The Watchman with Stephen Graham

Channel 4's The Watchman

All eyes – Stephen Graham is Carl, the Watchman

A nail-biting evening spent in the lonely company of Stephen Graham’s CCTV operator

★★★½ C4, Wednesday, 24 August, 9pm

THIS IS A modern take on the 1954 Hitchcock classic Rear Window. Here, however, CCTV is our protagonist’s window on the world.

Carl’s a decent bloke, strong moral outlook, feeling fine about another all-night shift on his own manning the neighbourhood CCTV network.

Ironically, actor Stephen Graham virtually puts in a solo shift as Carl, so few scenes does he share with anyone else.

Stephen Graham The Watchman

All eyes – Carl at work

Writer Dave Nath

Seen recently in The Secret Agent, here Graham plays a more vulnerable character. Carl has a complicated home life, trying over the phone to placate his 16-year-old daughter in her strop with mum, while keeping an eye on a gang of young thugs on the local estate.

He also feels rather impotent in his role as guardian, repeatedly getting the brush-off from the police dispatcher when he tries to get officers to intervene as drugs are being dealt. Not enough manpower he’s told, by the dispatcher who clearly is contemptuous of him.

Writer/director Dave Nath found in his research that this is a common occurrence for CCTV operators. He visited CCTV nerve centres and says, ‘I visited one in particular, to look at the layout and how they worked. I started telling them about some of the storylines in the film. That sense of calling the police about stuff, and the police not being able to respond, was a daily occurrence. Also, the sense that shifts are increasingly one-man shifts. I find that worrying, placing one person in that position. It means your placing a hell of a lot of responsibility on that one person.’ [Read more…]

Narcos 2 soon on Netflix

Here’s a flavour of Netflix’s Narcos 2, coming on Friday, September 2. The Pablo Escobar story was chilling but utterly compelling first time round. This second blast of 10 episodes looks pretty high-octane too…

One of Us, BBC thriller

Programme Name: One of Us - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Claire Elliot (JOANNA VANDERHAM), Moira Douglas (JULIE GRAHAM), Louise Elliot (JULIET STEVENSON), Bill Douglas (JOHN LYNCH), Rob Elliot (JOE DEMPSIE), Jamie Douglas (CRISTIAN ORTEGA), Anna (GEORGINA CAMPBELL), Alastair (GARY LEWIS) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Phil Fisk

Barnstorming – Claire (Joanna Vanderham), Moira (Julie Graham), Louise (Juliet Stevenson), Bill (John Lynch), Rob (Joe Dempsie), Jamie (Cristian Ortega), Anna (Georgina Campbell), Alastair (Gary Lewis)

Secrets spill out when a murderer turns up on the doorstep of his victims’ families

★★★½ BBC1, Tuesday, 23 August, 9pm

FANS OF THE NETFLIX series Bloodline, about the corrupt and dysfunctional Rayburn family, will recognise One of Us as a blood relation.

Programme Name: One of Us - TX: 23/08/2016 - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Grace Douglas (KATE BRACKEN), Adam Elliot (JEREMY NEUMARK JONES)) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Hal Shinne

Victims – Grace Douglas (Kate Bracken) and Adam Elliot (Jeremy Neumark Jones)

This BBC production is another thriller ruled by family secrets and animosities. Here the catalyst for opening the can of emotional worms is a shocking double murder.

Through charming family home movies we see that Adam Elliot and Grace Douglas grew from toddler pals to childhood sweethearts and wedded couple. We’re wrenched into the present when the newlyweds are murdered at their flat in Edinburgh.

Killer on their doorstep

Where Bloodline has wayward brother Danny returning home to upset everybody, in One of Us the premise is more bizarre – and chilling. Adam and Grace’s apparent killer, a knife-wielding drug addict, steals a car and heads to the Scottish Highland village of Braeston, where Adam and Grace’s families live.

The stranger is knocked out as he crashes his Lexus during a terrible storm. When the Douglases and Elliots realise who he is – and that he’s wanted by police – they put him, injured and unconscious, in a barn.

 But what should they do with him? Turn him over to the cops, or let him die?

Joanna Vanderham, Ade Edmondson, Juliet Stevenson

One of Us - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Claire Elliot (JOANNA VANDERHAM) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Photography Phil Fisk, Design work Matt Burlem

Lone voice – Claire (Joanna Vanderham)

One of Us has a terrific cast and the remote setting is beautiful but haunting. Joanna Vanderham plays the Elliots’ adult daughter who is against taking the law into their own hands. Joe Dempsie is her far more morally compromised brother, Rob.

Juliet Stevenson is an emotional powerhouse as the mother, Louise. She’s on the edge of a breakdown with grief, but is not against some retribution.

Meanwhile, John Lynch and Julie Graham play the uptight Douglases, who are pretty down on their loner son, Jamie.

And at a distance there is Adrian Edmondson as Louise’s ex-husband, who walked out on the family. [Read more…]

Bryan Cranston in The Infiltrator

Fans of Breaking Bad might be interested to know that Bryan Cranston is getting back into the drug scene – this time as The Infiltrator. Check out the trailer for his new film, quite a gear change from his recent role in Trumbo. Also starring John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, Benjamin Bratt, Jason Isaacs and Danny Mays, it hits the UK on 16 September,

5 Upcoming Crime Shows to Get Excited About

From Warner Bros Lethal Weapon on ITV Pictured: Roger Murtaugh [Damon Wayans] and Martin Riggs [Clayne Crawford]. This photograph is (C) Warner Bros 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

Lethal Weapon: Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) and Martin Riggs [Clayne Crawford)

Between the autumn television slate and some promising titles around the corner in 2017, there’s a lot to be excited about for fans of crime and mystery television. Some of these shows are brand new and others are merely moving on to new seasons, but in considering both categories, here are five programmes that are already looking like a whole lot of fun. 

Lethal Weapon (Fox)

Lethal Weapon has to be one of the more exciting new crime shows in at least a few years. Announced earlier this year, it’s set to debut this autumn for American audiences on Fox and on ITV in Britain and will presumably be available for streaming soon thereafter. The show us based on the 1987 film of the same name, which has an iconic place among American crime thrillers. That film, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, ultimately spawned three sequels, each as exciting as the last. It also led to a 1992 NES video game, which you can actually still obtain from Game Fabrique, a site featuring several old titles available for download. That the game is still around is a testament to the fact that even the distinctly ’80s and ’90s feeling of these films hasn’t made them any less popular with action and crime fans. 

The new show looks to be a fairly straightforward reboot. Clayne Crawford (24, Rogue) has been cast as Martin Riggs (Gibson’s character), with Damon Wayans (Major Payne, My Wife and Kids) playing Roger Murtaugh (Glover’s role). It ought to be a standard buddy-cop action show with elements of drama and comedy, and the key will be for Crawford and Wayans to develop something that at least remotely resembles the chemistry of Gibson and Glover. Interestingly enough, Glover said he’s skeptical of the project, or at least that he’d prefer people still remember his four films fondly. But the name Lethal Weapon still carries a great deal of weight, which should make this show one of the more watched debuts of the coming season. 

MacGyver (CBS)

In another move to reboot an American crime classic, albeit one that’s generally taken with a grain of salt, MacGyver will also return to television screens in the near future. Set to debut in late September, this show concerns a secret agent who uses scientific knowledge and off-the-charts resourcefulness to get out of sticky situations and, in all likelihood, save the world. If you’re not as familiar with the original series, which ran from 1985 to 1992 and starred Richard Dean Anderson in the titular role, you may well have come across the parody: Saturday Night Live and Will Forte’s “MacGruber. In this skit that ultimately became a film, the hero would frequently fall short of saving the world due to comical miscues. 

The new drama will presumably be a little bit grittier, though as stated MacGyver isn’t necessarily meant to be taken seriously. Lucas Till (X-Men: Apocalypse) will star as a young Angus MacGyver, who essentially creates his own organisation within the United States government to fight crime with his own bizarre blend of skills. 

Sherlock (BBC One)

What Sherlock has done for Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective series is remarkable. Released just months after the blockbuster film Sherlock Holmes and before Elementary in the US, it managed to become most people’s picture of the definitive modern Holmes. It also brought popularity back to the character and concept. One can argue that Elementary sprouted from this show, and we’ve also seen a greater prevalence of Holmes material, such as video games, since the 2010 debut. Frogwares has a well-known console series going, but the characters from these stories have also popped up in high-volume online gaming arenas. The choices for slot machine games at Betfair include numerous connections to pop culture and fiction, and a delightful Sherlock Holmes title is now among them. The game uses character images, detective equipment, and the setting of 221B Baker Street to make for a more interesting casino experience, with reel spins turning up all kinds of elements related to the stories.

Despite all this influence, Sherlock is actually a pretty abbreviated show. Presented in a way that each series consists of only a handful of (long) episodes, it plays out almost like a collection of short films. There have only been three series to date, as well as one Christmas mini-episode and a 2016 special that existed outside of the timeline of the regular show. And for that reason, fans simply can’t wait for more material. Series four will debut in 2017, with more wonderful action expected from Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. 

[Read more…]

Paranoid, trailer for ITV’s new thriller

Paranoid is coming to ITV this autumn.

It’s the story of a female GP who is murdered in a children’s playground with an abundance of eyewitnesses. Detectives embark on what seems to be a straightforward investigation. But as they delve into the case they are drawn into the twists of a mystery, taking them unexpectedly across Europe.

Cast includes Indira Varma, Robert Glenister, Lesley Sharp, Dino Fetscher, Neil Stuke, Polly Walker and John Duttine.

Wolf Creek, TV spinoff on Fox

A serial killer’s roaming the Outback in this pacy TV adaptation

★★★½ Fox, Tuesday, 30 August, 10pm

IF THIS new series sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a spin-off from the 2005 film about an Outback psycho terrorising backpackers. There was also a sequel.

Its director, Greg McLean, returns with this briskly paced six-parter. Actor John Jarratt also reprises his role as said psycho, Mick Taylor.

This time round the victims are a holidaying American family, consisting of dad, mom and their children – a young lad and 19-year-old Eve (Lucy Fry). The reason I haven’t named the rest of Eve’s family is that they are brutally murdered by Mick before the opening credits. Eve just manages to elude Taylor, who believes she has become ‘croc bait’.

Dustin Clare as Detective Hill

Detective Sullivan Hill (Dustin Clare) is keen to ship Eve back home and get on with tracking down the man behind the atrocity. While his colleagues have their doubts about Eve’s version of events, Hill has bigger worries.

Namely, could the murder of Eve’s family be connected to disappearances across the territories in recent years?

However, more immediately he has to deal with Eve, who has run off with his case files, determined to track down the killer on her own.

John Jarratt as psycho Taylor

Wolf Creek has its rough edges, but it is gripping. The photography is stunning too, playing on the mystery of the beautiful but deadly Outback, as movies have done all the way back to 1971’s Walkabout.

Eve’s motivation as vigilante is a bit flimsy – she doesn’t even seem to get on that well with her dad in the few minutes he’s on screen. But Jarratt is chilling as Mick, who, like real-life monster Fred West, uses his bumpkin folksiness as a cloak for his homicidal intent.


No Limit, new Luc Besson thriller

No Limit

Big shot – Vincent Elbaz as Libérati

It’s all action in this French Riviera-set thriller

★★★ All4, from Friday, 5 August

JUST AS Jason Bourne is tearing up screens at the multiplexes, along comes this French TV actioner hoping to do the same in our living rooms.

It joins the foreign legion of dramas under the Walter Presents flag, part of All4’s on-demand service.

Created by Luc Besson, who showed his flair for penning action spectacles with Nikita and Leon, alongside Franck Philippon, ditto with Sky Atlantic’s The Tunnel, No Limit clearly will be light on emotions and introspection.

Vincent Elbaz as Libérati

Springing into action – the man on a mission

Springing into action – the man on a mission

In fact, it’s a strangely old-fashioned show, or perhaps it’s consciously retro, utilising split screens, some breezy banter between the mayhem and a title sequence featuring scuba-diving, jumping off buildings and the like. Anyone have fond memories of Airwolf or Knight Rider?

The twist in the premise is that our hero, Vincent Libérati (Vincent Elbaz), is having treatment for a brain tumor. He wants to abandon the James Bond lifestyle to look after his cheeky 16-year-old daughter.

But wouldn’t you know it? In order to receive some experimental medical treatment he has to agree to join a confidential crime-fighting group.

French Riviera setting

No Limit on All4

Rush hour for Vincent

The opening episode sees him tangling with arms dealers, having punch-ups and cracking safes.

No Limit is unlikely to linger long in your mind, but if you feel like vegging out in front of an hour of smash-bang-wallop with a French Riviera backdrop, there are 22 episodes coming up.