many hooks, twists and red herrings as possible. So that’s what we did.’

BUCCANEER MEDIA FOR ITV MARCELLA Pictured: NICHOLAS PINNOCK as Jason Summers, SINEAD CUSACK as Sylvie Gibson and PATRICK BALADI as Stephen Holmes. This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to MARCELLA.

High-powered: Nicholas Pinnock as Jason, Sindead Cusack as Sylvie and Patrick Baladi as Stephen

Sinead Cusack and Laura Carmichael

The threads involve Marcella’s marriage breakdown after 15 years, her return to work as a detective when the Grove Park Killer seems to have reappeared after an 11-year break, a sex worker with a sideline in mugging, and a property firm run by a nasty CEO, Sylvie Gibson (played by Sinead Cusack in Cruella De Vil mode).

Nicholas Pinnock is Jason, Marcella’s now ex-husband, and Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith in Downton Abbey) is Maddy, a student researching domestic abuse who is on the radar of a potential suspect for the Grove Park murders. Maeve Dermody is Grace, Sylvie’s high-flying businesswoman daughter.

Marcella is elevated above just being a compelling whodunit by also having an intriguing set of characters and terrific atmosphere.

Marcella on ITV Hub

Undercover, BBC1

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 09/03/2016 - Programme Name: Undercover - TX: n/a - Episode: Early Release (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Picture embargoed for publication until Wednesday 09/03/2016 Maya Cobbina (SOPHIE OKONEDO), Nick Johnson (ADRIAN LESTER) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Des Willie

Under pressure: Maya Cobbina (Sophie Okonedo) and Nick Johnson (Adrian Lester)

Powerful story about an undercover cop, the woman he loves and his secret past

★★★★ BBC1, Sunday, 3 April, 9pm

THE SCANDAL of how the police have in the past infiltrated protest groups and some officers went so far as to have affairs or even start families with women they were spying on forms the backdrop to this potent drama.

While packing an emotional wallop, it also raises issues about the morality and justice of the authorities treating everyone as potentially guilty of something and deserving to have their lives invaded.

Undercover ups the ante, as any decent fictional drama should, by exploring the human feelings damaged and betrayed, and exploring the trauma such deception engenders.

Ghosts from Nick’s past

Nick is married to Maya, a human rights barrister, who we first meet as she travels to the USA to defend Rudy Jones, a man on death row. It’s a harrowing start to the story, and Maya is deeply affected when Rudy says to her that her next move should be to ‘Go big’.

When she returns home, Maya discovers that she is in line to be made Director of Public Prosecutions. While her instinct has always been to defend the accused, becoming the DPP might be an opportunity to finally bring justice to her friend Michael Antwi, an anti-racism campaigner. Maybe to ‘Go big’.

Undercover - TX: n/a - Episode: Early Release (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Nick Johnson (ADRIAN LESTER), Maya Cobbina (SOPHIE OKONEDO), Ella (Shannon Hayes) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Lee Searle

Happy holiday? Maya, Nick and their children get away from it all

This would create a huge problem for old colleagues of Nick’s. Throughout the first of the drama’s six episodes, we’re unclear what’s going with Nick, whose behaviour is tragically bizarre.

He appears to be a loving husband and father, and the family scenes with their children, including their autistic son, are convincing and warm. But Nick also has a secret life… [Read more…]