The Suspicions of Mr Whicher 3, ITV, with Paddy Considine PREVIEW

PADDY CONSIDINE as Jack Whicher in The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
Paddy Considine as Jack Whicher

Rating: ★★★½

ITV: starts Sunday, 7 September, 9.5pm

Story: Whicher is drawn into a high‐stakes case when Sir Edward Shore, the former Home Secretary comes to him with a delicate problem.

KATE SUMMERSCALE’S engrossing non-fiction book from 2008 about detective Jack Whicher’s investigation of the murder at Road Hill House confirmed the adage about truth being stranger than fiction. Her award-winning book was gripping and powerful.

ITV cast Paddy Considine as Whicher in its 2011 drama based on that book and, while it couldn’t encapsulate all that was in the book, it was an intelligent and captivating adaptation.

Here we have a second short series of a couple of two-hour films offering further imaginings of what Whicher did after his perceived failure with the Road Hill House case, which damaged his reputation (even though he correctly suspected the correct culprit).

Whicher goes Beyond the Pale

The problem is that these fictional takes on the Whicher legend are always going to lack the impact

NANCY CARROLL as Mrs Piper in The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
Mrs Piper (Nancy Carroll)

of the real events surrounding the child murder that shook Victorian society in 1860. Having said that, ITV has tried hard to breath convincing life into the character and his world.

The films – Beyond the Pale and The Ties that Bind – are written by award-winning playwright Helen Edmundson, celebrated for her work at the National Theatre, RSC and Shared Experience, including Coram Boy and Mary Shelley.

In addition, the productions are handsomely filmed and have plenty of brooding atmosphere. In fact, many scenes are so dark and menacing you wish someone would turn up the gaslight so you could more clearly what’s going on.

Dismissed from the police

Whicher, again played by the low-key Paddy Considine, now acts as a ‘private inquiry agent’ in London, having left the Metropolitan Police. In the first film, he is approached by the former Home Secretary Sir Edward Shore to help him with a delicate problem. Which is a cheek, as it was Shore who signed the letter dismissing Whicher from the police.

Anyway, Shore’s son, Charles, has just returned from India with his young family after the Mutiny, having made his fortune. However, he has been followed home by an Indian man, Asim Jabour, who is threatening him.

Sir Edward and Charles are reluctant to give Whicher the full story behind Jabour’s presence, but simply want him to find the Indian and tell them where he is.

Whicher must confront his social superiors

There are, of course, murky goings-on here, and the story touches on British behaviour in India and

JOHN HEFFERNAN as Captain Charles Shore in The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
Captain Charles Shore (John Heffernan)

sees Whicher having to confront his social superiors as the story develops.

It’s an interesting insight into the era of Empire, and a juicy mystery. Helen Edmunson also opens up Whicher’s own story, including the past loss of his son and growing closeness to the widow Mrs Piper.

While it is still in the shade of the true story, the series is bold enough to explore the Victorian setting with skill and intelligence.

Check out these links…
Review of the original The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
Kate Summerscale on The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Guardian Book Club

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ITV’s best new crime shows autumn 2014

IT’S BEEN a sunny summer for once, but as usual there’s nowt on the box (apart from the Commonwealth Games), so this is a good moment to look in the crystal ball and see what treats ITV has in store for the autumn and beyond.

There are some well-known faces coming back – a few of which are to be welcomed, others a little past their sell-by date – with a couple of intriguing newcomers in production.

Broadchurch 2 One of the hottest shows of last year, it’s even been creating a stir in the US, where

Broadchurch 2 ITV cast rehearsal

David Tennant has reprised his role as detective Alec Hardy in an American version of the series. He will be back with Olivia Colman as Ellie Miller in the ITV follow-up. Charlotte Rampling joins the cast (pictured right). It’s been filming in Dorset and acclaimed screenwriter Chris Chibnall is back masterminding the production. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Chasing Shadows is one of the interesting new shows. Starring Reece Shearsmith and Alex Kingston, it’s about a missing persons unit. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Arthur & George is a three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’s novel, based on true events. Martin Clunes stars as Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, who challenges a miscarriage of justice. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Scott and Bailey's Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp

Scott & Bailey 4 Returns for a fourth series. The drama’s original tendency to portray all men as thick, immature, unfaithful or criminal has faded, while the stories have got more powerful and the cast – Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones, Amelia Bullmore – have won a big following and the writing – Lee Warburton, Emily Ballou and Amelia Bullmore again! – has been gripping. Janet and Rachel’s relationship is tested to the limit this time round. Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

Grantchester Following in the footsteps of the Beeb’s gentle daytime mystery Father Brown is Sidney Chambers, a charismatic clergyman played by James Norton (the vile villain in Happy Valley). This is also a period piece – set in 1953 – and has a nice cast, including Robson Green, Morven Christie and Tessa Peak-Jones. A six-parter, it was filming in London, Cambridge and Grantchester earlier this year. Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Arthur & George Three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’s novel, based on true events. Martin Clunes stars as Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, who challenges a miscarriage of justice. Filming autumn 2014. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Safe House An atmospheric thriller set in the Lake District. Cast yet to be announced. It’s a four-parter inspired by a true story of a couple who turn their guest house into a safe house. Filming autumn 2014. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Code of a Killer Two-parter based on the extraordinary true story of Alec Jeffreys’ discovery of DNA fingerprinting and its first use by detective David Baker in snaring a double murderer. With the terrific David Threlfall in the cast, filming starts in September. Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Terrific book by Kate Summerscale, fab first series. But then came the fictionalised re-imaging of the Victorian detective’s career after the infamous country house child murder of the original. I so wanted to like this, and there is probably a great story about Whicher’s later life, but this reboot reduces his tale to a straight cop procedural. Still, fingers crossed, it’s got Paddy Considine returning as the man himself. Anticipation factor: ★★★

Lewis It feels like a tired old regular screen fixture, but there will be attempts to shake-up the formula with a slight reversal of roles for Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox’s detectives, the now retired Lewis and newly promoted Hathaway. Anticipation factor: ★★★
Brenda Blethyn as Vera, ITV
Foyle’s War Three 120-minute stories are in the pipeline, as Michael Kitchen returns as Christopher Foyle, now a senior intelligence office for MI5 in the aftermath of the Second World War. The guest stars include John Mahoney (Frasier), Richard Lintern (Silent Witness), Nigel Lindsay (Four Lions), Jaime Winstone (Mad Dogs) and William Postlethwaite (Midsomer Murders). Anthony Horowitz is back on story duty. Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Vera 5 Filming is under way, with Kenny Doughty joining as DS Aiden Healy after David Leon’s departure as Joe Ashworth (shame, as his storylines were often quite good). Brenda Blethyn (right) still heads proceedings as DCI Vera Stanhope. 2015. Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Let us know which shows you can’t wait to see… comment below or email us

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