Rellik starring Richard Dormer, Jodi Balfour

Programme Name: Rellik - TX: n/a - Episode: Rellik - Generics (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Gabriel (RICHARD DORMER), Elaine Shepard (JODI BALFOUR) - (C) New Pictures - Photographer: Joss Barratt

Marked man – Markham (Richard Dormer) and Elaine Shepard (Jodi Balfour)

Pay attention! This intriguing hunt for a serial killer is told backwards…

★★★★

BBC1, starts Monday, 11 September, 9pm

IF YOU’RE the kind of person that likes to come in from work, switch on the box and enjoy a cosy drama with a beginning, middle and end, Rellik is not for you. Try Doc Martin – it’s just started a new series on the other side.

Rellik is about DCI Gabriel Markham’s attempt to track down a serial killer. He’s personally invested in the case because the culprit burned his face with acid.

But the most singular aspect to the story is not its disfigured hero, but that it is told in reverse. You, the viewer, are not spoon-fed here – you have to work at this one.

I admit that as I watched I had to keep saying to myself, Hang on, what’s happening again?

Rellik is written by Harry and Jack Williams

So, what’s the point of all this buggering about with the narrative? The pay-off should be that as we delve into the past we should eventually find out who the monstrous killer is and how he got that way.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/09/2017 - Programme Name: Rellik - TX: n/a - Episode: Rellik - Ep 1 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: *STRICTLY NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01HRS, TUESDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER, 2017* Gabriel (RICHARD DORMER) - (C) New Pictures - Photographer: Joss Barratt

Shrouded in mystery – Markham on the trail of a serial killer

It’s written by Harry and Jack Williams, who have also written the ITV series Liar (see preview below), which the TV bosses have fiendishly scheduled in the same time slot on the other side. Quite an achievement to have two big news series competing against each other like this.

They were also behind The Missing, the hard-hitting BBC series that was also inventive with its structure. So what are they playing at? Responding to the question with one voice, they say, ‘Playing with story and structure and trying to find new ways to tell stories is something we’re fascinated by, so it started there [working on The Missing].

‘But we didn’t want it to be a technical exercise so we had to ask ourselves why you’d tell a story that way. It became clear quite quickly that it was all about motive. That things happen for a reason and those reasons lie in the past. So, what happens when you start at the end and find your way back to the past sounded like an interesting thing to explore.’

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Liar, starring Joanne Froggatt, Ioan Gruffudd

2 BROTHERS PICTURES For Itv LIAR EPISODE 1 Pictured: JOANNE FROGGATT as Laura Nielson AND IOAN GRUFFUDD as Andrew Earlham. Photographer JOSS BARRATT 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

Where does the truth lie? Joanne Froggatt as Laura Nielson and Ioan Gruffudd as Andrew Earlham

What happens when a first date does horrifically wrong for a young woman?

★★★ ITV, starts Monday, 11 September, 9pm

LIAR IS A SHARPLY written psycho-thriller dealing with a delicate theme. It stars Joanne Froggatt and Ioan Gruffudd as a couple tentatively going out on a first date.

He plays Andrew, a surgeon and a single parent, while she is Laura, a teacher just coming out of a long-term relationship. His son is in her class.

There’s an attraction and they meet up for dinner. However, when Laura wakes up later she suspects she has been drugged.

Is Ioan Gruffudd’s character the Liar?

What happened? A devastated Laura tells her account to police, while Andrew insists on his innocence. Both are plausible…

2 BROTHERS PICTURES For Itv LIAR EPISODE 1 Pictured: JOANNE FROGGATT as Laura Nielson. Photographer JOSS BARRATT 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

Piecing together what happened – Laura

Date rape is a serious subject and one that the writers, brothers Harry and Jack Williams, have attempted to treat sensitively. At the same time the drama works as a compelling story with strong characters and tension.

Ioan Gruffudd is convincing as the dad who is either a psychopathic-level liar, or a seriously wronged man.

Joanne Froggatt’s superb performance

Joanne Froggatt has the further emotional distance to cover as Laura, upbeat and confident at the start, and a damaged woman before the end of episode one. The former Downton actor shows here why she has become one of ITV’s leading stars.

The Williams brothers are the duo behind the BBC’s powerful drama The Missing. In Liar they again play with the timeframe to throw us back and forwards in the narrative as Laura remembers more of what happened on the fateful night.

A sign of the duo’s rising status in the drama-writing world is that on Monday night BBC1 has scheduled another series by them, Rellik, to go up against Liar.

2 BROTHERS PICTURES For Itv LIAR EPISODE 1 Pictured: DANNY WEBB as DS Rory Maxwell and SHELLEY CONN as DI Vanessa Harmon. Photographer JOSS BARRATT 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

Questions – Danny Webb and Shelley Conn as the investigating detectives

The Missing was an unforgettable series. Liar is more intimate but still intriguing. It is difficult to guess which way the story is going to go.

I formed an early suspicion about what would happen and many viewers may come up with other views. It will be interesting to see where the story goes over the entire six episodes.

• UPDATE Having seen the second episode, I’ve knocked a star off Liar‘s rating. It often happens with series that the first episode sets up the story well, which then in the second descends into implausibility. Laura breaking into Andrew’s house, losing her earring, the ex-boyfriend organising the police raid on Andrew’s home, Laura continuing to teach Andrew’s son – it’s way too contrived and unbelievable. 

Strike: The Cuckoo’s Calling

Programme Name: Strike - The Cuckoo's Calling - TX: 15/11/2016 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Robin Ellacott (HOLLIDAY GRAINGER), Cormoran Strike (TOM BURKE) - (C) Bronte Films - Photographer: Steffan Hill

Attraction of opposites: Robin Ellacott (Holliday Grainger) and Cormoran Strike (Tom Burke)

Entertaining three-parter following JK Rowling’s rough-but-ready private eye Cormoran Strike

★★★★

BBC1, Sunday, 27 August, 9pm

A COUPLE of years ago I was at a launch party to announce the nominations for the Crime Writers’ Association annual awards. Many of the UK’s leading crime writers were there.

Word went round the mingling authors and publishing folk that a ‘special’ guest could be arriving soon. Finally, there was a hush – the special guest had arrived. Necks were craned and there she was – JK Rowling.

It seemed extraordinary that a gathering of so many of the best crime authors around should be in near awe of her. She had been nominated for one of her books written as Robert Galbraith, the adult crime series she turned to following the conclusion of Harry Potter.

Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike

But it’s not just Potter fans and other writers by whom she is admired. I’m one of those who like her for taking no crap from ignoramuses on Twitter, for insisting the Potter movies were made in the UK, and for triumphing so splendidly over the critic-snobs who sniffed that she couldn’t write. 

The authors at the CWA that evening no doubt appreciated that only a special talent could sell 100million books. So, her latest adaption coming to BBC1 is bound to attract a huge amount of attention.

Programme Name: Strike - The Cuckoo's Calling - TX: 15/11/2016 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Cormoran Strike (TOM BURKE) - (C) Bronte Films - Photographer: Steffan Hill

Cormoran Strike (TOM BURKE)

The Beeb has already offered a JK Rowling miniseries a couple of years ago. The Casual Vacancy starred Julia McKenzie, Keeley Hawes and Michael Gambon. It was a mystery exploring dodgy dealings in an English village.

It was a decent but rather forgettable show. I prefer this latest drama. Tom Burke is a charismatic lead as the one-legged, bear-like private eye Cormoran Strike. He is thrown together with Holliday Grainger as his new, super-efficient temp Robin Ellacott – an odd couple with a spark of attraction.

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Riviera, Julia Stiles, Sky Atlantic

Riviera Julia Stiles

High stakes – Julia Stiles as Georgina Clios

Super-intrigue among the super-rich on the Côte d’Azur

★★★ Sky Atlantic, Thursday, 15 June, 9pm

BEAUTIFUL CARS and yachts, lush scenery and a top-of-the-range cast make this thriller a feast for the eyes from the moment it gets going. Fortunately, the intrigue ensures there is more to it than surface gloss.

Julia Stiles, of Bourne fame, heads a cast that includes Adrian Lester, Iwan Rheon and Lena Olin. She plays Georgina Clios, an art curator who travelled the world buying masterpieces for billionaire Constantine (Anthony LaPaglia). He eventually decided to acquire her, too, and they married.

Riviera - Series 01 Sky Atlantic

Watchful – Adrian Lester as Robert Carver

Secrets and betrayals

When we meet them the marriage is a year old. This is a couple who can have a telephone conversation in which neither bats an eyelid over a snap decision on buying a painting for £30million.

However, an explosion on a super-yacht in Monte Carlo suddenly opens Georgina’s eyes to the fact that Constantine kept many secrets from her.

His ex-wife and the local detectives ask questions that alert her to his many secrets and betrayals. The first episode finishes on a neat cliffhanger that should make most thriller fans eager to see more.

Riviera - Series 01

Live fast, die rich – there is a lot at stake for the glitterati

Created by Neil Jordan

This is a terrifically lavish 10-parter from Sky Atlantic, created and co-written by Neil Jordan, who won a screenplay Oscar for The Crying Game. It is so intimidatingly a portrait of the super-rich, it makes The Night Manager, which it clearly is its companion piece, look cheap.

It even seems to have more yachts, super-yachts, bling cars, motorbikes and other hardware than a Bond film.

However, the theme of a woman delving into her her husband’s menacing secrets, is rich enough to make Riviera a high-class treat.

Jack the Ripper, Michael Caine on DVD

Jack the Ripper Michael Caine JaneSeymour

Ripping yarn – Michael Caine and Jane Seymour

★★★ DVD

Special features

jacktheripper BD 3D bigTHEY DON’T MAKE ‘EM like this anymore. Produced in 1988 to mark the centenary of the most infamous serial killer of all, this Michael Caine two-parter was a huge TV hit when first aired.

Not only did the mini-series coincide with the centenary, it was also broadcast in the US and UK in October, right in the middle of the timeframe of the original five Whitechapel horror-killings – 31 August-9 November 1888. To add to the versimilitude, Hugh Fraser as Met Commissioner Sir Charles Warren, even wore the real Warren’s clothing.

To modern eyes, however, this Thames-CBS co-production looks dated. It has a cloyingly over-the-top musical score, while the production period look just has a very fake, stagey feel to it. Today’s period dramas look far, far more convincing. Nevertheless, it won two Golden Globes (Caine and Amand Assante) and a Bafta (Assante).

Jane Seymour and Lewis Collins

The American money perhaps helped to finance an interesting cast. In addition to Caine and Assante, there were roles for Jane Seymour of Dr Quinn and Live and Let Die fame, The Professionals‘ Lewis Collins pops up, along with Susan George and the terrific Ray McAnally (My Left Foot, The Mission).

Jack the Ripper starring Michael Caine

Mean streets – as recreated in Pinewood Studios

According to Jane Seymour, Caine preferred to do only one take on his scenes before heading off for lunch with his wife. Having said that, he throws himself into the role of Chief Inspector Abberline.

The plot unfolds as a whodunit but has no great revelations about whodunit, largely inspired by the once popular Masons/Royal Family theories. It’s diverting as a relic from TV’s past, but not thought-provoking or particularly gripping.

Distributor: Network
Blu-ray/DVD RRP: £19.99/£14.99
Running Time: 198mins / 189mins
2 Discs
Special Features: Image Gallery. Feature-length widescreen version. Brand-new Dolby 5.1 mix
Certificate: 15

Line of Duty 4, Thandie Newton

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 12/03/2017 - Programme Name: Line of Duty - Series 4 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Series Iconic **EMBARGOED UNTIL SUNDAY 12TH MARCH 2017** Detective Chief Inspector Roz Huntley (THANDIE NEWTON), Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (MARTIN COMPSTON), Superintendent Ted Hastings (ADRIAN DUNBAR), Detective Sergeant Kate Fleming (VICKY McCLURE) - (C) World Productions - Photographer: Des Willie/ Aidan Monaghan

Suspicious minds – Det Chief Inspector Roz Huntley (Thandie Newton), Det Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), Det Sergeant Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure)

Another breathless and twisting engagement with the corruption-busters

★★★★ BBC1, starts Sunday, 26 March, 9pm

LINE OF DUTY has got better and better in previous series. Sadly, there is no Keeley Hawes this time, but the show has mixed up the chemistry with another interesting new face – Thandie Newton.

The corruption-busters played by Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar return. This time there is a bit of needle between newly promoted Kate Fleming (McClure) and the not newly promoted Steve Arnott (Compston).

Thandie Newton, familiar from films such as Crash and most recently TV’s Westworld, here plays DCI Roz Huntley. Her team captures a serial killer and straightaway she is under pressure to make a charge stick.

Line of Duty‘s game of mirrors

The fly in the ointment is her forensics guy, Tim Ifield (Jason Watkins), who suggests the educationally backward suspect has been framed.

Programme Name: Line of Duty - Series 4 - TX: n/a - Episode: Line of Duty - Series 4 - Ep 1 (No. 1) - Picture Shows: **EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01HRS THURSDAY 16TH MARCH 2017** Tim Ifield (JASON WATKINS) - (C) World Productions - Photographer: Aidan Monaghan

Bringing corruption to light? Tim Ifield (Jason Watkins)

The beauty of Line of Duty is that investigating police wrongdoing is a dangerous game of mirrors, and once again the viewer is not sure who is good and not so good. The immediate face-off is between Roz and the slightly creepy Tim. But is Roz bent?

Or is Tim playing some kind of game with her? It is Tim who gets AC-12 involved at looking into Roz.

Lee Ingleby as Roz’s husband

As happened with the opening of series 3 and the explosive introduction to Daniel Mays’s  off-kilter cop Danny Waldron, once again we’re swept along in a breathless opening episode. An abduction, a frantic chase and an explosion – it’s exhausting to watch.

Programme Name: Line of Duty - Series 4 - TX: n/a - Episode: Line of Duty - Series 4 - Ep 1 (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Detective Chief Inspector Roz Huntley (THANDIE NEWTON), Detective Sergeant Kate Fleming (VICKY McCLURE) - (C) World Productions - Photographer: Aidan Monaghan

Watching the detective – Roz Huntley and Kate Fleming

Lee Ingleby plays Roz’s husband and, though he doesn’t have much to do in the opener, it is clear that her private will be a vital part of the drama.

As we’ve come to expect, the performances are compelling and the atmosphere as claustrophobic as the Victoria Line during rush hour.

It’s refreshing to have such a well-written crime series that breaks free of the traditional British obsession with period whodunits. This is rough and tough, and the climax at the end of episode one is almost absurdly nail-biting.

Broadchurch 3 – back to its best?

ITV BROADCHURCH SERIES 3 Pictured L-R: CHARLIE HIGSON as Ian,SEBASTIAN ARMESTO as Clive,JULIE HESMONDHALGH as Trish,SARAH PARISH as Cath,MARK BAAZELEY as Jim,OLIVIA COLMAN as D.S. ELLIE MILLER as Olivia,JIM HOWICK as Aaron, DAVID TENNANT as D.I Alec Hardy,GEORGINA CAMPBELL as D.C. Katie Harford, ANDREW BUCHAN as Mark,JODIE WHITTAKER as Beth,CHRIS MASON as Leo and LENNY HENRY as Ed. 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

Cliffhanger – Charlie Higson, Sebastian Armesto, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Sarah Parish, Mark Bazeley, Olivia Colman, Jim Howick, David Tennant, Georgia Campbell, Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker, Chris Mason and Lenny Henry

SEASON ONE of the seaside mystery made a splash, season two sank without trace. So is David Tennant and Olivia Colman’s crime series back in the groove with this third outing?

I would say, so far so good. The rape story has been harrowing but sensitively portrayed. National Television Award winner Julie Hesmondhalgh has been very good, while up to now Lenny Henry and Sarah Parish have not had too much to do.

Georgina Campbell as Miller and Hardy’s cop colleague is clearly going to be trouble. Charlie Higson has been a revelation as the shifty-looking husband of rape victim Trish (Hesmondhalgh).

Mind you, everyone other than the cops does look shifty. The red-herring addiction of the show’s writers was a predictable and overused trait of the previous series too. But it has been a pretty good first couple of episodes. What do you think?

Is the new series of Broadchurch better than series 2?

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Lucky Man 2, James Nesbitt’s on a roll

James Nesbitt (DI Harry Clayton) and Thekla Reuten (Isabella Augustin) in Stan LeeÕs Lucky Man (SKY 1), episode two, series two. Photographer: Steffan Hill / © 2016 Carnival Films

Fortune smiles: James Nesbitt (DI Harry Clayton) and Thekla Reuten (Isabella Augustin)

IF YOU’RE a British TV fan then you would have most certainly heard of the actor James Nesbitt. Since his acting breakthrough in the romantic-comedy drama Cold Feet, his acting career has gone from strength to strength.

From his ‘cheeky chappie’ roles, he went on to pursue more serious parts that won him numerous awards. And now he is back again in the exciting new Marvel Legend’s drama series Lucky Man, which was confirmed to run for a second series last year.

It’s fair to say that this popular TV show (dubbed Sky 1’s biggest hit drama to date) is set for a successful second round.

Will there be Lucky Man 3?

With all of the drama currently going on in the world, for example Donald Trump taking office in the White House, it is easy to see why the superhero-esque show has gained such a following. We are clearly all in need of a little respite from the news.

In a recent interview Nesbitt himself said that, ‘It’s hard to focus everything on the worry of Brexit, extremism and Donald Trump because at home we’re just enjoying what I suppose would be called a post-war optimism.’

This is possibly one of the best ways of explaining why the hit TV show has built up such a following. Lucky Man has captured the imagination of approximately 1.9 million people and fans are already chatting about the possibility of the show coming back for a third round following the latest instalment.

James Nesbitt (DI Harry Clayton) in Stan Lee’s Lucky Man (SKY 1), episode two, series two.

Tunnel vision: DI Harry Clayton

Harry Clayton is cursed with luck

Perhaps one of the most intriguing things about Lucky Man is the fact that James is able to play a superhero while retaining his own Irish accent, which makes a refreshing change to the American accents we typically see with Marvel productions.

In the show, Nesbitt plays a detective inspector called Harry Clayton. He is a gambling addict who comes into the possession of an ancient bracelet that makes his able to control his luck.

While Nesbitt’s character may seem like he has it all, the power that comes with luck also brings things with it that counter-acts the successes…

Co-stars Eve Best and Sienna Guillory

The idea of being able to control the way you win and lose in life is obviously something that resonates with the show’s viewers. But there may be more to the show than simply that.

Viewers have been so taken by it and have allowed it to enter their homes due to the unique twist of combining a crowd-pleasing crime drama with the added element of Stan Lee’s Marvel talents.

This, alongside a strong cast of actors (Eve Best, Sienna Guillory, Steven Mackintosh) means this show is sure to be remembered for a long time to come. Will Lucky Man return for a third time? Time will tell, but it’s definitely not impossible with the reviews it’s getting today!

Stan Lee’s Lucky Man season 2 is on Sky1, Fridays 9pm

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