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…

[Read more…]

Endeavour 5, ITV, with Shaun Evans

FROM MAMMOTH SCREEN FOR ITV ENDEAVOUR ON ITV1 Pictured: SHAUN EVANS as Dectective Sergeant Endeavour Morse ad ROGER ALLAM as Detective Chief Inspector Fred Thursday Shaun Evans returns as the recently promoted Detective Sergeant Endeavour Morse. Also returning Roger Allam (Detective Chief Inspector Fred Thursday), Anton Lesser (Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright), Dakota Blue Richards (WPC Shirley Trewlove), Sean Rigby (Sergeant Jim Strange), James Bradshaw (Dr. Max DeBryn), Caroline O'Neil (Win Thursday) and Abigail Thaw (Dorothea Frazil). The series also sees the arrival of new recruit Detective Constable George Fancy, played by Lewis Peek, whom Morse has to reluctantly mentor. The new series begins with Morse having finally passed his Sergeant’s exams, as Oxford City Police merges into Thames Valley Constabulary. Joan Thursday (Sara Vickers) has returned to Oxford, but much is unresolved following her disappearance the previous year and Endeavour’s unexpected proposal. 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

Oxford’s students of crime – Shaun Evans as Detective Sergeant Endeavour Morse and Roger Allam as Detective Chief Inspector Fred Thursday

The 1960s may be swinging but glum Morse has a deadly serious job to do

★★★½

ITV, Sunday, 4 February, 8pm

WHY DID ENDEAVOUR join the police? He doesn’t seem to fit in, with his Wagner and crosswords.

He stomps about moaning. And he’s always got a face like a slapped bum on him.

Of course, whether it was John Thaw or Shaun Evans portraying the sleuth, the poor guy has always been unlucky in love. It’s 1968 and the permissive society is passing him by.

Joan Thursday returns

To rub in his loner status, as this fifth series gets underway, Joan (Sara Vickers) is back on the scene. If you remember, Endy was going to propose to her last year, only for the young woman to promptly scarper.

FROM MAMMOTH SCREEN FOR ITV ENDEAVOUR ON ITV1 Pictured: DAKOTA BLUE RICHARDS as WPC Shirley Tewlove and SHAUN EVANS as Detective Sgt Endeavour Morse Past and present collide in Oxford, as the auction of a priceless Faberge Egg gets underway at Lonsdale College. It soon attracts the attention of an infamous international thief - and consequently the newly christened Thames Valley Constabulary - as Endeavour (Shaun Evans) investigates a failed burglary attempt. They soon have a bigger case to solve, as the gruesome death of a known gangster threatens to expose the growing threat of underworld Oxford. But when a Lonsdale don connected to the auction is murdered in a similarly grisly way, Endeavour begins to suspect the seemingly separate cases may be somehow connected. When the organiser of the auction also meets a bloodthirsty end, he's convinced. The hunt is underway to find a ruthless and violent serial killer, and track down the next victim before it's too late. Meanwhile, newly-promoted Endeavour struggles with his role as he's forced to mentor young detective constable George Fancy (Lewis Peek), and a surprise reappearance opens up old wounds. 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

Feeling rosy? Dakota Blue Richards as WPC Shirley Trewlove and Shaun Evans as Endeavour

Even his promotion to detective sergeant hasn’t cheered him up. Perhaps he suspects that the demise of Oxford City Police, now absorbed into Thames Valley Constabulary, could blight his future. Not everyone will be moving to the force’s new HQ…

And there is the grim business of a slain boxer to unravel. In Muse, the first of six feature-length films, he is found with three bullets in his chest and a spike driven through his ear. [Read more…]

Requiem, BBC1, with Lydia Wilson

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 22/01/2018 - Programme Name: Requiem - TX: n/a - Episode: Requiem - portraits (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: +++Embargoed until Monday January 22nd, 2018+++ Matilda (LYDIA WILSON) - (C) New Pictures - Photographer: Todd Antony

Lost – Matilda (Lydia Wilson)

A musician travels into her disturbing past in this spooky psychological thriller

★★★½

BBC1, Friday, 2 February, 9pm

WHEN MATILDA, a talented musician, finds a box of mementoes on her recently deceased mother’s bed, it pushes her on a journey of frightening discoveries.

This offbeat new thriller should also have an unsettling effect on viewers. It uses tricks from the horror genre – eerie sounds, jump cuts – but without overdoing it. The overall effect disorientating but engrossing.

Matilda Gray is a successful cellist about to embark on a concert tour of New York. But her world is turned upside when her mother inexplicably commits suicide.

Mystery of the girl who vanished

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 22/01/2018 - Programme Name: Requiem - TX: n/a - Episode: Requiem - Ep1 (No. 1) - Picture Shows: +++Embargoed until Monday January 22nd, 2018+++ Rose (CLAIRE RUSHBROOK), Aron (RICHARD HARRINGTON), Matilda (LYDIA WILSON), Hal (JOEL FRY) - (C) New Pictures - Photographer: Simon Ridgway

Confrontation – Rose (Claire Rushbrook), Aron (Richard Harrington), Matilda (Lydia Wilson), Hal (Joel Fry)

It is then that grieving Matilda finds the box of news clippings and photos. These are about a girl, Carys Howell, who went missing from a Welsh village 20-odd years ago.

Who was Carys? And why was Matilda’s mother obsessed with the case?

Matilda and her piano accompanist Hal (Joel Fy) travel to Penllynith to investigate whether her mother’s suicide is related to Carys’s disappearance. [Read more…]

McMafia, with James Norton, BBC1

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 28/11/2017 - Programme Name: McMafia - TX: n/a - Episode: McMafia - Generics (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: From L-R: Dimitri (Aleksey Serebryakov), Alex (James Norton), Oksana (Maria Shukshina), Katya (Faye Marsay) and Rebecca (Juliet Rylance).   Please find attached a new image from BBC One’s eight-part global crime thriller, McMafia. The image shows Alex Godman (James Norton), the English-raised son of Russian exiles with a mafia history, and his family.   Faye Marsay (Love Nina, Game Of Thrones) portrays Katya, Alex’s sister, and Juliet Rylance (The Knick, Frances Ha) is Alex’s strong-willed and morally upright British girlfriend, Rebecca. Aleksey Serebryakov (The Method, Leviathan) is Dimitri, Alex’s father and the exiled head of the Russian mafia, and Maria Shukshina (Yolki 3, Terrorist Ivanona) is Oksana, Alex’s socialite mother. Rebecca (JULIET RYLANCE), Katya (FAYE MARSAY), Oksana (MARIA SHUKSHINA), Alex (JAMES NORTON), Dimitri (ALEKSEY SEREBRYAKOV) - (C) BBC WorldWide - Photographer: n/a

Left to right: Dimitri (Aleksey Serebryakov), Alex (James Norton), Oksana (Maria Shukshina), Katya (Faye Marsay) and Rebecca (Juliet Rylance)

Based on Misha Glenny’s non-fiction book, this superb drama is a journey into the complex web of modern international crime

★★★★★

BBC1, New Year’s Day, 1 January, 9pm

CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES out of the way, the Beeb kicks off 2018 with this punchy, sophisticated drama.

It’s based on journalist Misha Glenny’s bestselling non-fiction exploration of modern-day, industrial levels of international crime. It’s been turned into a fictional drama here.

Programme Name: McMafia - TX: n/a - Episode: McMafia Episode One (No. 1) - Picture Shows:  Alex Godman (JAMES NORTON), Tanya (YUVAL SCHARF) - (C) Cuba Productions - Photographer: Nick Wall

Dangerous liaisons: Alex Godman (James Norton), Tanya (Yuval Scharf)

McMafia is the tale of Alex Godman – wonderfully played by James Norton – a hedge-fund boss whose Russian-family past sucks him into a dangerous world. Alex’s business is in trouble and he needs new investors.

From the Middle East to London and Moscow

He turns to his dodgy Russian uncle Boris (David Dencik) for help, but soon realises that the Israeli investor Boris suggests, Semiyon Kleiman (David Strathrain) is looking for someone to launder millions in dirty money.

Alex is not interested, but when events take a violent turn, he realises that to save his family he may have to join with Kleiman.

This is a big, richly observed and serious drama. The characters are fascinating and the criminal enterprises depicted are intimidating and frightening.

It’s also superbly made and written. Moving from the Middle East to Moscow, London, Tel Aviv and Versailles, it reveals an opulent world fuelled by cynicism and lethal ruthlessness.

This is far better than Grantchester

Programme Name: McMafia - TX: n/a - Episode: McMafia Episode One (No. 1) - Picture Shows:  Alex Godman (JAMES NORTON) - (C) Cuba Productions

Armed struggle: Alex Godman (James Norton)

When Alex tells his mother, ‘What he [Kleiman] wants is illegal,’ she just replies, ‘How illegal?’

When the violence intrudes on Alex’s life, it is sudden, realistic and horrifying. And if you want to see James Norton stretch himself in a series that’s far superior to the rather twee Grantchester, this is it.

The old mob outfits that inspired movies such as The Godfather and GoodFellas look like playground squabbles compared to the vast criminal organisations uncovered in Glenny’s book. McMafia a series that should not be missed.

If the BBC makes a more impressive drama in the months ahead, 2018 will be a very special TV year indeed.

Crime dramas 2018 preview

Here is our annual rundown of some of the top crime series coming up. It seems there are more quality series around than ever…

The Trial of Christine Keeler, BBC1

Christine Keeler, who died earlier this month aged 75, was a the centre of one of the 20th century’s greatest British scandals, the Profumo affair. Writer Amanda Coe gives a taste of the event by describing it as ‘the Salem Witch Trial meets OJ Simpson – a perfect storm of gender, class, race and power that resonates into the world we’re living in today’. Keeler was a young woman who had an affair with government minister John Profumo. He lied about it to the House of Commons and had to resign. The fallout rocked the 1960s establishment and had tragic consequences…

Anticipation factor ★★★★★

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 02/10/2017 - Programme Name: A Very English Scandal - TX: 01/10/2017 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: First look picture of Hugh Grant playing Jeremy Thorpe in BBC One's A Very English Scandal Jeremy Thorpe (HUGH GRANT) - (C) Blueprint Television Ltd - Photographer: Kieron McCarron

Downfall: Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe

A Very English Scandal, BBC1

Hugh Grant, Ben Wishaw

Another scandal that shook Britain, this time in the 1970s. Hugh Grant, returning to British television for the first time since the early 1990s, plays the disgraced MP Jeremy Thorpe. In 1979 he was tried but acquitted of conspiring to murder his ex-lover Norman Scott, played by Ben Whishaw. Terrific cast includes Patricia Hodge, Monica Dolan and Michelle Dotrice. This three-parter is written by Bafta-winner and former Doctor Who overlord Russell T Davies. It’s directed by Stephen Frears, whose credits include Philomena and The Queen.

Anticipation factor ★★★★★

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 02/10/2017 - Programme Name: A Very English Scandal - TX: 01/10/2017 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: First look picture of Ben Whishaw playing Norman Scott in BBC One's A Very English Scandal Norman Scott (BEN WHISHAW) - (C) Blueprint Television Ltd - Photographer: Kieron McCarron

Ben Whishaw as Norman Scott in BBC1’s A Very English Scandal

Hatton Garden, ITV

Timothy Spall, Kenneth Cranham

We almost saw this before Christmas, but it was abruptly pulled from schedules and will now be shown in 2018. It is, of course, about the spectacular London burglary pulled off by a group of, as the press labelled them, ‘diamond geezers’. It has a terrific cast and is written by Jeff Pope and Terry Windsor. Should be a cut above.

Anticipation factor ★★★★★

Mindhunter 2, Netflix

Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv

For me, the best crime drama of 2017 has been Netflix’s Mindhunter. Set in 1979, it is a gripping look at the challenges of setting up the FBI’s criminal profiling unit. It was superior to most TV whodunits, being an intriguing take on why-do-they-do-it. Serial killers are the subject, and the most chilling performance was that of Cameron Britton. He played the real-life killer Ed Kemper. Check out this featurette… and don’t miss the show.

Anticipation factor ★★★★★

Narcos 4, Netflix

Michael Peña, Diego Luna

Michael Pena joins Narcos

Narcos newcomer: Michael Pena

Michael Peña (Crash, American Hustle) and Diego Luna (Rogue One, Y Tu Mamá También) star in the upcoming fourth season. This time the action shifts to Mexico. It is slated to premiere later in 2018. Preview here.

Anticipation factor ★★★★★

Trauma, ITV

Adrian Lester, John Simm

Set in the trauma department of a London hospital, this is a three-parter. Fifteen-year-old Alex Reynolds dies under the care of high-achieving consultant Jon Stephens. Heartbroken, Alex’s father, Dan, believes Jon is responsible for Alex’s death. As he strives for justice, he begins to unpick the fabric of Jon’s life. Written by Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster), who says, ‘Trauma is a story about two fathers with very different lives, locked in conflict. I hope the series will be moving, terrifying and timely… If we increasingly mistrust institutions and experts, what happens when we desperately need them?’

Anticipation factor ★★★★

MAMMOTH SCREEN FOR ITV NEXT OF KIN on ITV1 Pictured: JACK DAVENPORT as Guy Harcourt and ARCHIE PANJABI as Mona Shirani Episode 1 - The contemporary drama follows whip-smart doctor Mona Shirani ( Archie Panjabi) who lives in London with political lobbyist husband Guy Harcourt (Jack Davenport). Family life is shattered when Mona’s brother is killed whilst working for a medical charity abroad. As the death brings buried secrets to light, Mona’s family finds itself under suspicion, each drawn deep into a tangle of betrayal and conspiracy as they try to protect their loved ones and careers. Mona finds herself facing the ultimate dilemma: how far would you go to keep your family safe? 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

Trouble ahead: Jack Davenport as Guy Harcourt and Archie Panjabi as Mona Shirani

Next of Kin, ITV

Archie Panjabi, Jack Davenport

Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife, The Fall), and Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean, Smash), star in this fast-paced family thriller, starting on Monday 8 January. The contemporary drama follows doctor Mona Harcourt (Panjabi). She lives in London with political lobbyist husband Guy (Davenport). When a bomb goes off in London on the same day her brother, Kareem, is abducted and murdered in Pakistan, Mona’s charmed life is shaken to its core.

Anticipation factor ★★★★

Dark Heart, ITV

Tom Riley

Series 2 of this six-part police drama is set for Spring 2018, with Tom Riley as DI Will Wagstaffe, a man haunted by the murder of his parents. ITV head of drama Polly Hill says: ‘We’re thrilled Tom Riley has agreed to return as Will Wagstaffe in Dark Heart. As the central character, he has immersed himself in police work to seek some form of closure for what has happened in his past. It’s a gritty, emotionally driven thriller from [screenwriter] Chris Lang.’

Anticipation factor ★★★★

Riviera 2, Sky Atlantic

Julia Stiles

Julia Stiles, Lena Olin, Roxane Duran and Dimitri Leonidas will be back for a new run of Sky’s glossy French-set crime drama. Based on an idea by former U2 manager Paul McGuinness, it was mostly style over substance. But it clearly did well enough for Sky to lavish another big budget on a second outing.

Anticipation factor ★★★

Clean Break, ITV

Sheridan Smith

Currently being filmed in and around London, this looks particularly interesting. Sheridan Smith plays Sam, a cleaner at financial stockbrokers in the City, one of an invisible army enduring the suffocating grind of a zero-hours contract. She’s also a mum with a gambling addiction. When she hears of a confidential financial deal, she has a chance to turn her life around – but also veer into a dark and illegal world.

Anticipation factor ★★★★

Liar 2, ITV

Joanne Froggatt, Ioan Gruffudd

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 in Liar 1

I thought series one was weighed down by implausibilities, but ITV think it was the greatest thing going, so it’s set to return in 2019. The crazy end certainly annoyed a lot of viewers. Be interesting to see how Andrew Earlham (Gruffudd) is resurrected… or perhaps not.

Anticipation factor ★★★

Cheat, ITV

Starts production in 2018, it’s described as ‘an emotionally affecting four-part series’. It’s about a dangerous relationship between a professor, Leah, and her student, Rose. What begins as a seemingly open and shut case of academic deception, spirals out of control…

Anticipation factor ★★★★

Top Boy, Netflix

Ashley Walters, Kane Robinson

Migrating from C4 to Netflix, this gritty drama includes new storylines that see Dushane (Ashley Walters) returning from exile to his home in London to reclaim his throne in the lucrative drug market. He teams up with Sully (Kane Robinson), his partner, and sometime rival, who is also returning after his own form of exile – prison – comes to an end. Awaiting them both is Jamie, the young and ruthless gang leader whose ambitions leave no room for Dushane and Sully.

Anticipation factor ★★★★

Gangs of London (working title), Sky Atlantic

Set for 2019, this London-set drama will be about a capital ‘torn apart by the turbulent power struggles of the international gangs in control’. When the head of a criminal organisation is assassinated, the sudden power vacuum his death creates threatens the peace between the city’s web of gangs.

Anticipation factor ★★★★

Bulletproof, Sky 1

Noel Clarke, Ashley Walters

Clarke and Walters star as cops from differing backgrounds who are also best mates. Aiming for humour, action and emotion, the show centres on the relationships between fathers and sons and is about friendship, conspiracies and ghosts from the past.

Anticipation factor ★★★★

Lucky Man 3, ITV

James Nesbitt, Sienna Guillory

Based on an idea from world-renowned comic book writer Stan Lee, this had the good fortune to win over a million viewers. In this third chapter, DI Harry Clayton is in Hong Kong, looking for answers about his ‘lucky’ charm. He comes up against some nasty underworld characters who have their eyes on more than just his bracelet. Joining James Nesbitt are show favourites Amara Karan, returning as DS Suri Chohan, Sienna Guillory as Eve and Stephen Hagan as Rich Clayton.

Anticipation factor ★★★★

Manhunt, ITV

Martin Clunes

ITV has a strong record of creating sensitive dramas from true events. This one looks like it be engrossing, though the casting of Martin Clunes looks suspect. Written by Ed Whitmore (who wrote the chilling, intriguing Rillington Place), it’s based upon the memoirs of former London detective DCI Colin Sutton, who tracked down serial killer Levi Bellfield. Manhunt is the story of how the murder of French n ational Amelie Delagrange, on Twickenham Green in August 2004, was eventually linked to the murders of Marsha McDonnell in 2003 and the abduction and murder of Milly Dowler as she travelled home from school in 2002.

Anticipation factor ★★★★

Marcella 2, ITV

Anna Friel, Jamie Bamber

Series one divided viewers in 2016. Written once again by Hans Rosenfeldt, who did the brilliant The Bridge, it is unlikely to be cosy or run-of-the-mill. The story begins with the discovery of a body inside a wall. The corpse is surrounded by toys and soft animals and a school blazer. A devastated Marcella soon works out that the body is that of schoolboy Leo Priestley, who was abducted a few years beforehand and a friend of Marcella’s son, Edward. Anna Friel said, ‘I’m thrilled to be reprising the role of Marcella and want to thank ITV for recommissioning this powerful London based noir drama. The reaction from everyone has been amazing.’

Anticipation factor ★★★★

Endeavour 6, ITV

Shaun Evans, Roger Allam

Filming has begun on the fifth series of ITV’s hugely successful detective drama, Endeavour. Six feature-length films of the Inspector Morse prequel series are to be produced for transmission next year, starring Shaun Evans as the recently promoted Detective Sergeant Endeavour Morse.

Anticipation factor ★★★★

 

White Dragon, ITV

This eight-parter was filmed during the autumn on location in Asia. From writers and producers Harry and Jack Williams (The Missing), it follows Professor Jonah Mulray, whose life is turned upside-down when his wife, Megan, is killed in a car-crash in Hong Kong. Casting news to be announced.

Anticipation factor ★★★★

Unforgotten 3, ITV

Nicola Walker, Sanjeev Bhaskar

This has had some terrific press reviews and will be looked forward to by many viewers. Once again, DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan will be unravelling the truth behind historic murders.

Anticipation factor ★★★★

British crime TV favourites

UK crime drama has plenty to offer fans of drama and suspense. Here, in this guest post, is a list of three dramas that have been especially popular with viewers.

Whilst maybe not accorded the historical reverence that the noir form has enjoyed in France, UK crime drama is no less incredibly storied, going all the way back to Dixon of Dock Green and continuing into the present day with fantastic programs like Broadchurch. Here are three classics…

The Bill

It’s a wrap – The Bill’s cast on its last day

A mainstay of British evening scheduling, this drama ran from 1984-2010, based around the Sun Hill police station. There’s a great combination of episode long arcs combined with more long-form storytelling that always kept viewers guessing. One of its strengths was the balance it managed to cut between telling UK crime drama stories whilst developing the character’s private lives. It was also a testing ground for British scriptwriting talent, with pretty much a who’s-who of established UK crime drama writers having penned an episode at one time or another, as pointed out in this review by Real Money Pokies.

[Read more…]

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. 

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