The Tunnel: Sabotage, Sky Atlantic

The Tunnel - Series II

The pressure is on: Karl and Elise

Clémence Poésy and Stephen Dillane are reunited for more cross-border intrigue in Sky Atlantic’s big-action thriller

★★★½ Sky Atlantic, Tuesday, 5 April, 9pm

TUNNEL VISION returns to Sky Atlantic with another punchy, explosive instalment of the series inspired by The Bridge.

The Tunnel 2

Evil-doers: The gang of three

The world has changed a lot for Elise. A year on from the events of the last series, she is now the boss of her unit, and having to do managerial courses to learn how to deal with people in her charge. She also has a boyfriend, the waiter she met in series one.

Meanwhile, Karl has had a tough year, moving on to a new job in the police, struggling to cope with events from the past.

Clémence Poésy and Stephen Dillane

The action – and there’s quite a bit of it – kicks off when a couple are abducted from a Euro Star carriage, leaving their traumatised daughter behind. The wife is a French government cyber security chief, he’s big in software.

French investigator Elise Wassermann (Clémence Poésy) and British detective Karl Roebuck (Stephen Dillane) are reunited to tackle the vicious gang of terrorists responsible. However, before they can even pierce the daughter’s terrified silence, a passenger plane crashes in the Channel.

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The Tunnel, Sky Atlantic, with Stephen Dillane, Clémence Poésy PREVIEW

Clémence Poésy as Elise and Stephen Dillane in The Tunnel on Sky Atlantic
Entente not-so cordiale – Elise and Karl in The Tunnel. Pics: Sky Atlantic

Rating: ★★★★

Sky Atlantic: starts Wednesday, 16 October, 9pm

Story: British and French detectives are pushed into an uneasy alliance when a body is discovered inside the Channel Tunnel, sparking a complex cross-Channel investigation.

IN MOST WALKS of life people would blush if caught pinching someone else’s nifty idea. Not so the execs of television-land, who have no shame.

So, the success of the Danish-Swedish thriller The Bridge, which delighted BBC4 viewers last year,

Clémence Poésy and Stephen Dillane in The Tunnel on Sky Atlantic
Elise and Karl in pursuit of the killer

was quickly ripped off by TV honchos in the US – where the cross-border crime scene was switched the American-Mexican border – and also by those at Sky Atlantic/Canal+, with the Euro Tunnel becoming the focus of attention in The Tunnel.

The US remake has already been a success on FX stateside, and a second season is being filmed for 2014. So, is Sky Atlantic’s bilingual co-production a Bridge too far?

Clémence Poésy and Stephen Dillane

No, it compares very well, in many respects. For a start, whatever the niggles between the Swedes and Danes, they are kid’s stuff in comparison to the long-running bitch-fest of the rosbifs and the cheese-eaters. There is more humour to be milked from the premise in this respect, and The Tunnel doesn’t miss a trick.

The Tunnel - Ep01 .Clemence Posey as Elise & Stephen Dillane as Karl.Car Park Bomb in Danny's car. Sky Atlantic
Odd couple – Karl and Elise

To recap the story, a body is discovered in the eerie utility tunnel that runs in tandem with the Eurostar lines under the Channel. It is placed exactly on the French/UK border, but because the deceased is a female French MP, Elise Wassermann (Clémence Poésy) claims it as a case for the French.

However, the grisly discovery that the corpse is cut in two and that the lower half belongs to a British prostitute, means the capitaine has to share the investigation with UK detective DCI Karl Roebuck (Stephen Dillane). If you remember, he’s fresh from a vasectomy owing to his track record of fathering five kids by three different women.

Parlez-vous Anglais?

Their first encounter in the tunnel is a gem. The French cops say as Karl and the rosbifs approach, It’s all right, the British speak French these days. And the first words out of Karl’s mouth are, ‘Parlez-vous Anglais?’

The cultural differences on top of the Elise’s Asberger’s-tinged personality, mean the drama has plenty of conflict built into it from the off.

Eurotunnel the body is found.Stephen Dillane as Karl, Tobi Bakare as Chuks. Sky Atlantic
Chuks and Karl at the Tunnel crime scene

Stephen Dillane, here a long way from the power-crazed Stannis Baratheon of Game of Thrones, is different to the bear-like Kim Bodnia in The Bridge – laddish, charming and funnier than his Swedish counterpart.

Elise is overshadowed by Karl

Clémence Poésy’s Elise doesn’t come off so well, her social ineptitude being fling at us all at once, so that she is not as fascinating or quirky as Sofia Helin’s Saga Noren in the original. It is as though the writers of The Tunnel assume the audience are familiar with the character and don’t bother to give us a chance to get to know her.

Saga was the star of The Bridge, but Elise is overshadowed in this opener by Karl. The Tunnel will
benefit if Elise is fleshed out better in the remaining episodes (it’s a 10-parter).

The plot is as bonkers as it is in The Bridge, with a crazed and unbelievably resourceful madman mounting his own terrorist campaign.

Sky Atlantic The Tunnel Episode 1.Stephen Dillane as Karl Roebuck, Angel Coulby
Stephen Dillane as Karl and Angel Coulby as his wife

The Tunnel is eerie and stunningly filmed

Where The Tunnel works well is in the culture-clash between the principal characters and in its tremendous atmosphere, with stunningly filmed night scenes of Calais’s Eurotunnel terminal and Folkestone, and eerie tracking shots along unmanned tunnels.

The Bridge is excellent – and the second series will be coming to BBC4 – but The Tunnel is a worthwhile and entertaining reboot of it. And Stephen Dillane’s cheeky performance alone is certainly worth an appointment for the next few weeks with the Tunnel vision.

Cast: Stephen Dillane Karl, Clémence Poésy Elise, Tom Bateman Danny, Joseph Mawle Stephen, Tobi Bakare Chuks, Mathieu Carriére Alain Joubert, Jeanne Balibar Charlotte, Alexander Hathaway Detective,  David G. Robinson French Detective, Karol Steele French Police Personnel, Paul Blackwell French police officer, Paul Dewdney Undercover Police, John Duggan Witness

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A Touch of Cloth II, Sky1, with John Hannah, Suranne Jones, Anna Chancellor, Stephen Dillane PREVIEW

A Touch of Cloth Series 2.Episode Number and Name..NAvin Chowdhry, Adrian Bowher, John Hannah, Suranne Jones & Julian Rhind-Tutt...© Endemol UK LTD.
Cop this – Navin Chowdhry, Adrian Bowher, John Hannah, Suranne Jones and Julian Rhind-Tutt. Pic: BSkyB

Rating: ★★★★

Sky1: start Sunday, 25 August, 9pm

Story: Cloth is done. The brilliant but tortured detective has quit the force, never to return, completely out of the game. Well, until a bank robbery-gone-wrong brings him back into play.

IT WILL BE HARD for British TV to dream up another series about an embittered, hard-drinking maverick detective after Cloth. This goes into every crack of the hackneyed cop procedural genre and wipes the cliches off with aplomb.

Charlie Brooker and co-writers Jason Hazeley, Joel Morris and Ben Caudell have brought back their

A Touch of Cloth Series 2.Episode Number and Name..Macratty (Stephen Dillan) and Jill Titts (Susy Kane)..© Endemol UK LTD.
Jill Titts (Susy Kane) and Macratty (Stephen Dillan) 

wacky lone-wolf cop for a second series, and once again a terrific cast keeps a straight face while playing silly buggers with our most revered TV archetype.

Predatory lesbian and a whisky optic

How John Hannah as Cloth and Suranne Jones as his partner Oldman (pronounced Old-man) keep a straight face is a model of disciplined acting in the face of terrible provocation (though the out-takes must be interesting).

They’re joined by Julian Rhind-Tutt as senior cop Tom Boss (‘I want them caught and caught hard’), with Anna Chancellor in fruity form as predatory lesbian and mayoral candidate Hope Goodgirl, along with Game of Thrones‘ Stephen Dillane as gangster Macratty.

Cloth, of course, has left the force after his boss, Tom Boss, killed his wife, and he is now driving a taxi, which is fitted out with a whisky optic on the front dash board for the drowning of sorrows and bitterness. That is until a bank robbery results in the death of former EastEnder-turned-cop Todd Carty, and Cloth makes a comeback.

Policing on the edge

‘Jack, don’t forget which side you’re on,’ says Old-man.

A Touch of Cloth Series 2.Episode Number and Name..Todd Carty 2...© Endemol UK LTD.
Todd Carty to the rescue

‘I’m not on a side,’ Cloth replies. ‘I’m on the edge.’

Smutty, silly, and full of sight gags, A Touch of Cloth gives the cop-show cliches a good truncheon battering. And while not every joke hits home, the laughs out-weigh the duds.

‘You can tell your grandkids about this,’ a bank robber says to a bank customer whom he is holding hostage.

‘I’m gay,’ says the hostage.

‘Well… you can turn it into a musical.’

Cast: John Hannah DI Jack Cloth, Suranne Jones DI Anne Oldman, Navin Chowdhry DC Asap Qureshi, Adrian Bower DC Des Hairihan, Julian Rhind-Tutt ACC Tom Boss, Daisy Beaumont Dr Natasha Suchet, Anna Chancellor Hope Goodgirl, Stephen Dillane Macratty, Todd Carty Todd Carty

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Murder: Joint Enterprise, BBC2, starring Karla Crome and Robert Pugh PREVIEW

BBC2 Joe Dempsie, Karla Crome
Stefan and Coleen – did they act together in killing Erin? Pics: BBC

Rating: ★★★★½ 

BBC2: Sunday, 26 August, 10pm

Story: A woman lies dead in a Nottingham flat, her terrified sister barricaded in the bathroom. At 2am a young man in a bloodstained shirt is pulled over for speeding. The three only met that afternoon – what happened in those fatal hours? All there is to go on is what the two survivors say.

Birger Larsen, who called the shots on The Killing, came to the UK to direct this documentary-style murder drama that is bold, messy and totally compelling.

The hour-long narrative delving into the death of Erin at the Nottingham flat she shared with her sister, Coleen, is fragmentary, told to camera by those involved in the case in conflicting and self-serving statements. as well as in flashbacks, CCTV footage, family snapshots and evidence photos.

Erin is killed with an Amaretto bottle
It’s messy because real life is messy, and the script by Robert Jones resoundingly exposes the fallacy of most TV crime shows with their neat denouements. Murder: Joint Enterprise taxes the viewer by forcing you to try to locate the truth in what unfolds.

BBC2 Stephen Dillane
Raglin, the prosecution QC outlines his tactics

At first, it seems clear cut. Erin and Coleen are out at a snooker hall when they meet Stefan, who barges his way back to their flat. Coleen says she felt threatened by the pushy young man and that he killed Erin while she was locked in the bathroom. Stefan is arrested later that evening while driving Erin’s car, and has her blood on him. Erin was battered with an Amaretto bottle.

The case is not as clear as it first appears
But by day two of the investigation, the story shifts. Erin and Coleen, abandoned nine years before by their mother, often fought. Was there some sexual rivalry between the sisters with Stefan back at the flat. What was the role of Coleen’s boyfriend, Heskett Jupp, in what happened.

And while Stefan admits he’s ‘done stuff’, he denies murder. The past histories of Stefan and the sisters clearly impacts on their present day lives and hang-ups, and Robert Jones’s script – which he says was the hardest he’s ever written – sensitively explores their backgrounds, particularly the trauma caused by the sisters being deserted by their mother.

Coleen says of the time after she was taken into care, ‘There’s something about being locked out of your own flat and looking in. It’s like being dead.’

Claire Rushbrook
Claire Rushbrook as mum Ellen

We only briefly see the characters interacting, and that’s a CCTV glimpse of Coleen and her mother. But the truth slowly comes into focus as the twisting trial of Stefan and Coleen proceeds and then a final revealing flashback gives us the full, disconcerting picture.

It’s a haunting, atmospheric and affecting hour, brilliantly acted and directed. And unlike most mainstream dramas, it packs an ending that sticks in your mind for some time after. Terrific.

Cast: Karla Crome Coleen, Joe Dempsie Stefan, Stephen Dillane Raglin, Robert Pugh DI Sheehy, Claire Rushbrook Ellen, Lara Rossi Erin, Darren Campbell Heskett Jupp, Lauren Socha Deena, Kate Donnelly Pathologist

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