New DVDs – Endeavour, Rectify

Endeavour 1-3 DVD 3DEndeavour

ITV’s stylish and intelligent Morse prequel is released on bulk – that includes the latest third series just finished on UK TV, along with the preceding two series as a box set. Shaun Evans as DC Endeavour Morse and Roger Allam as DI Fred Thursday make a good team, the writing is strong and the period detail terrific in all of these sophisticated mysteries. The stakes were certainly high in the most recent outing, when Endeavour had to move on from being framed for a crime he didn’t commit. The setting is the 1967 Summer of Love…

Endeavour Series 3 – Discs: 2,
Cert: 12 – £12.99: Amazon

Endeavour Series 1-3 -Discs: 7
Cert: 12 – £29.99: Amazon

Rectify S2 DVD 3DRectify

The continuing struggle of Daniel Holden (Aden Young) to rebuild his life after having his conviction overturned for the rape and murder of his girlfriend has been a quiet hit. While it hasn’t created a huge stir among viewers yet, the critics have the praised both series of this Southern Gothic legal drama. All agree the first series was riveting, but some claim this second outing is even better as Daniel tries to lay his past to rest.

Rectify Series 2. Discs 3 (10 episodes).
Cert: 15. £14.99: Amazon

ITV3 celebrates its 10th birthday

Happy birthday, ITV3. The channel is 10 years old and is celebrating with a weekend of 10 favourite dramas starting on Saturday 1 November.

They should really have called it ‘ITV Crime’ because it has become the home of ITV’s most popular police dramas. Consequently, the birthday weekend will feature Marple, Endeavour, Inspector Morse, Lewis, A Touch of Frost, Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders.

The channel’s very first show on 1 November 2004 was also a crimer, Inspector Rebus, based on Ian Rankin’s novels and starring John Hannah.

Its most popular show to air during the first decade was an episode of Foyle’s WarThe Hide went out in March 2013 and was watched by 1.8m viewers.

Since 2008 ITV3 has also been the home of the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards, celebrating the very best of British and international crime thriller fiction and drama.

This year’s event takes place this Friday – CrimeTimePreview will be there covering and Tweeting about it – and it will air on ITV3 on 27th October. Hosted by Bradley Walsh, the awards are the culmination of the six-week Crime Thriller Club series on ITV3, a studio-based show focused on crime fiction and television with high-profile guests, quizzes, bluffer’s guides and peeks behind the scenes of popular dramas.

So, congratulations ITV3. Watching you has been bloody murder.

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2012’s ten best crime shows

Here’s CrimeTimePreview‘s rundown of 2012 crime series that held a gun to our head and demanded to be watched. The year saw the usual mix of the good (below), the bad (Silent Witness) and the plodding (Midsomer Murders, Lewis). But there were others that were excellent – Sebastian Bergman, Elementary, Southland, Restless – that couldn’t be fit into this Top 10. Anyone who doesn’t agree with this selection is welcome, of course, to fire away in the comment box below. In the meantime, there are some terrific new series to look forward to in 2013. Happy viewing!

Damian Lewis and Claire Danes

Homeland
Channel 4
The first series is the one I’m talking about here (series two stretched the premise to breaking point). This succeeded as a thriller by depicting interesting, flawed characters in Brodie, the returning war ‘hero’, and Carrie, the damaged CIA operative who was made to look a fool but was right about Brodie all along. Claire Danes was terrific, nearly matched by Damian Lewis, but all the characters’ storylines – with the performances of David Harewood and Mandy Patinkin standing out – made it a drama packed with tension and lives on the edge.

The Bridge
Sofia Helin as Saga Norén, Kim Bodnia as Martin Rohde in The BridgeBBC4
Gave us the most unforgettable character of 2012 in the high-functioning but socially disastrous Saga Norén, played by Sofia Helin. The story began hauntingly with the discovery of a body on the international border on Oresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark. While this was yet another story about an ingenious and implausibly elusive killer (The Killing 3 had the same kind of unbelievably omnipotent evil-doer), it was the story of the Swedish Saga and her irresponsible Danish counterpart Martin Rohde that made this so intriguing and fresh. A second series should appear in late 2013, while the Americans – of course – are doing a version that kicks off on a bridge between Mexico and the US.

Sofie Gråbøl as Sarah Lund in The Killing series 3 BBC4

The Killing 3
BBC4
Farewell, Sarah Lund. You departed in style, if a little hurriedly, but what a way to go. Self-destructive as ever, you managed to take the law into your own hands with some vigilante justice for the evil Reinhardt and destroy your own happiness at the same time. What a woman! Series one remains the best, despite all its irritating red herrings, but The Killing 2 and 3 maintained levels of depth and ambition rarely seen from the Beeb or ITV.

Shaun Evans as Morse in Endeavour ITV1

Endeavour
ITV1
A pilot prequel that fleshed out the Inspector Morse legend intelligently and entertainingly – and had the desired effect of leading to a series commission (watch out for four 120-minute episodes in 2013). Shaun Evans was the young Morse was charismatic and suitably introspective, and the investigation into the disappearance of a teenage girl was powerful, while also offering insights into events that moulded the detective. Roger Allam was excellent as Morse’s boss, Thursday.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in Sherlock 2 BBC1

Sherlock 2
BBC1
Wit, mystery and sumptuous performances – the second series was must-see television, and finished with a mighty cliffhanger as social media went into a flutter about Sherlock’s apparent death plunge in The Reichenbach Fall. The series also gave us The Hounds of Baskerville and A Scandal in Belgravia, featuring a tantalising Lara Pulver as Irene Adler. In a year that saw a good American rehash of the Beeb’s contemporary take on Holmes – Elementary with Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu – Sherlock still easily out-dazzled the upstart.

Walton Goggins, Timothy Olyphant in Justified

Justified 3
5USA
Most UK viewers have not discovered Justified, which is tucked away on 5USA, but it is a hidden gem. Based on stories by the superb Elmore Leonard, the series takes us into Kentucky and the law-enforcement world of trigger-happy deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens, played with panache by Timothy Olyphant. The third series was another corker and gave us a fresh gallery of nasty rogues, including the butcher Limehouse and the sexual sadist Quarles. Leonard ranks this as one of the best adaptations of his books, and that includes Get Shorty, Jackie Brown and Out of Sight. Watch out for series four.

Good Cop
BBC1
Finishing on a rather oblique note – with Sav going into the sea and apparently surrendering to the waves – was a mark of how mature and deeply felt this drama was. It spurned stupid plot twists to zoom in on the human drama, that of the good man who finds himself doing bad things. At first the audience may have cheered him when he turned vigilante, but by the end he had gone off the rails.
A powerful story of a man surrounded by people – ailing dad, female police partner, lover – but emotionally stranded, having ruined his chance of happiness with the mother of his daughter. The acting was brilliant and affecting, the Liverpool setting was fresh and interesting, and the story unforgettable. It should be the making of Warren Brown as a leading man.

Kelly Macdonald and Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire 3

Boardwalk Empire 3
Sky Atlantic
British TV can only dream of making a crime drama on this scale. The cast, the stunning period production and the writing put it in a league of its own. The story of Prohibition-era Atlantic City and its corrupt county treasurer Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) reached 1923, when our antihero was balancing a mistress and wife, and his political and criminal empires. Fictional and real historical figures – Al Capone, Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano – were joined in this series by the new psychotic Sicilian in town, the fictional Gyp Rosetti. The series reached a spectacular gang war climax and was, as it has been from the start, fascinating and unforgettable.

Murder: Joint Enterprise
Channel 4
I’ve included this because it was a fresh drama that explored the messiness of crime and the difficulty of  finding the truth behind it – and here the police fail and the wrong person is convicted. Birger Larsen, the director of The Killing, hauntingly portrayed Nottingham with an outsider’s eye, in a story that blitzed the fallacy of so many cop shows with their neat solutions. Karla Crome and Joe Dempsie were first-rate as the pair caught in a nasty tussle of guilt and accusation.

Accused 2
BBC1
Writer Jimmy McGovern attracts the best actors to his stories of injustice and moral dilemmas. This second series of one-off dramas started boldly with Sean Bean in stilettos as a transvestite whose love for a married man (played by Stephen Graham) ends in horror. Anne-Marie Duff, Olivia Colman, Sheridan Smith, Ewen Bremner and Anna Maxwell Martin all featured in dramas that were unsentimental but full of surprises and sharply depicted characters. Engrossing and thought-provoking.

Pics: BBC, ITV, C4, C5, BSkyB

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Sherlock 2013, more Luther and what about Endeavour?

• It’s no surprise that Sherlock will be back, probably in 2013 owing to the movie commitments of the leads, Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit). The Beeb would surely come under siege if creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss hadn’t promised (via Twitter) to reveal how on earth Sherlock defied death after jumping off that building in ‘The Reichenbach Fall’ last night (provoking furious arguments in my house, at least). The three 90-minute stories have fizzed with humour and ingenuity in updating Holmes, clocking up 8-9million viewers a time, and it would be a crime of Moriarty proportions if the series had been cancelled now.

CrimeTimePreview has been bombarded with thousands of hits since Endeavour went out on ITV1, with all but one of the comments saying it was terrific. Inevitably, viewers have been saying ITV1 must turn it into a series. I’ve asked the channel what’s happening and they say ‘discussions on an editorial and practical level’ have to be thrashed out before a decision is announced. But if Scott & Bailey can be recommissioned, surely the Morse prequel is a shoo-in.
• Meanwhile, ITV1 have announced a five-parter called Mrs Biggs, about the wife of train robber Ronnie Biggs. Ironically, Charmian fell for Ronnie as a teenager travelling on a train. Money worries eventually forced Biggs to ask for a loan from an old friend, who turned out to Bruce Reynolds, at that moment planning one of the most famous crimes in British history – the Great Train Robbery of 1963.
• The BBC has decided to do another series of the rather so-so Death in Paradise and rather edgier Luther. With Idris Elba picking up a Golden Globe last night for his screen-filling performance as the  crazed detective, Luther‘s return was only to be expected.
• But no news on Garrow’s Law! Come on, BBC. The show doesn’t deserve m’lud’s noose just yet.

Endeavour with Shaun Evans PREVIEW

Shaun Evans as Endeavour Morse. Pics: ITV

Rating ★★★★½

ITV1, Monday, 2 January, 9pm

Story: 1965. A schoolgirl is missing in Oxford. A young detective constable is drafted in from the anonymous Midlands new town where he is stationed to help with the investigation because he knows the Oxford area. It is a case that will shape Endeavour Morse’s life and career.

He only ever used to be known as Morse, the detective finally revealing his christian name after Inspector Morse had been on air for 10 years in 1997. Now as everyone knows, Morse was named after Captain Cook’s ship HMS Endeavour and the moniker can be plastered all over this impressive two-hour prequel.

John Thaw

The much-loved original, which ran for 33 episodes from 1987-2000, starred John Thaw as Morse and Kevin Whately as his sidekick, Lewis, setting the standard for UK police procedurals. Thaw died relatively young at 60 in 2002, and while Lewis, of course, is still with us, the temptation to resurrect Morse somehow was too good to let slip away.

Shaun Evans and Roger Allam
This much anticipated new mystery is a scandal on a suitably large scale, involving bent cops, murder and a corrupt government minister. The cast – including Shaun Evans as Morse and Roger Allam as his boss/mentor DI Fred Thursday – are actors who bring depth to the lead roles, and the period setting is understated. And for Morse fans, the hero’s background is fleshed out well.

The young Endeavour is called on to assist in an investigation into the disappearance of 15-year-old schoolgirl because he is familiar with Oxford, where he did Greats but didn’t finish his degree. DS Arthur Lott makes it clear to Morse and his fellow draftees that they are there to ‘take up the slack’, do the grunt work, and leave the detecting to him and Thursday.

Morse and Thursday

But Morse immediately stands out as a serious-minded detective with a questioning nature – which sets him at odds with Lott. It is Morse who works out that the missing teenager had a lover who was communicating with her through crosswords in the local paper. ‘Codswallop,’ says Lott, but Morse is proved right.

Colin Dexter

Abigail Thaw

Fans will appreciated the crossword touch, which would also appeal to the creator of Morse and crossword lover Colin Dexter, now 81, who makes a Hitchcockian cameo in a pub garden. The drama is actually written by Russell Lewis, who has done a good job of embellishing the Morse story.

We learn how Morse got his taste for beer, classical music and the famous maroon Jag. Shaun Evans captures much of the character’s melancholia, particularly when the case blows up in his face and he develops an infatuation for the opera singer wife of a suspect.

John Thaw’s daughter Abigail
The production has so much of the original’s DNA in its make-up that several of the behind-camera crew had also worked on Inspector Morse, and there is even a role for John Thaw’s daughter, Abigail, who plays an employee of the local paper.

Scandalous parties and cover-ups

What begins as a missing person inquiry snowballs into a murder, a suicide and a scandal in which high-level politicians and policemen are attending sex parties with under-age girls. The story has a lot more grit to it than many of the originals or Lewis, and less of the chocolate-box obsession with Oxford spires and quadrangles.

Charlie Creed-Miles is the nasty spiv
Roger Allam is warmly authoritative as Thursday, the ex-soldier and solid copper who is willing to bend the rules to slap down spivs such as Teddy Samuels (Charlie Creed-Miles) and dodgy cops such as Arthur Lott.

It’s a sharp and inspiring tribute to Morse on the 25th anniversary of its very first episode. Surely, a series will follow.

Cast: Shaun Evans Endeavour, Roger Allam DI Fred Thursday, Flora Montgomery Rosalind Stromming, Harry Kershaw Miles Percival, Charlie Creed-Miles Teddy Samuels, Danny Webb DS Arthur Lott, Jack Ashton DC Ian McLeash, Richard Lintern Dr Rowan Stromming, Patrick Malahide Richard Lovell, John Light Dempsey, Abigail Thaw Dorothea Frazil, Michael Matus Brian St Clair, Emma Stansfield Sharon Vellie, James Bradshaw Dr Max De Bryn, Terence Harvey DCS Crisp

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New TV crime dramas 2012

Sherlock returns to BBC1 on Sunday, 1 January, 8.10pm

The New Year should be quite a crime spree, with the return of popular series and some great-looking new dramas and thrillers. Here’s a rundown of 40 new series coming to UK television in 2012…
Pics: BBC, ITV

1 Sherlock, BBC1, Sunday, 1 January, 8.10pm
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Rupert Graves, Una Stubbs
Three new adventures from co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss of this Holmes contemporary reboot to kick off 2012. These are A Scandal in Belgravia, The Hounds of Baskerville and The Reichenbach Fall (note the slight alteration in the titles from the originals). The first series, oddly tucked away during the July silly season last year, was a tremendous hit, winning the prestigious American Peabody Award for Entertainment and a Bafta craft award, the CWA Crime Thriller awards for best actor and US Satellite Award for Best Miniseries, among others. It’s been a long wait for Sherlock‘s return. Anticipation factor: ★★★★★

2 Hit and Miss, Sky Atlantic
Chloe Sevigny, Peter Wight, Jonas Armstrong
This is one of the most interesting looking crime dramas for 2012. Chloe Sevigny plays Mia, a contract killer with a secret – she’s a transgender woman. Eddie, Mia’s handler and a well-known name in the criminal underworld, will be played by Peter Wight. Eddie took Mia under his wing and trained her into a first class assassin using his Chinese restaurant as a front for his illegal affairs. Mia’s life is sent into a tailspin when she receives a letter from her ex, Wendy, who reveals that she’s dying from cancer and that Mia has fathered a son, 11-year-old Ryan… Exploring themes of family, sexual identity and killing, Hit and Miss is created by Paul Abbott (Shameless, State of Play). Anticipation factor: ★★★★★

3 Nemesis, BBC1
Melissa George, Adam Rayner
In a joint production with HBO, Kudos – makers of the now decommissioned Spooks – are producing this international espionage series. Nemesis is an eight-parter starring Grey’s Anatomy and Alias actress Melissa George with Adam Rayner (Mistresses). It is written by The X Files and Strike Back writer /producer Frank Spotnitz. This will go out at the end of 2012. Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

4 Inside Men, BBC1
Steven Mackintosh, Ashley Walters, Warren Brown
Three employees of a security depot  plan and execute a multi-million pound cash heist. This new four-part drama serial is written by written by Tony Basgallop (Worried About the Boy, Hughie Green, Most Sincerely) and stars Steven Mackintosh (Camelot, Luther) as John, manager of the cash counting house and entrenched in a humdrum normality. Joining him in the robbery is depot security guard Chris, played by Ashley Walters (Outcasts, Five Days), and forklift driver Marcus, played by Warren Brown (Luther, Single Father). They are not seasoned criminals. Our protagonists are honest, hard-working men who see an opportunity, weigh up the risks, and take a leap. Inside Men is a study of how men behave when they step out of their comfort zones, and focuses on what it takes to cross that moral line, what it means for our characters to risk their freedom, and the resulting fallout on their individual consciences. Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

 5 Endeavour ITV1, Monday, 2 January, 9pm
Shaun Evans
Inspector Morse returns as a young man, with Shaun Evans (left) taking on the role made famous by John Thaw. In this one-off film, fans of Colin Dexter’s much-loved detective will get a glimpse into the origins of the man famed for his love of crosswords, classical music and real ale. Set in 1965, Morse is here involved in an investigation for a missing girl. Sidelined and discredited, he risks everything in launching his own search for justice. Evans commented, ‘Morse as a young man is a wonderful character that I’m very excited to be play. My hope is that we can compliment what’s come before, by telling a great story, and telling it well.’ Endeavour will mark the 25th anniversary of Inspector Morse‘s first broadcast, shown in 1987. Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

6 A Touch of Cloth, Sky1
John Hannah, Suranne Jones, Julian Rhind-Tutt
If the title hasn’t already given you a clue, this is a massive mickey-take of every police procedural ever written (what would you expect – it is adapted by Charlie Brooker from a story by Boris Starling). John Hannah, who once played Rebus for ITV, here takes on another heavy-drinking maverick, DCI Jack Cloth. His wife is mysteriously murdered and the damaged, haunted detective throws himself into his work, partnered with plucky no-nonsense DC Anne Oldman (Suranne Jones, having a light-hearted break from Scott & Bailey). Their boss, ACC Tom Boss, played by Julian Rhind-Tutt (Green Wing, The Hour) repeatedly demands results, fast. No, faster than that. Faster! Charlie Brooker says, ‘After you’ve seen A Touch of Cloth you’ll never be able to watch another detective show again. Not because it’s a devastating pisstake, but because you’ll have smashed your TV to pieces in a disappointed fury.’ Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

7 The Scapegoat, ITV1
Matthew Rhys, Eileen Atkins, Sheridan Smith, Jodhi May, Andrew Scott, Anton Lesser, Sylvie Testud
Daphne du Maurier’s dark story of switched identities could be a real treat. Set in 1952 as England prepares for the Coronation, John Standing and Johnny Spence (both played by Matthew Rhys, who stars in the US series Brothers and Sisters) meet in a station bar. Two very different men who share one thing – their appearance. Charismatic Johnny wines and dines his new acquaintance, but when John wakes the next morning with a hangover he is alone and a chauffeur is standing outside his room, waiting to take him ‘home’. Despite his protests he finds himself sucked irresistibly into another man’s life. Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

8 Line of Duty, BBC2
Vicky McClure, Martin Compston, Lennie James, Gina McKee, Neil Morrissey
In this cat-and-mouse thriller about modern policing, This Is England‘s Vicky McClure is a detective constable who, with detective sergeant Steve Arnott (Compston) are part of an anti-corruption unit investigating a popular and successful officer, detective chief inspector Tony Gates (James). While Gates cleverly manipulates his unit’s figures, DS Arnott questions whether Gates is being made a scapegoat for a culture of institutionalised spin, or is guilty of darker corruption? Writer Jed Mercurio says, ‘I’m hugely excited by the opportunity to set a drama in the controversial realities of 21st century policing. Line Of Duty is a commentary on the perverse bureaucracy that hamstrings frontline officers, but first and foremost it’s a thriller. Lennie James is electric as DCI Tony Gates, a complex and elusive anti-hero, and a formidable antagonist for two of the most exciting young talents in British TV – Martin Compston and Vicky McClure.’ Anticipation factor: ★★★★½


9 Public Enemies BBC1, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 3-5 January, 9pm
Anna Friel, Daniel Mays
Three-part drama from the award-winning writer Tony Marchant (co-creator of Garrow’s Law) about 28-year-old Eddie, who is released from prison on licence after serving 10 years for murder, and his probation officer, Paula. Returning from recent suspension herself, Paula has to help Eddie, who claims he is innocent, to reintegrate into the community. When Eddie wants to fight what he says was a miscarriage of justice, will Paula risk everything to help him? Anticipation factor: ★★★★

10 The Spies of Warsaw, BBC4
Rainy, cobbled streets of Prague, Berlin and Warsaw, espionage and romance – all should feature in BBC4’s adaptation of Alan Furst’s acclaimed novels in two 90-minute films. The characters of his best-selling spy novels include faded nobility, b-movie filmmakers, newspapermen, ship’s captains and compromised businessmen as well as waiters, shopkeepers, jaded intellectuals, tarnished grand dames, and boozy British secret agents. Somehow, they are all connected to an underground army that seeks to fight against the Nazi occupiers. Anticipation factor: ★★★★


11 The Fuse, BBC1
Christopher Eccleston, Dervla Kirwan, Ewen Bremner, Andrew Scott, Lyndsey Marshal
Daniel Demoys (Eccleston) has gone from being an idealistic young man with a desire to make the world a better place, to a disillusioned and corrupt council official. His alcoholism has driven a wedge between him and wife, Alex (Kirwan), and their three children. When Daniel wakes up after another drunken night, he realises he might be responsible for a murder. A dramatic act of redemption buys him public adoration, so much so that he has become a candidate in the race for Mayor, persuaded by council official Jerry Durrans (Bremner), and lawyer sister Lucy (Marshal). Can he repair the damage he’s done to his private life, or will events – and detective Dalien Bevan (Scott) – bring his life crashing down? Christopher Eccleston says, ‘Bill Gallagher has written a fantastic four-episode drama about obsession, addiction and redemption. I’m very excited about the role of Daniel Demoys.’ Anticipation factor: ★★★★

12 Ripper Street BBC1
An intriguing premise – a drama set in London’s East End in 1889, the year after Jack the Ripper stalked its streets. The focus of the drama is the notorious police division H – the precinct from hell – which tries to maintain order in the chaotic streets of Whitechapel. The eight-part series is created by writer Richard Walow (Mistresses, Waking the Dead). Anticipation factor: ★★★★

13 Savage, BBC1
Warren Brown, Stephen Graham, Michael Angelis, Aisling Loftus, Mark Womack, Christine Tremarco
A young, honest Liverpool beat cop, played by Warren Brown, witnesses the brutal murder of his closest friend and is torn between his desire to protect his family, his duty and an intoxicating instinct for revenge. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

14 May Day, BBC1
When a young girl goes missing, feared dead, the community in which she lives looks to one another for answers. Four of the girl’s neighbours fear someone within their family may be involved. A sophisticated thriller about suspecting those closest to you of committing an appalling crime. This five-parter is written by Ben Court and Caroline Ip, creators of ITV’s Whitechapel. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

15 The Mystery of Edwin Drood, BBC2
Matthew Rhys, Tamzin Merchant, Freddie Fox
The mystery is solved at last. The Beeb has taken the liberty of finishing Charles Dickens’ mystery as part of the bicentenary of his birth, handing the assignment to writer Gwyneth Hughes. This is Dickens’ psychological thriller about a provincial choirmaster’s obsession with 17-year-old Rosa Bud (Tamzin Merchant) and the lengths he will go to to attain her. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

16 The Bridge, BBC4 
One of two new Scandinavian crime series that BBC4 snaffled up after unexpectedly striking gold with The Killing in 2011 (the other is Sebastian Bergman, below). The Bridge, a 10-part investigative crime drama, begins when the body of a woman is found in the middle of the Oresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark. A bi-national team is put together to solve the crime and the killer, always one step ahead of the police, becomes the object of a dramatic manhunt. A Danish/Swedish co-production. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

17 Sebastian Bergman BBC4
Rolf Lassgård
This police thriller stars Rolf Lassgård, one of Scandinavia’s most popular actors (Wallander, Beck), in a powerful new role as profiler Sebastian Bergman. Strong-headed, politically incorrect, abrasive and grief-stricken, Bergman has still not come to terms with the loss of both his wife and daughter in the 2004 Thailand tsunami. In the first of two 90-minute thrillers, he helps police in his hometown solve the murder of a 15-year-old boy. In the second, he attempts to catch a serial killer who seems to be modelling his attacks on those of a jailed killer whom Bergman put behind bars himself. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

18 Accused, BBC1
Anne-Marie Duff, Olivia Colman, Robert Sheehan, Sheridan Smith, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
The second series of Jimmy McGovern’s drama returns with four more episodes about people dealing with crises in their lives – gun crime on an estate in the opening story. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

19 Law & Order: UK series six, ITV1, Friday, 6 January, 9pm
Paul Nicholls, Bradley Walsh, Freema Agyeman, Harriet Walter, Peter Davison, Dominic Rowan
Nicholls, playing DS Sam Casey, joins the investigation into the previous season’s cliffhanger – the shooting of Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber). Guest stars joining the cast for series six include Tamzin Outhwaite, Toby Stephens, Eva Pope, Luke Roberts and Tim McInnerny. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

20 Homeland, Channel 4
Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, David Harewood
Contemporary US thriller series. An American soldier (Lewis) is left for dead during the Iraq invasion of 2003. However, after years in captivity, the solider returns home a hero. CIA officer Carrie Anderson (Danes) smells a rat and thinks that the national hero may be a double agent working for Al Qaeda. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

21 Top Boy, C4
Writer Ronan Bennett’s acclaimed four-parter about gang life on a Hackney estate has been recommissioned. C4’s chief creative office Jay Hunt says, ‘For me, Top Boy encapsulates everything that our drama is about – hugely original, passionate, with a brilliant roster of new talent. I’m thrilled that we’ll be seeing more.’ Anticipation factor: ★★★★

22 Mad Dogs series 2, Sky1
John Simm, Marc Warren, Max Beesley, Philip Glenister
The amateur criminals caught up in dirty shenanigans out in Majorca return. The story picks up where series one ended with Woody, Baxter and Rick driving away from the villa as Quinn has chosen to stay and make a new life in Majorca. In the opening scenes viewers will see Woody, Baxter and Rick have a change of heart and turn back – and from there it just gets crazier. Terrific cast, and series one had menace and bags of humour. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

23 Falcón, Sky Atlantic
A four-episode drama, based on Robert Wilson’s bestselling Javier Falcón novels. The series centres on Falcón, a Chief Inspector in the Seville police, a complex and layered character, with a psychological depth that mirrors the darkness around him in Seville. An innately sexual and charismatic character, Falcón is forceful and focused, happy to ignore the distinction between the law and criminals… Anticipation factor: ★★★★

24 Dirk Gently series two, BBC4
Douglas Adams’ holistic detective, played by Stephen Mangan in series one, returns in three more stories. The chaotic and infuriating sleuth, who solves crimes according to the interconnectedness of all things, was funny and proved a quiet success for BBC4. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

25 Restless, BBC1
Adaptation of William Boyd’s award-winning book about a young woman who discovers her mother was a British spy in the Second World War, specialising in espionage in America. Anticipation factor: ★★★½

26 Kidnap and Ransom series 2, ITV1
Trevor Eve, Helen Baxendale, Sharon Small, Madhur Mittal, Sean Gilder, Chris Fairbank
Eve (right) returns as hostage negotiator Dominic King, who is in Kashmir in this three-parter, trying to secure the release of the Mehtas, a British Asian family taken while on holiday visiting their son. As the handover is completed, the police arrive and a shootout ensues… Anticipation factor: ★★★

27 Scott & Bailey series 2, ITV1
Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp
The first series got mixed reviews, but Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp are liked by many viewers and the drama obviously clicked with enoughof them  for ITV to commission eight new episodes. The show will once again explore the personal and professional lives of DC Janet Scott (Sharp) and DC Rachel Bailey (Jones), both members of Syndicate 9, a Major Incident Team within the Manchester Met Police, who are tasked with tracking down killers. Anticipation factor: ★★★

28 Case Sensitive series 2, ITV1
Olivia Williams, Darren Boyd
A two-part story based on author Sophie Hannah’s novel The Other Half. The first series averaged 6million viewers. Anticipation factor: ★★★

29 Vera series 2, ITV1
Brenda Blethyn
Author Ann Cleeves’ unlikely copper, detective chief inspector Vera Stanhope, is back for another four 120-minute investigations, the first being The Ghost Position. The second will be Sandancers, and the third Silent Voices, adapted from Cleeves’ latest novel. The fourth was untitled at the time of the ITV announcement for series two. Anticipation factor: ★★★

30 New Tricks, BBC1
Alun Armstrong, James Bolam, Dennis Waterman and Amanda Redman
Neither the retired detectives or the actors are past it, if the UK audiences of nearly 10million during the last series tell the truth. So the Beeb has ordered another two lots for 2012 and 2013 of what could become the crime genre’s Last of the Summer Wine. The eccentric, rule-bending cold case cops, however, are played by a much-loved cast who have notched up several great performances in terrific series down the years. It may not do anything exciting with the crime format, but it is adored by a mainstream audience and sells by the truckload to international audiences. Anticipation factor: ★★★

31 Hustle BBC1, Friday, 6 January, 9pm
Adrian Lester, Robert Vaughn, Robert Glenister, Matt Di Angelo, Kelly Adams
What looks like being the last series – certainly with this cast and for the foreseeable future – of the con-team series returns in the first week of the New Year. In the opener,  Mickey Bricks (Lester) and the gang take on a gold dealer, Dexter Gold (Paterson Joseph). Anticipation factor: ★★★

32 Whitechapel series 3, ITV1
Rupert Penry-Jones, Phil Davis, Steve Pemberton
Having dealt with the legends of Jack the Ripper and the Krays, detective inspector Chandler (Penry-Jones) returns to be haunted by more ghosts of East End crimes – murder, body-snatching, poisoning and grisly discoveries await. Anticipation factor: ★★★

33 Above Suspicion: Silent Scream ITV1
Kelly Reilly, Ciaran Hinds, Shaun Dingwall, Michelle Holmes, Celyn Jones, Ray Fearon, Joanna Vanderham
The fourth and latest Above Suspicion three-parter with Kelly Reilly as DI Anna Travis arrives in January with this mystery about a murdered British film star. Travis is shocked to discover that behind all the fame and glamour, the victim was lonely, damaged and afraid. Anticipation factor: ★★★½

34-36 Miss Marple ITV1
Julia McKenzie
Caribbean Mystery, Endless Night and The Seven Dials Mystery are three Marple stories slated for filming in 2012. Caribbean Mystery finds Miss Marple far from St Mary Mead, staying in a luxurious hotel in the tropics.  Fellow guest Major Palgrave dies shortly in suspicious circumstances and Miss Marple must find his killer… ‘It’s a huge privilege for me to play Miss Marple,’ says the actress.  ‘After such a successful career, I was content to play guest roles, but then Marple came along.  How could I not play her? I love her shrewd intelligence, and yet she has a warmth and a sweetness that is so disarming. I find it stimulating watching how her insights into human nature can unlock big complex mysteries.’ Anticipation factor: ★★★

37-40 Poirot, ITV1
David Suchet
David Suchet is returning in 2012 to complete the cycle of Poirot stories written by Agatha Christie, filming the remaining mysteries not yet made by ITV – Labours of Hercules, Dead Man’s Folly, The Big Four, Elephants Can Remember and Curtain. The actor has often said he would like to finish the Poirot canon, having now worn the spats and mustache for 22 years during 65 films. Curtain is the Belgian sleuth’s last case, in which the arthritic Poirot calls on his friend Captain Hastings for assistance as they return to the scene of the first case, Styles Court, to prevent another killing. Anticipation factor: ★★★

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