Paranoid, ITV, Robert Glenister, Indira Varma, Lesley Sharp

RED PRODUCTIONS FOR ITV PARANOID EPISODE 1 Pictured: INDIRA VARMA as Nina Suresh and NEIL STUKE as Michael Niles. 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

Dark motives: but do the police have anything to be paranoid about?

A shocking murder kicks off a tense conspiracy thriller

★★★★ ITV, Thursday, 29 September, 9pm

TV IS SO OBSESSED with crime drama that it’s hard for any new series to stand out from the mass of cops-and-killer yarns. Paranoid does stand out. It initially has the hallmarks of a traditional whodunit – but then pulls off the trick of veering into darker territory.

It starts with the shocking murder of a mother in a playground. You know the formula – star detectives in plastic suits turn up and make cynical comments to the forensics team.

And when CCTV fingers Jacob Appleby, a suspect suffering from psychopathic schizophrenia, it all looks straightforward. However, events turn more ominous.

RED PRODUCTIONS FOR ITV PARANOID EPISODE 1 Pictured: INDIRA VARMA as Nina Suresh and DINO FETSCHER as Alec Wayfield. 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

Too close for comfort?Indira Varma as Nina Suresh and Dino Fetscher as Alec Wayfield

Robert Glenister as Bobby Day

One of the detectives, Bobby Day (an affecting turn from Robert Glenister), thinks someone is watching the police. And when messages turn up at the police station for Day, it is clear there is more to the murder of mum Angela Benton, a GP, than meets the eye.

One of the messages – ‘You have no idea what you’re up against’ – is a clear warning.

What makes this mystery engrossing is the interesting characters writer Bill Gallagher has created. His credits include Lark Rise to Candleford and The Paradise, so Paranoid seems an interesting shift of gear for him.

The police characters certainly have their own demons. Bobby Day is suffering from panic attacks, which he tries to hide from his colleagues. [Read more…]

Blackout starring Christopher Eccleston, Dervla Kirwan

Hitchcockian assassination scene from Blackout. Pics:BBC

Rating: ★★★★

Channel: BBC1, starts Monday, 2 July, 9pm

Story: Corrupt council official Daniel Demoys’ life is spiralling out of control. He’s an alcoholic, his wife has had enough of his lifestyle, and he finds himself in an alleyway with the businessman who is bribing him when his life takes a violent turn.

Blackout is a bold bit of TV noir. It’s hard to look away from the car-crash life of local politician Daniel Demoys, played without vanity by Christopher Eccleston, as he descends into out-of-control alcoholism, corruption and family destruction.

It takes place in dark alleys and rainswept streets in classic pulp-fiction mode, and begins with a Hitchcockian bit of silent storytelling, a montage that sets the scene nicely, with Demoys stealing council documents that he will sell to a local businessman before turning up late for his daughter’s school dance performance – drunk.

Nightclubbing: Sylvie (MyAnna Buring) and Daniel (Christopher Eccleston)

Waking up as a potential murderer
The blackout of the title is the drunken loss of awareness Daniel suffers later that night. After a bit of corridor sex in a club with a blonde he’s met, Sylvie, he hands over the documents to Pulis in a back alley. The businessman taunts Daniel, things turn violent, and in the morning Daniel wakes from his stupor realising he may have committed murder.

Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent

His wife, Alex ( Dervla Kirwan), is sick of Daniel, his son is scared of him, he is disgusted with himself.

‘Show me a way out of this hell,’ he says, as his life takes a twist when he recklessly stops a bullet for a young man campaigning against gang violence. Director Tom Green again pays homage to the Master of Suspense by shadowing the famous assassination scene amid an array of umbrellas from Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent.

Dervla Kirwan is Alex

Bullet-stopping Daniel Demoys
Suddenly, Daniel has a heroic profile and is encouraged to run for mayor, to turn his life round and reignite his youthful dreams of making a difference to society. Will he make amends for the damage he has caused, or will his past catch up and destroy him?

Blackout is a sharp and compelling psychological thriller, with a first-class cast, including the electric Andrew Scott (Moriarty in Sherlock) as a slightly unhinged cop and menacing ex of Sylvie’s, Lyndsey Marshal as Daniel’s sister, and Ewen Bremner as his election agent. That’s in addition to a star turn from Christopher Eccleston as the sweaty, red-eyed, dishevelled Daniel.

Cast: Christopher Eccleston Daniel Demoys, Dervla Kirwan Alex Demoys, Ewen Bremner Jerry Durrans, MyAnna Buring Sylvie, Branka Katic Donna, Andrew Scott Dalien Bevan, David Hayman Henry Pulis, Rebecca Callard Ruth Pulis, Lyndsey Marshal Lucy Demoys, Olivia Cooke Meg Demoys,  Danny Sapani Detective Griffin

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