Babylon, C4, James Nesbitt, Brit Marling PREVIEW


Rating: ★★★½

Channel 4: starts Thursday, 13 November, 10pm

Story: Director of Communications Liz Garvey begins in earnest the job of trying to drag the police into the new media age. Meanwhile, it’s the job of Commissioner Richard Miller, Deputy Commissioner Charles Inglis and Assistant Commissioner Sharon Franklin to keep the force ticking over. 

FOLLOWING its well-received pilot episode back in February, Babylon is back on the beat for a six-part run of law and disorder.

It’s firmly in the realm of the Beeb’s nice little dig at the London Olympics in Twenty Twelve, poking fun at modern marketing speak and corporate arse-covering, rather than being a biting satire about the Metropolitan Police.

Let’s face it, the Met, with its rap sheet of controversies over Stephen Lawrence, the undercover surveillance, Hackgate and the rest, is hardly a laughing matter.

Brit Marling as Liz

So, Babylon – exec-produced by Danny Boyle – has fun with the media and management side of the

force, starting with American media guru Liz Garvey (Brit Marling) and the floundering honchos Commissioner Miller (James Nesbitt, a long way from Missing here), his deputy, Inglis (Paterson Joseph), and assistant Franklin (Nicola Walker).

And here is one of the strengths of the show – the cast are fun to watch, particularly Nicola Walker as the eye-rolling assistant commissioner, dealing with incompetence from above, below and from the private sector.

The opening episode sees her officers called in to help the private security firm running a young offenders institution when violence breaks out. Meanwhile, Paterson Joseph’s deputy commissioner is busy trying to work out whether to tell the world the incident is a disturbance, a severe disturbance or a riot.

Video of Warwick shooting an unarmed assailant 

Writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong delight in showing us this world in which police high-flyers

are more concerned with appearances than getting things done.

Brit Marling is also a great spanner in the works as Liz, trying to get her boss Commissioner Miller to be a little less passive-aggressive in his dealings with the media, while also boring her female colleagues stupid in the wine bar after work by banging on about the Met’s ‘brand’.

The lower ranks also have to deal with her new ideas. Armed response office Warwick’s nerves are shredded when she releases footage of him shooting an unarmed assailant in a show of openness from the Met – the public think we’re all ‘trigger-happy meatheads’.

Er, no comment.

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A Touch of Cloth 3, Sky1, John Hannah, Suranne Jones, Karen Gillan PREVIEW

A Touch of Cloth Season 3..(L-R) DC QURESHI (NAVIN CHOWDHRY) DR SACHET(DAISY BEAUMONT)DC HAIRIHAN(ADRIAN BOWER) DI CLOTH (JOHN HANNAH) DC OLDMAN (SURANNE JONES) KERRY (KAREN GILLAN)
Guilty party – Cloth and the gang. Pics: Sky1

Rating: ★★★½

Sky1: starts Saturday, 9 August, 9pm

Story: It took DCI Jack Cloth a while to come to terms with his wife’s murder – he barely remembers her name these days – and now he’s hit with the news that his brother, Terry, has been killed.

A TOUCH OF CLOTH has everything you could want from a gritty crime drama – tortured maverick cop, gruesome forensics, twisting plot. And a town called Funtcuck.

Charlie Brooker’s criminally stupid piss-take returns to truncheon the genre into submission again with ridiculous cases, silly gags and wickedly straight performances.

Subtle and suave it ain’t – more a shotgun blast of every cop procedural cliche and suspect gag the writers could round up.

Too Cloth for Comfort

A Touch of Cloth Season 3.BEHIND THE SCENES WITH DI JACK CLOTH (JOHN HANNAH) AND KERRY NEWBLOOD (KAREN GILLAN)
Cloth finds his long lost brother

Many jokes escape without detection, but a lot are guilty of inducing a spluttered chortle – and then making you feel guilty that you could be so puerile.

Crime shows are this site’s bread and butter, of course, but even we think there are an awful lot of rubbish cop series around. You know the ones – grumpy detective with a sidekick, silly tracking shots, wild deductions that solve the crime, forensic nonsense, ham-fisted plot recaps.

All these get worked over in this two-parter, Too Cloth for Comfort, along with some other well-deserving targets (Piers Morgan in particular).

Karen Gillan as Kerry Newblood

John Hannah and Suranne Jones as DCI John Cloth and DI Anne Oldman (pronounced Old-Man, of course) both do a fine job of snitching on the conventions of the straight cop beats they’ve worked in recent years. Hannah was seen recently in ITV’s The Widower and Rebus before that, and Jones will soon be back in the excellent Scott & Bailey.

Doctor Who‘s ex Karen Gillan joins the carry-on as new recruit Kerry Newblood (see what I mean about unsubtle).

‘Welcome to the rest of your life, welcome to hell,’ the hardbitten Cloth tells her.

And Adrian Dunbar – a refugee from another cop series, Line of Duty – also turns up as a suspect.

Danes and pathology

A Touch of Cloth Season 3..DC OLMAN (SURANNE JONES) AND KERRY (KARNE GILLAN)
Oldman (Suranne Jones) and Newblood (Karen Gillan)

The plot? Cloth’s brother is found murdered in a forest. But that’s just an excuse for lines such as, ‘He was the best lover I ever had – until it went pair-shaped.’ Or some very sharp scenes in a country pub in Funtcuck and the pathologist’s mortuary.

The crime genre badly needs cleaning up, and it’s good to Jack Cloth and his squad of cliche-busters are back on the scene.

Cast: John Hannah DCI Jack Cloth, Suranne Jones DI Anne Oldman, Julian Rhind-Tutt ACC Tom Boss, Navin Chowdhry DC Asap Qureshi, Adrian Bower DC Des Hairihan, Daisy Beaumont Dr Natasha Sachet, Karen Gillan Kerry Newblood, Adrian Dunbar Damien Vull

Check out this link…
A Touch of Cloth on Facebook
A Touch of Cloth on Sky1

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine, E4, with Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Stephanie Beatriz PREVIEW

Law unto themselves – the Brooklyn Nine-Nine squad. Pics: C4

Rating: ★★★½

Starts C4, Friday, 17 January, 11.5pm (E4: Thursdays, 9pm)

Story: Jake Peralta is a talented but carefree detective at Brooklyn’s 99th Precinct. He and his eclectic group of colleagues. Their cushy time at work is about to end with the arrival of new hard-ass Captain Ray Holt, a man with a lot to prove.

THE ROLL-CALL of comedy cop shows is a long and honourable one. Stretching back to Car 54, Where Are You? in the 60s, Barney Miller in the 70s and onto The Thin Blue Line in the 90s and most recently A Touch of Cloth and Vexed, law and disorder has a long service record.

Now comes this sharp half hour in the company of Brooklyn’s finest, made by Fox, with Andy

Jake proves that he’s wearing a tie

Samberg as Detective Jake Peralta and his oddball colleagues adjusting to life with a new captain, Ray Holt, played in brilliant deadpan style by Andre Braugher.

It has taken the new captain a long time to get his own command because he is openly gay. Having got it, he doesn’t want his team to goof things up. Everyone must now wear a tie and be super-efficient.

Fearsome Detective Diaz

The opening half hour pitches a nice selection of nutty individuals to the audience. There is Detective Sergeant Terry Jeffords, who used to be overweight and called Terry Titties. He calls his daughters Cagney and Lacey.

Childish Jake Peralta is in a childish competition with earnest Detective Amy Santiago to see who can clock up the most arrests. And Detective Boyle hopes to date the fearsome Detective Diaz.

But he’s warned by the office admin gal Gina, ‘She’s got a type. It’s pretty much anyone but you.’

Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher

To which Boyle replies, ‘Yeah, that was my wife’s type too.’

Andre Braugher is excellent as Capt Holt

There are a lot of gags flying by in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and most raise a smile. What makes it work is having Braugher – who was brilliant in the excellent and very serious Homicide: Life on the Street in the 90s – as the straight guy, so to speak, dishing out the baleful looks.

Cast: Andy Samberg Detective Jake Peralta, Andre Braugher Captain Ray Holt, Stephanie Beatriz Detective Rosa Diaz, Terry Crews Detective Sergeant Terence ‘Terry’ Jeffords, Melissa Fumero Detective Amy Santiago, Joe Lo Truglio Detective Charles Boyle, Chelsea Peretti Administrator Gina Linetti

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