Cuffs, BBC1, Ashley Walters, Amanda Abbington

Cuffs – PC Jake Vickers (JACOB IFAN), PC Ryan Draper (ASHLEY WALTERS), PC Lino Moretti (ALEX CARTER), PC Donna Prager (ELEANOR MATSUURA)

Cop this – PC Jake Vickers (Jacob Ifan), PC Ryan Draper (Ashley Walters), PC Lino Moretti (Alex Carter), PC Donna Prager (Eleanor Matsuura)

Pounding an action-packed beat in Brighton, Cuffs looks set to apprehend a significant 8pm audience for BBC1

★★★½ BBC1, starts Wednesday, 28 October, 8pm

ON FIRST appearances there isn’t anything startlingly new about Cuffs. In its depiction of life on the beat for coppers it recalls a line of popular dramas from Z Cars to The BillIf Cuffs is going to be a hit, it will no doubt have to hook viewers by having terrific stories and characters within this familiar format.

Cuffs – Misha Baig (Bhavna Limbachia), faces a robber (RAY DE HAAN) - (C) Tiger Aspect

Confrontation – Misha Baig (Bhavna Limbachia) faces a robber (Rey de Haan)

With writer Julie Gearey onboard – who also brought us Prisoners’ Wives and Secret Diary of a Call Girl – it certainly looks capable of becoming a crowd-puller. While Prisoners’ Wives did not create a sensation like Broadchurch did, it was a gripping series with compelling characters and no doubt convinced the Beeb that Gearey was the woman to bring us Cuffs.

 It also has an eye-catching cast, including Ashley Walters (Top Boy) Peter Sullivan (The Borgias), Amanda Abbington (Sherlock), Shaun Dooley (The Game), Paul Ready (Utopia), Eleanor Matsuura (Utopia) and Alex Carter (Hollyoaks, Emmerdale). Cuffs also introduces Jacob Ifan in his first leading television role.

Jacob Ifan and Ashley Walters

Ifan plays PC Jake Vickers, son of Chief Superintendent Robert Vickers. He is also a total rookie and it is his first day on the job under the mentorship of seasoned constable Ryan Draper (Ashley Walter). This forms the central story of the pilot episode of this eight-part series.

So, the story is instantly ripe with conflict and drama. Ryan doesn’t like the boss’s son, the boss’s son initially seems hopeless at his job, and just in case that isn’t enough, Jake is also gay, with eyes for a slick defence solicitor he spots at the nick.

This is a pretty similar to the setup to the one we saw in the superb US series Southland, which took us onto the mean streets of LA in the company of a hard-bitten cop and his rookie. [Read more…]

Cuffs starts filming in Brighton

Just as Brighton shakes off its description as the city that looks like it is “helping police with their enquiries”, along comes a starring…

CURRENTLY creating a hubbub in Brighton is the crew filming BBC1’s new crime series Cuffs. The Brighton Argus has been getting a lot of calls from locals asking what is going on as the film folk take over various parts of the city.

This looks set – if the Beeb gets it right – to be one of the year’s big new dramas. It’s starring Ashley Walters (above, in the Argus‘s picture), along with Sherlock‘s Amanda Abbington and Shaun Dooley, currently on our screens in BBC2’s The Game. It’s focuses on the town’s police officers and detectives and how they deal with local crime in a lively seaside area.

What it also has going for it is writer Julie Gearey, ex-Corrie and woman behind the terrific series Prisoners’ Wives. It is also said to be going out on weeknights at 8pm, perhaps taking over the mantle of the once-excellent The Bill.

Check out the Argus‘s article below for the latest on it. It even quotes CrimeTimePreview on the new show…

Source: BBC has high hopes for new cop drama set on streets of Brighton (From The Argus)

Prisoners’ Wives – Jonas Armstrong, Emma Rigby PREVIEW

Polly Walker as sassy Francesca. Pics: BBC

Rating: ★★★★

BBC1, starts Tuesday, 31 January, 9pm

Story: ‘I’m your dream ticket,’ Steve tells his happy, young pregnant wife, Gemma – just before armed police smash down the front door and take him away on suspicion of murder. Though convinced of his innocence, Gemma is still pitched into a frightening new life as a prisoner’s wife…

Where this week’s other new crime series Inside Men (see below) is full of tension, thievery and shotguns, Prisoners’ Wives has less action and is mainly about relationships under strain. It is an absorbing drama that veers away from plot twists and shocks in favour of believable characters whose lives are freefalling into turmoil.

Steve (Jonas Armstrong) and Gemma (Emma Rigby)

Written and created by Julie Gearey, the six-parter’s opening episode introduces us to Gemma, who is young, happily married to Steve and pregnant. Her idyll is shattered along with her front door when heavily tooled up coppers smash into their home and arrest Steve for murder.

Gemma’s shame and fear
‘I swear, I don’t know anything,’ Steve tells her on her first visit to see him in prison. But why is Steve, who runs his own business, being held if there is no evidence, and why is there a two-hour gap in his alibi?

Gemma is alone and scared, having to get used a new group of friends, the prisoners’ wives. Convinced that Steve has been wrongfully arrested, Gemma rejects the friendship of bold and brassy Francesca, whose husband Paul is inside for drug running.

Is Steve guilty or innocent?

Julie Gearey, whose writing credits include Coronation Street, Casualty and The Secret Diary of a Call Girl, skilfully depicts Gemma’s loneliness and fear, as the mum-to-be tries to hide her shame over Steve’s arrest from her workmates as well as her beloved foster mum. She has the shock of biometric scans and body searches at the prison, and the cruel bullying of the detective in charge of Steve’s case.

Polly Walker as Francesca
Emma Rigby is well cast as the pretty and fragile Gemma, looking about 14 years old in what must be a tough role as woman who’s in tears in every other scene. Jonas Armstrong is good as the husband we’re not sure about, but it is Polly Walker as queen bee Francesca who gives the show a lot of heart.

Sassy and living in luxury, Francesca won’t be dissed by anyone, certainly not the pinstriped banker dad of her son’s girlfriend, and Gemma is eventually drawn to her.

Among the other main characters are Lou, who is certainly not living in luxury as she tries to get by selling drugs and hiding her partner’s prisoner status from their boy, Mason. And only glimpsed in the first episode is Harriet, who comes into the story more later on.

Heartache ahead

Prisoners’ wives Lou, Gemma, Francesca and Harriet

As the opener concludes, Gemma learns more about Steve’s predicament and it’s clear there will be big challenges and soul-searching ahead for the women. Refreshingly for a crime drama, it doesn’t finish with a daft twist but a tender moment that has the same effect – leaving a strong desire to see what happens next.

Cast: Jonas Armstrong Steve; Emma Rigby  Gemma; Polly Walker Francesca; Pippa Haywood Harriet; Iain Glen Paul, Natalie Gavin Lou

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