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…]

Paranoid, trailer for ITV’s new thriller

Paranoid is coming to ITV this autumn.

It’s the story of a female GP who is murdered in a children’s playground with an abundance of eyewitnesses. Detectives embark on what seems to be a straightforward investigation. But as they delve into the case they are drawn into the twists of a mystery, taking them unexpectedly across Europe.

Cast includes Indira Varma, Robert Glenister, Lesley Sharp, Dino Fetscher, Neil Stuke, Polly Walker and John Duttine.

What Remains, BBC1, with David Threlfall, Russell Tovey, David Bamber, Indira Varma PREVIEW

David Threlfall as detective Len Harper in BBC1's What Remains
David Threlfall as detective Len Harper. Pics: BBC

Rating: ★★★★

BBC1: transmission time to be announced

Story: When a new couple, Michael and his heavily pregnant partner Vidya, move into flat 4 of number 8 Coulthard Street, a leak in the loft causes them to discover the remains of Melissa Young hidden in the eaves. She has not been seen for over two years. No one has raised an alarm or even noticed that she was gone.

SHAMELESS WAS A blindingly good drama from C4, but the end of its decade-long run means we should start to see more of David Threlfall in new roles.

He’s a tad more coherent than Frank Gallagher in What Remains, as you would hope for a detective inspector investigating the mystery of a woman’s remains found in the loft of a house with several tenants/families living there.

Having said that, his character Len Harper is unshaven, grey-haired, shambling and scruffily dressed. On the other hand, he is about to retire so obviously doesn’t have to worry about making an impression.

David Threlfall’s detective is deeply affected by the lonely death

Not that he is demob happy. He is a widower, childless and clearly affected by the last call-out he has to attend.

Melissa Young’s mummified remains are found in the loft, two years after the other tenants thought she moved out. In fact, they’re all a bit unclear about what happened to Melissa, though Joe on the ground floor hasn’t missed her. ‘I didn’t like the girl,’ he tells Harper. ‘I think everyone would agree the house is greatly improved by her absence.’

Harper suggest Joe’s comments are harsh, but he is disturbed by this all too common modern occurrence – the person whose life has meant so little to those around them that no one notices their death or disappearance.

What Remains is much more than a whodunit

What Remains is a tender, compelling four-parter. At first sight it appears to be yet another formulaic police procedural – dead body, cops turn up, ask questions – but it is more three-dimensional than your average cop show. It’s about people living together, the dynamics of the neighbourly relationships, and Harper’s humanity in wanting to see that Melissa gets more consideration in death than she did when alive.

Threlfall is marvellous as the detective coming to the end of a decent, average career, having his low-key leaving booze-up, visiting a former colleague in hospital. He can’t let go of the Melissa Young case, however, perhaps dreading his own lonely years ahead, and he keeps returning to Coulthard Street.

‘Who was she?’ asks the colleague and lover of Keiron, Steven Mackintosh’s character.

‘No one,’ he replies.

Russell Tovey is Michael in BBC1's What Remains
Russell Tovey as Michael

Russell Tovey, David Bamber, Amber Rose Revah

And who are the tenants who lived in the same house with Melissa? Uptight Joe on the ground floor (a terrific David Bamber), an unhappy lesbian couple, Keiron and his teenage son, and the new faces who discovered the body – Michael (Russell Tovey) and Vidya (Amber Rose Revah).

Writer Tony Basgallop (who also wrote last year’s Inside Men) has created a thought-provoking whodunit, brought to life by a top-class ensemble cast.

Cast: David Threlfall Len Harper, Denise Gough Liz Fletcher, Lisa Millett DCI Alice Yapp, Alexander Arnold Adam, David Bamber Joe, Claudie Blakley Keiron’s colleague/lover, Jessica Gunning Melissa Young, Victoria Hamilton Peggy, Steven Mackintosh Kieron, Amber Rose Revah Vidya, Russell Tovey Michael, Indira Varma Elaine, Lee Nicholas Harris Station Desk Sergeant, Terence Beesley DCI Burrows

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Hunted starring Melissa George PREVIEW

Sam Hunter takes aim
Melissa George as Sam Hunter in Hunted. Pics: BBC

Rating: ★★★★

BBC1: Part 1/8 starts Thursday, 4 October, 9pm
Story: Sam Hunter, an operative for the elite private intelligence and security firm Byzantium, is finishing a mission in Tangier when an attempt on her life leaves her critically injured. Not knowing who tried to kill her, she disappears to a remote location to recover, regroup and retrain.

Hunted is filling the spy slot left on BBC1 by Spooks. And the Beeb has chucked a lot at this to make it work, including writer Frank The X Files Spotnitz, lavish production and a pulsating narrative. Up against the wheezing Spooks, Hunted gets off to a slick and pretty gripping start.

The heat is on – Sam fights back

The action kicks off in Tangier with Sam Hunter sleeping with the enemy. This prologue is hectic and has more twists than a whole season of Spooks, with an intricate operation unfolding that involves double-crosses, springing a tortured doctor from captivity, a staged assassination, gun fights and punch-ups.

Happily, the action settles after Sam, played by Melissa George, is shot when she is set up at a remote cafe. Was it her lover, fellow operative Aidan Marsh, who betrayed her, or another colleague?

Scott Handy as the Blank-faced Man
She goes into hiding for a year to recover at her family’s former home in remote Scotland, and we learn about a violent moment in her past, which offers an insight into her odd habit of sleeping curled up in the corner of a room (that’s how she cowered during her terrifying night in childhood).

Patrick Malahide as Turner

The intrigue gathers pace when Sam stuns her boss and colleagues at private spy firm Byzantium by turning up for work, intending to uncover the person who betrayed her. Her first assignment is working undercover as a nanny at the home of a nasty piece of work, vicious corporate honcho Jack Turner, played by professional sneerer Patrick Malahide.

It’s a thriller with plenty of layers and heart-stopping moments, as Sam creeps around Turner’s fortress home trying to plant video bugs while Scott Handy plays a scary assassin – the Blank-faced Man – who is targeting Sam, or Turner, or both. Given The X Files‘ record in generating spin around characters such as the Cigarette Smoking Man, this killer could be the show’s first cult figure.

Melissa George – action woman
How does the permanently pouting Melissa George fare (Gillian Anderson had apparently been first option for the part)? The former Home and Away actress can never have appeared in anything as physically taxing at this. She’s not completely convincing when beating up three armed heavies, though she cleverly sets light to one of them, but she is a presence that will quickly win over many viewers – haunted, sympathetic but tough.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Crane

Where Hunted does succeed in this opener, called Mort, is in adding a bit of emotional heart to all the smash-bang-wallop. It is photographed superbly, and the action – which flits from North Africa to Scotland to London to Istanbul and Amsterdam – won’t let anyone doze off.

Cast: Melissa George Sam Hunter; Adam Rayner Aidan Marsh, Sam’s colleague and love interest; Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Deacon Crane; Morven Christie Zoe Morgan; Lex Shrapnel Ian Fowkes; Stephen Campbell Moore Stephen Turner; Oscar Kennedy Edward Turner; Tom Beard Bingham; Patrick Malahide Jack Turner; Stephen Dillane Rupert Keel; Scott Handy Black-faced Man; Uriel Emil Hasan Moussa; Dhafer L’Abidine Bernard Faroux; Indira Varma Natalie Thorpe

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