Marseille series 2

Netflix crime drama Marseille was one of the most lavish TV series we’ve seen in many years. With heavy-hitting actors like Gerard Depardieu and a string of mob-related violence engulfing the tower blocks and casinos of the French city, it represented how serious the streaming service is about creating big-budget TV content.

Although the series suffered a few critical misgivings, it was a highly watchable show that’s been given the go-ahead for a second series.

Marseille focused on a slightly corrupt mayor Robert Taro, excellently portrayed by veteran actor Depardieu. It showed him trying to overcome political infighting, family troubles and the gangs of Marseille.

Inter-racial romance

The central theme of series one was how the mayor tried to establish a legal casino in the old port as a way of countering growing mob-related activities. And such is the popularity of gaming websites like Lucky Nugget Casino, which enables players to get a big win via their online pokies games, that it illustrated how prescient the makers of Marseille were in the creation of this extravagant series.

Netflix series Marseille with Gerard Depardieu

Port of call: the cast of Marseille

Other topical themes were the explorations of inter-racial romance, as well as its endemic drug culture. But it was the expansive cinematography of Marseille that was perhaps its trademark. The luxurious coastline was depicted showing a dramatic contrast with the decrepit tower blocks that form the core of the series’ criminal activity.

Braquo and Spiral

Perhaps what caused some critical misgivings was the success of other recent French crime series. Marseilles lacked the firepower of the Canal+ series Braquo. It also didn’t come close to the psychological complexity of the excellent Spiral series, also due to make a welcome return.

But regardless of the negative critical reception, it’s expected Marseilles 2 won’t hold back in its portrayal of the underworld in this complex city.

Whether it sees Depardieu’s character again attempting to provide online pokies fans with a real-life casino, or whether his villainous rival, Lucas Barres, makes another bid for power, remains to be seen. But whatever happens, it’s sure to look great and be entertaining.

The Moonstone, BBC1

Programme Name: The Moonstone - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Mr Murthwaite (GUY HENRY), Rachel Verinder (TERENIA EDWARDS), Guardian (JAG SANGHERA), Lady Verinder (SOPHIE WARD), Rosanna Spearman (JANE McGRATH), Dr Candy (JEREMY SWIFT) - (C) King bert - Photographer: Ray Burmiston

Fun and games: Rachel Verinder (Terenia Edwards) in party mode

Classic costume mystery for daytime

★★★ BBC1, Monday to Friday, 31 Oct-4 Nov, 2.15pm

MOONSTONE is a little gem for daytime viewers, a decent adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ classic mystery as part of the Beeb’s Love to Read season.

It’s good to see the channel mounting a proper costume drama for the afternoons. But while it is enjoyable, it is also a little plodding. Perhaps because the book, published in 1868, is credited with casting the template for the modern detective story, it feels mechanical and lacking a little in emotion.

John Thomson as Sergeant Cuff

The story kicks off in 1849. Franklin Blake (Joshua Silver) returns to England. His father has died and he must deal with the fallout from the shocking events of the year before when the famous Indian Moonstone was stolen on the night of 18th birthday of Rachel Verinder (Terenia Edwards).

Franklin can only win her heart, we discover, if he finds the thief. There are suspects, a celebrated detective, Sergeant Cuff (John Thomson), various stock Victorian types –mysterious Indians, miserable servants – and a country house.

If you like Agatha Christie and a handsomely mounted costume affair, then The Moonstone should have passed the afternoons nicely this week. If you have missed it, you can catch up, of course, on BBC iPlayer.

Dark Angel, ITV, Joanne Froggatt

From ITV DARK ANGEL EPISODE 1 Pictured: JOANNE FROGGATT as Mary Ann. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc 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

Chilling: Joanne Froggatt as Mary Ann

The chilling true story of Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton

★★★½ ITV, Monday, 31 October, 9pm

FEMALE SERIAL KILLERS are a rare breed, but Victorian England produced a couple, of which poisoner Mary Ann Cotton was a particularly notorious.

ITV has lined up a strong cast, including Downton‘s Joanne Froggatt in the lead role and Alun Armstrong, to bring her to life in two two-hour episodes. Adaptations of true crimes are a speciality of the channel and they have a strong track record in giving dramatic but sensitive insight into the horrors of Fred West, the Yorkshire Ripper and the Moors Murderers.

We first meet Mary Ann as a 24-year-old apparently loving wife and mother in 1854, newly returned to her native North East of England. But faced with poverty and an ailing husband, we see how ruthless she is in pursuing her desires – and a better life.

Arsenic and life insurance

From ITV DARK ANGEL EPISODE 1 Pictured: JOANNE FROGGATT as Mary Ann. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc 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 4

Happy family? Joanne Froggatt as Mary Ann and Alun Armstrong as George Stott

Grim poverty is the backdrop to this chilling tale. The couple move to Sunderland for husband Billy’s work, but Mary Ann is furious when he tells her he is too sick to work.

A life of bedbugs, scrubbing and a screaming baby is all she has. Having also lost five infants, her state of mind is probably not all that balanced. That Billy has life insurance and there is a bottle of arsenic in the kitchen offers her a terrible way out.

Portraying these events at the distance of more than a century means quite a few imaginative leaps have to be made. The resulting drama is not entirely convincing at times, but this is such an extraordinary story that it is still compelling. [Read more…]

Narcos 2 featurette: Pablo killed

Narcos fans will want to check this out. It’s a featurette from Netflix about the climax of the latest series of Narcos, the tense drama about Pablo Escobar and the gruesome, gruelling hunt for him. In the second season, notorious drug kingpin Escobar, played by Golden Globe nominee Wagner Moura, is on the run, with the Colombian authorities and the Americans in relentless pursuit – and determined to put an end to his illegal activities. However, the story doesn’t end there. Despite the demise of Escobar, there will be two further series of Narcos. Watch this space…

Narcos 2 on Netflix

The end: law enforcement catches up with Escobar

Breaking Bad — Killer TV No 1

Here is the final entry in our Killer TV top 50. It's been fun revisiting favourite series.

Below is the full list of 50. Are any of your favourites not here? Leave a comment and let us know…

new-breaking-bad-photos-offer-hints-at-the-final-eight-episodes

AMC, 2008-2013

'Nah, come on, man. Some straight like you, giant stick up his ass at like what, 60, he's just gonna break bad?' – Jesse Pinkman

Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk

Identikit: A humdrum chemistry teacher turns to crime to provide for his family when he is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.


WHAT an unlikely premise it must have appeared to US cable network AMC! A low-grade chemistry teacher in dullsville Albuquerque discovers he has cancer and decides to make and sell methamphetamine to provide for his family (his wife's pregnant with their second child). From that idea came one of the most dazzling, profound and blackly funny TV dramas ever. Through five seasons creator Vince Gilligan (once of The X Files) offered a compelling portrait of a man, Walter White, going bad and giving in to his dark side. This journey from decent man to criminal radically subverted TV's traditional formula of flawed characters learning life lessons. Gilligan summed it up: "The goal was to turn him from Mr Chips into Scarface." Walter's transformation is wild but convincing, with the teacher having missed out on making a fortune earlier in life, so that when he faces death he's determined to use his talents to cash in before it's too late. Bursting with superb, three-dimensional characters, sublime acting and bravura visual storytelling, Breaking Bad rarely failed to pack an emotional punch. Sometimes it was bleakly violent, sometimes heartrending. An episode in series three called One Minute was breathlessly suspenseful and moving at the same time, a typical powerhouse piece of drama with Dean Norris (as Hank) putting in an affecting performance as the shaken DEA man, unknowingly facing assassination and confessing to his wife that he may not be the man she thought he was. This coupled with a gallery of nightmarish psychos (Tuco, Gus Fring, the Cartel's hit-men cousins) and memorable characters (such as lawyer Saul 'Better Call Saul!' Goodman) makes Breaking Bad an undeniable modern classic. It's unlikely AMC could out-resource the BBC or ITV, but the (comparatively) fledgling network produced an unforgettable series with a scope and ambition UK channel honchos can't even dream of.

Classic episode: Grilled – crazed Tuco takes Walter and Jesse prisoner in the desert. Tense, with a bloody finale.

Music: Main theme by composer Dave Porter. Fine music throughout the five series, with The Ballard of Heisenberg by Negro y Azul particularly fun.

Watercooler fact: The pink, burnt teddy bear, which is seen throughout series two as a harbinger of the plane crash at the end of the season, appears in black-and-white flash forwards. Only the bear appears in colour, in tribute to the little girl in a red coat in Schindler's List.

Cagney and Lacey — Killer TV No 15

cagneylacey8CBS, 1982-86

‘You feel like a little girl. What I see is a woman of great courage.’ – Mary Beth Lacey

Tyne Daly, Sharon Gless, Al Waxman, John Karlen

Identikit: Two women show their strength and vulnerabilities dealing with their private lives and careers as New York detectives.


The TV landscape is awash with formulaic police procedurals. Cagney and Lacey was one that lifted the genre above the norm, for the first time depicting women as buddies in a tough job. Christine Cagney was the career woman, Mary Beth Lacey was the working mother, and here was a drama that cut away a lot of guff usually seen in hero cop shows. Cagney and Lacey did rough police jobs in brutal New York to make a living, usually close and mutually supportive but occasionally dishing out home truths to each other, often in the privacy of the Ladies. The weekly stories had the usual chases and shootouts, along with the odd corny routine for light relief, but what made it distinctive was the human side of the characters – Mary Beth’s breast cancer, her pregnancy; Chris getting shot, being raped, her failed relationships and dread of ending up alone. It also never shied away from the bleak side of policing, such as Chris’s occasional lapses into booze dependancy (like her cop dad before her). The cases they dealt with exposed the underbelly of grimy Gotham – abandoned children, victims of the pornography industry, sexual abuse – some based on true events. And real issues were confronted – abortion, nuclear weapons (Mary Beth was arrested on an anti-nuke demo), date rape. But in addition to its strength as a crime drama, its depiction of working women in a male environment certainly spoke to women holding down jobs in the real world. It was Christine’s boyfriends and frustrations, and Mary Beth’s family crises that always chimed with fans, rather than unravelling the whodunit. Despite early misgivings by some execs in CBS that the characters would be perceived as ‘dykes’, or at least as too unfeminine, executive producer Barney Rozenzweig steered the show through two cancellations. Sharon Gless was brought in to replace Meg Foster as Cagney after the first series to reduce the character’s aggression a bit. When the show was cancelled at the end of the 82-83 season, it was brought back by popular demand when viewers (many of whom were women) wrote to CBS to complain. It became one of the most cherished series of the 1980s, with Daly and Gless going on to share best actress Emmys for six years on the trot – a unique achievement.

Classic episode: Turn, Turn, Turn, the two-part conclusion to season 6. Christine’s dad dies after a drunken fall, and Mary Beth confronts her about her own disastrous boozing, eventually dragging her to AA. ‘My name is Christine, and I’m an alcoholic.’

Watercooler fact: Barbara Avedon and Barbara Corday actually developed an outline for the series in 1974, but it was turned down by all the networks, none of whom thought a series about women cops would succeed.

http://www.cagneyandlacey.com/Home

Dark Heart, ITV Encore

From ITV Studios Dark Heart on ITV Encore Pictured: The Killer. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc 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

Brutal – The Killer in Dark Heart

Twisting two-hour tale of revenge murders that seems designed to launch a new cop series

★★★ ITV Encore, week of 5 November (day to be announced)

THE START is grisly, featuring the kind of slow murder that London probably hasn’t seen since the Middle Ages.

It’s the first of a series of horror killings, all featuring suspected paedophiles as the victims. However, if you can get past the grim murder spree, Dark Hart is a diverting tale with good lead characters.

Investigator: Staffe (Tom Riley)

Investigator: Staffe (Tom Riley)

Detective Inspector William Wagstaffe (Tom Riley), is the focus. He is haunted by the murder of his parents during a family holiday in Spain when he was 16 years old. The killers are still at large and ‘Staffe’ is unable to let go until he finds them.

The women in Staffe’s life

By day, Staffe has to keep his cynical officers focused on tracking down a killer who most feel is doing a good job. These include DC Josie Chancellor (Anjli Mohindra), DS Dave Pulford (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) and DS Rick Johnson (Tom Brooke).

By night he has an on-off relationship with Sylvie (Miranda Raison) and a close but fractious time with his sister, Juliette (Charlotte Riley).

 Juliette [Charlotte Riley]. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc 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

Sister – Juliette (Charlotte Riley)

Based on a novel by Adam Creed, the set-up is interesting, but as depicted on screen never really convinces. Staffe’s troubled soul somehow fails to chime with the on-going story, which is heavily concerned with moody interiors and time-lapse sequences.

It’s not in the same league as Happy Valley or even the currently unfolding Paranoid and The Level.

Still, the investigation – once the horror show is put aside – is surprising and holds your interest. The end packs a wallop and Staffe is left in a place where it seems likely he may be brought back for more adventures.

Michael Connelly book launch in Harrogate

The Wrong Side of Goodbye

Michael Connelly’s new book is The Wrong Side of Goodbye

FANS OF thriller writer Michael Connelly and the Amazon Prime series based on his character Bosch may be interested in a special book launch the author is attending in Harrogate next month.

Presented by Harrogate International Festivals, an Evening with Michael Connelly is at 7.30pm on 18 October at the Crown Hotel. Attendees will be able to get his new book, The Wrong Side of Goodbye, on the day of its UK release. Connelly will be holding a book signing afterwards.

Gemma Rowland, Operations Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, which delivers the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, said: ‘Our crime writing festival is considered the best in the world. Michael Connelly routinely comes up as one of the most popular authors audiences want to see in Harrogate. It’s an honour that he has chosen Harrogate to appear on the date his book launches. The ticket price of £25 is also brilliant value. It includes a copy of the new hardback, which costs £19.99.’

Harry Bosch on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Connelly attended the Crime Writing Festival in 2005. He said: ‘Harrogate is a must. With beautiful locale, smart panels and superb author interaction, it’s one of the best festivals I’ve attended.’

The Florida-based author has sold over 60 million books. The multi-award winning novelist is known for his detective series featuring LA detective Harry Bosch. His novels routinely enter the number-one spot on the New York Times bestseller list. The first Bosch book, City of Bones, was released in 2002.

Connelly is also one of the writers/producers on the TV show, Bosch, streaming on Amazon Prime Instant Video.

A former journalist, he was formerly a police reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He has written several stand-alone thrillers alongside his Bosch series, including the acclaimed legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer, selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club.

Book online www.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com or Box office: 01423 562 303

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