Forgive me, but I am going to inflict a (*grimaces*) listicle on you. However, I want you to be able to go and watch the first episode of Unforgotten before a) it slips off ITV Player and b) the second episode airs, and I don’t have time to do it proper paragraphy justice right now. I will however spare you a ’24 reasons why you should be watching Unforgotten’-style headline…
- It’s a crime show without horrendous violence inflicted on women and the results slowly panned over like some sort of fetishist’s fantasy.
- It’s got Nicola Walker in the lead role. This should be enough to make most discerning Pauseliveaction readers stop reading and start watching.
- Sanjeev Bhaskar is her sidekick. (I have to confess to a little bit of a crush here – but you should be watching him for his acting even if you don’t wish you could be in Meera Syal’s shoes for an evening.)
- It has excellent, series 1-Broadchurch pacing; neither frenetic, nor Midsomer Murders lethargic. Rarely does it feel like plots unfurl these days, but Unforgotten captures that feeling.
- We have no idea how all the disparate characters we’re introduced to are going to link to the skeleton in the basement, but they’re all intriguing anyway. Their stories are engaging in their own right – they feel like they could each stand alone for an hour, skeleton or no.
- The supporting cast includes Tom Courtenay, Ruth Sheen, Bernard Hill, Gemma Jones, Peter Egan and Trevor Eve (in a sledgehammer-subtle take on Alan Sugar – and, for me, the only thing I’m not sold on yet).
If you catch up on episode one now, you’ll be ready to start watching in real time on Thursday (ITV1, 9pm). If the next five hours are as good as the first, we’re in for a treat.
Jo the Hat
The post-Christmas comedown can be a tedious place. However, through the soundtrack of stunned silence trills a theme tune containing The Highest Note On Television ™. Hooray hurrah, it’s Silent Witness!
Dr. Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox) - existentialist angst just out of shot (photo: The Guardian)
Much to the joy of your correspondent (see Lustbox passim), Silent Witness has returned to our screens for a whopping series of 5 two-parters. And it begins in true restful SW style – with a series of borderline-intrusive close-ups on the corpse of an 8 year old girl. Oh. We are then further relaxed by the sight of White-Coated Type Professor Silverlake (Roy Marsden, who always seems to play “wrong ‘uns” in these sort of things) having some sort of loopy fit at various wino patients outside a hospital, followed quickly by the discovery of one of said patients deaded in a pile of wee (presumably and indeed hopefully his own, though you can never tell in SW land). What time did you say the Darts on BBC2 started again…
Along with many, I had a bit of a thing for Trevor Eve back in the day. During his Shoestring era. Never liked moustaches on anyone else (and the one Jimmy Smits is sporting in series 3 of Dexter is frankly alarming) but it suited Eve. Recently I watched him playing Hughie Green in a BBC drama, and it gave me nightmares. If the drama was even remotely close to reality (and since Green’s children were involved with writing it, I fear it was) he was an extremely unpleasant misogynist and a bloody awful father, allowed to get away with far too much and shafting (literally and figuratively) everyone in sight. I always hated him in Opportunity Knocks, because he seemed to like humiliating people. And poor Paula Yates, finding out after his death that he was her biological father, having had an affair with her mother. Utterly shocking, and can’t have helped her fragile state.
Anyway, here Eve is again in a modern update of Bouquet of Barbed Wire, Andrea Newman’s splendidly pervy incest drama from the 70s, playing another nasty, controlling father. Not sure how I’m going to get along with it, although I do think Eve is very good. But I loved Frank Finlay you see. Never good to admit you’re rather drawn to someone playing such a deeply unpleasant character, but I was. It was so well done. And Susan Penhaligan as Prue did infuriating spoilt brat very well.
I grew up in the 70s, too young to be allowed to watch it first time round, but my parents were avid viewers, and it had an aura of mystery and intrique about it. I yearned to be allowed to see it. Ten years later, I got the video out of Esher library when I was a nanny there, and the kids were at school. I watched it back to back in the afternoons, gripped. It so captured something about that glamorous but profoundly sexist era when dirty secrets lurked below families like icebergs waiting to erupt and capsize everything.
I’m not sure a modern version can quite capture all of that dark glamour in the same way, but we shall see.
Posted by Inkface