Marcella 2, ITV, with Anna Friel

BUCCANEER MEDIA FOR ITV MARCELLA EPISODE 1 Pictured: ANNA FRIEL as Marcella. This photograph is (C) RANKIN and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above. 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: Patrick.smith@itv.com

Dark times – Anna Friel as Marcella

She’s confused, we’re confused – Marcella is back on a new case

★★½ ITV, Monday, 19 February, 9pm

IT BEGINS WITH our heroine standing on a roof edge. Then someone finds an ear in a wall – as you do.

Next, a mummified corpse is found bricked up in a cavity. Marcella takes one look and says, ‘I know who that is.’

All this is accompanied by a pounding soundtrack. This jumble of unhinged non sequiturs and annoying aural climaxes is, I suspect, supposed to be intriguing. To keep us guessing, glued to our armchairs.

For many, the actual effect will probably be to make trigger fingers hover over the remote’s off-button.

Marcella’s fugue states

The storytelling is annoying, throwing out jagged moments to keep the audience off-balance. The characters are largely flat because of the pyrotechnics with plot-teasers.

ANNA FRIEL as Marcella, RAY PANTHAKI as Rav and JACK DOOLAN as Mark. This photograph is (C) iTV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above. 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: Patrick.smith@itv.com

Investigators – Anna Friel as Marcella, Ray Panthaki as Rav and Jack Doolan as Mark

The first outing for Marcella was called ‘infuriating’ in some quarters, but this site enjoyed its off-kilter drive. In fact, most people who voted in our poll liked it and found it gripping.

If you remember, Detective Sergeant Marcella Backland suffers these fugue states and can’t recall all that happens. This led to suspicions that she may have committed the crime she was investigating without knowing it.

Jamie Bamber

Now she is back for another eight episodes and is still out of control. When she blindly attacks someone, her estranged husband says she should get help.

‘I don’t know how,’ she moans. To which most viewers may think, how about visiting the doctor?

Instead, she goes rampaging around in a fury, snapping at the man she sleeps with, played by Jamie Bamber, weirdly confronting her ex, lying to colleagues. She is a grim protagonist.

Another criticism last time was that it was such a dark drama. This time, we get a child apparently being abducted, a paedophile, a youth strapped to a table in a dingy flat being experimented on…

Hans Rosenfeldt, creator of The Bridge

Without any coherent story or characters, these elements are lurid and probably meant to shock. What they don’t do is compel to watch more.

Marcella is written by Hans Rosenfeldt, who created The Bridge. This also had its nasty side, but at least its lead character, Saga Noren, was emotionally rich and sympathetic. And there were odd moments of endearing humour.

BUCCANEER MEDIA FOR ITV MARCELLA EPISODE 1 Pictured: KEITH ALLEN as Alan Summers AND NIGEL PLANER as Reg Reynolds. This photograph is (C) iTV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above. 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: Patrick.smith@itv.com

Suspects? Keith Allen as Alan Summers and Nigel Planer as Reg Reynolds

Anyway, the storyline of the latest series begins with the discovery of a body inside a wall. This is clothed in a school blazer. Marcella instantly works out that the body is that of schoolboy Leo Priestley, who was abducted a few years beforehand and a friend of her son, Edward.

Anna Friel – superb in Broken

Which would mean in real life that she has a connection with the victim and could not work the case. But plausibility is also not a strong point of Marcella.

Anna Friel is fine actor – she was superb in Broken recently – and I liked The Bridge a lot.

But Marcella seems to be trying too hard to be edgy. It’s a fugue state I’m happy to wake up from.

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