Inside Men starring Steven Mackintosh PREVIEW

Blag of nerves – honest John (Steven Mackintosh) steps up. Pic: BBC

Rating: ★★★★

BBC1, starts Thursday, 2 February, 9pm

Story: John Coniston manages a highly secure cash counting house. One day he finds himself in the middle of a terrifying, bloody armed robbery. Flash back to nine months earlier and John is confronting two employees he suspects to siphoning off £50,000. They expect boring, playsafe John to call the cops, but John offers them a way out…

Television is so obsessed with whodunits and police procedurals that it usually leaves the heist escapades to the movies.

Inside Men breaks that pattern with a intriguing character study of three guys who, because of their individual problems and insecurities, decide to step out of their comfort zones and risk everything by attempting a £15million robbery.

Steven Mackintosh, Ashley Walters and Warren Brown perfectly manage the haunted looks of the men saying no more Mr Nice Guy. This is a caper without geezers, just three beta males who want to be alpha.

Warren Brown and Kierston Wareing
Mackintosh plays the mouse-like John Coniston, manager of a cash counting house who looks like he’s going to be sick every time a fiver goes missing. So desperate is he to maintain his generally unblemished monthly record at the staff bonus party that he replaces a missing £240 from his own wallet.

Also working at the depot is forklift driver Marcus (Warren Brown), an irresponsible dreamer with debts and a loving, lairy wife, Gina (Kierston Wareing). Chris (Ashley Walters) is the security guard with an alcoholic mother, who lands a new girlfriend and suddenly wants to get out of his miserable rut.

The opening episode of this four-parter kicks off with pounding tension as masked robbers hit the depot. Events then backtrack nine months and we get an insight into the lives of the three principals.

Going for broke
The narrative flashes back and forth, cleverly keeping the viewer on edge. Steven Mackintosh holds the whole thing together as the head-down drone with a plodding marriage who suddenly decides to go for broke.

Warren Brown breezes through as reckless Marcus, and only Ashley Walters is playing against type as timid and shy.

Written by Tony Basgallop (EastEnders, Being Human, Hotel Babylon), this is full of sharp character strokes – such as John’s awful mateyness with a boss who clearly thinks he’s a loser – that  keep you watching to how the desperadoes get through this.

It’s an involving, tense opener that’s right on the money.

Cast: Steven Mackintosh John, Ashley Walters Chris, Warren Brown Marcus, Kierston Wareing Gina, Leila Mimmack Dita, Nicola Walker Kirsty, Hannah Merry Olivia, Tom Mannion Gordon, Ruth Gemmell Rebecca, Paul Popplewell  Tom

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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: ★★★

Inside Men and Mafia Month

Inside Men, the story of a multi-million pound robbery by four ordinary men, is being filmed in Bristol by the BBC. Steven Mackintosh (Camelot, Most Sincerely) is John, manager of the cash counting house. Joining him in the scam is depot security guard Chris (Ashley Walters – Outcasts, Five Days), and forklift driver Marcus (Warren Brown – Luther, Single Father).

Kierston Wareing – who is in every other crime drama these, recently notching up The Shadow Line, Luther and The Runaway – plays Marcus’s wife, Gina, who also is involved in the robbery.

Written by Tony Basgallop, whose credits include Worried about the Boy and Hughie Green, the twist here is what happens to these guys once they step out of their comfort zones. Each has a reason for joining the heist. Chris has an alcoholic mother, young girlfriend and hopes the money will make his life better. Marcus borrowed money to set up a hairdressing salon that crashed.

Tony Basgallop says, ‘Inside Men is the story of an old-school cash robbery but with the “geezer” element removed. It’s a study in what it takes for a modern man to step up, assert himself, and have the courage to take something by force. How do you go from being a beta male to an alpha male, and what are the implications on your everyday life?’

• In August Sky Atlantic has an offer you can’t refuse – Mafia Month. It’s a motley bunch of programmes, including TV mobster movies Lansky (1999) with Richard Dreyfuss and Falcone (1999, aka Excellent Cadavers), starring Chazz Palminteri and F Murray Abraham, the story of murdered Sicilian prosecutor Giovanni Falcone. There’s a documentary, Mob Stories, in which five high-ranking gangsters talk publicly for the first time. Season three of The Sopranos is also throwing its weight around in there. The FBI is doing its best to build a RICO case against Tony, who is bugged and under surveillance. This season  includes the classic – some say the finest – Sopranos episode, Pine Barrens. Written by Boardwalk Empire creator Terrence Winter and directed by Steve Buscemi, it’s the one with Paulie and Chris lost in the sub-zero New Jersey forests.

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