Tag Archives: DCI Banks

TV Crime Log: Arthur, Banks, Following

Arthur And GeorgeThe Sherlock Holmes juggernaut ploughs endlessly on. This time it’s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who gets the, er, Arthur Conan Doyle treatment.

It’s not often we mention ITV on this site without typing the names Vera, Banks or Lewis, but Arthur and George — the network’s three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’ acclaimed novel — is worth a look.

Written by Ed Whitmore, the drama is based on true events in the life of Conan Doyle, in which he famously championed two little girls who claimed they photographed fairies at the bottom of their garden in Cottingley Beck. Oh wait, no, that was something completely different.

The blurb will provide the seven-per cent solution:

In 1906, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is mourning the loss of his wife, Louisa. Her death, after a long and drawn out illness, has caused Arthur to slump into a guilt-ridden malaise: he fears that Louisa may have suspected that he was an adulterer, in thought if not in deed, due to his friendship with Jean Leckie. Even writing his famous Sherlock Holmes stories cannot rouse Arthur. Then his secretary, Woodie, comes across a letter from a Mr George Edalji, a young Parsee solicitor, who was sent to prison for three years for a crime that he attains he did not commit. George wants Arthur’s help to clear his name: could this be Arthur’s chance to right a wrong?

George was convicted of a spate of sending poisonous letters and animal maimings, in the Staffordshire village of Great Wyrley, in 1903. As George relays the story of his family’s persecution, which inadvertently led to his arrest, Arthur is convinced of George’s innocence; Woodie, however, is not so sure. Having been warned off reinvestigating the case by the very Judge who presided over George’s trial, Arthur is even more determined to discover the true culprit – the so-called ‘Wyrley Ripper’.

Arthur and Woodie travel to Great Wyrley to visit George’s family, to be shown the very letters that George’s father, the Reverend Shapurji Edalji, received, supposedly from his own son. However, Arthur and Woodie’s arrival at the Vicarage causes a bit of a stir: it seems that someone is intent on learning what they do and do not know. Could this be the Wyrley Ripper, trying to warn them off?

That blurb wad almost as long as a Holmes short story. Martin Clunes plays Conan Doyle, as you can see. Arthur And George is on ITV tonight at 9pm.

DCI BanksAnd if we’re going to have to stay with ITV then it’s inevitable, I’m afraid, that we’re going to have to mention one of the above names. Banks, for example. DCI Banks, Stephen Tompkinson’s grim-faced Dales copper, is back.

Adapted from Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks books, Alan Banks is a former Metropolitan Police copper who downsized to the Dales. Robinson emigrated to Canada in 1974, and writes about the fictional town of Eastvale from Toronto.

In this new series, Banks does have quite a good reason to look heartily pissed-off, as the blurb confirms:

What Will Survive When Banks’ suffers a massive personal loss, along with knowledge that Annie is back with her former boyfriend David, he is forced to navigate a complex murder investigation while still grieving.

A young Estonian woman is found dead on a piece of wasteground, suspected of being buried alive. As they piece together her movements, the team uncover a world of prostitution and drugs hidden behind a respectable veneer. They discover the murder victim had come to the UK searching for her sister, who went missing recently. No one wants to talk – but they eventually trace her sister’s pimp, who claims to run a legitimate escort business.

Helen and Banks make inroads with the prostitutes’ driver and Helen begins to suspect his autistic son might have had something to do with Katrin’s death, but when their house is burned down in a tragic fire Banks and his team begin to uncover an even more disturbing truth.

You can see DCI Banks on Wednesday at 9pm on ITV.

The FollowingNow that Jack Bauer gone into hibernation, the most hapless action hero on the small-screen must be Kevin Bacon’s Ryan Hardy. He’s back in the third series of so-bad-it’s-good The Following on Sky Atlantic, Saturday night at 9pm.

Now his usual antag Joe Carroll is on Death Row, we are promised a new Big Bad and, importantly, new show-runners. Amen to that.




TV Crime Log: Club, Leftovers, Legends & Strain

Crime Thriller ClubCrime Thriller Club very much covers the same territory we do here – crime fiction and TV – but it’s got Bradley Walsh going for it instead of The Fella.

*tumbleweed rolls past*

Anyhow. It’s returning for another six week series on ITV3, which is the channel your in-laws watch. Walsh is joined by some of the stars of the biggest crime thriller shows, goes behind the scenes of upcoming new crime dramas, and plays quizmaster as he sets out to find a ‘Criminal Mastermind’.

At some point in that last sentence we slipped into blurb speak, so we may as well print the rest of it:

Culminating in the glittering Crime Thriller Awards 2014 – the ‘Oscars’ of the crime thriller world – this series delivers exclusive access to the stars and sets of some of Britain’s best known crime thriller programmes – including much-loved shows like DCI Banks, Whitechapel and Silent Witness – as well as gripping new dramas like the BBC’s Interceptor.

Each week, Bradley interrogates a leading actor from a major crime thriller – including the likes of Robert Glenister and Stephen Tompkinson – and casts a forensic eye over the career of a literary Living Legend, profiling blockbuster authors including Robert Harris, Dean Koontz, Lynda La Plante, Michael Connelly, and Wire In The Blood creator Val McDermid.

Across the series, Bradley’s also aided and abetted by renowned authors including Adele Parks, Peter James, Mark Billingham and Kate Mosse, who join him to help review an outstanding new crime thriller book of the week – and we hear what inspired their creators, including Lucie Whitehouse, James Carol and Peter May.

So that’s Crime Thriller Club at 9pm on ITV3. Just keep pressing the down button on your remote and you’ll get there.

The LeftoversJust by hitting the return bar, we arrive at 9pm on Tuesday — or as you pedants like to call it: tomorrow —  and the beginning, on Sky Atlantic, of The Leftovers. Now this is not strictly a crime drama – but you know what? My blog, my rules.

Based on Tom Perrotta’s novel, it envisages a world three years after a certain proportion of the population are whisked off in the Rapture, and the population left behind feels very sorry for itself indeed.

The main guy in it, played by actor and scriptwriter Justin Theroux is the town sheriff – so there’s a crimey link if you really insist on one. The Leftovers has proved marmite in the US because of its insistence on focusing on the shattered personal lives of the people left wondering what happened to their disappeared loved ones rather than investigating its mysterious supernatural conceit.

The StrainWednesday night sees the first episode of The Strain on Watch at 10pm. It’s a television adaptation of the trilogy written by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan – who wrote Prince of Thieves! It’s basically a modern-day retelling of Dracula, in which an airliner arrives at JFK, a la the Demeter, its lights off and doors sealed. An epidemiologist and his Disease Control unit is sent to investigate — and a vampire virus is unleashed on New York.

The first novel in The Strain trilogy was an interesting new take on ancient material. The second and third volumes, The Fall and The Night Eternal… not so much. Del Toro said he wanted to reinvent the vampire novel as a modern-day procedural.

So, in case you’re wondering whether to invest your precious hours in these serials, The Strain has been renewed for a second season — along with The Leftovers. The aim is to tell the entire trilogy over, er, four seasons. It stars the ever excellent Corey ‘Cards’ Stoll and David ‘Hartnell’ Bradley.

LegendsThere’s more adapted drama on Sky 1 at the same time, Wednesday at 10pm. Legends is based on Robert Littell’s book of the same name. Sean Bean stars as Martin Odum, a Deep Cover agent who changes identities in the same way other people change their underwear. Which is, hopefully, a lot. Trouble is, Odum begins to wonder whether his own identity is also a lie.

It’s a great concept, but the ratings in the US have been somewhat tepid, and there’s still no word on whether it’s going to get renewed.

TV Crime Log: Banks, Gently, Salamander

Some caring coppers return to television this week to help lift your weary spirit.

DCI_BANKS_0Stephen Tompkinson does a good line in grim looks in the series adapted from Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks books. In those, Alan Banks is a former Metropolitan Police copper who downsized to the Dales. What I didn’t realise is that Robinson himself emigrated to Canada in 1974, and writes about the fictional town of Eastvale from Toronto.

Anyway, back to the telly, and the first case for  Banks and his team to solve in this new series involves a strange and sinister child abduction apparently undertaken by a man and a woman claiming to be social workers,

So that’s DCI Banks. Grim-faced, but compassionate,    of a 9pm on Monday nights for the next six weeks on ITV.

UnknownInspector George Gently is based on the novels of Alan Hunter – all 46 of them – published between 1955 and 1999. Hunter produced one a year for half a century, an extraordinary feat of writing stamina.

The fifth series starring Martin ‘Doyle’ Shaw ended on a cliffhanger with both Gently and his Detective Sergeant Bacchus shot. The blurb may, however, put your anxieties to rest:

1969: six months since the shootings in Durham Cathedral. Gently’s injuries in the shoulder and the leg are healed and he is pushing himself back to full fitness. Bacchus, shot in the stomach and seriously injured, has been completing his recuperation in a police convalescent home.

Gently is shocked when he learns of Bacchus’ resignation and annoyed that John hasn’t told him directly. He visits Bacchus in the convalescent home where he has been recuperating and realises that his sergeant has lost his confidence. Still suffering his own mental and physical scars from the Cathedral, Gently sets about fixing Bacchus – by insisting that he helps him with a case while he serves out his notice. Gently has been tasked with investigating a death in custody…

The latest series of Gently kicks off on BBC1, Thursday night at 8.30pm, and you’ll be able to lose yourself in the simple pleasures of the Sixties till the news comes on.

imagesHaving temporarily exhausted its precious reserves of Scandi thrillers with the conclusion of The Bridge II last week – oh, Martin, what have you done? – BBC4 goes Flemish with the beginning of political thriller Salamander.

The blurb wants to make a deposit:

Everyone has secrets. But these can bring down a nation.

Disguised as builders, a group of robbers descend on a top Belgium private bank – but the burglars have no eye for money or other valuables and target only 66 of 800 vaults in the bank. These 66 vaults belong to the country’s industrial, financial, judicial and political elite, and the safe-deposit boxes contained their most intimate secrets – secrets that could bring down the nation.

Who ordered this hack? Who wants to disrupt the state? The bank scramble to cover up the robbery and avoid the involvement of the police, but police inspector Paul Gerardi (Filip Peeters) catches wind of the affair. With his incorruptible, old-school morals and devil-may-care attitude, Gerardi throws himself into the investigation, and when some of the key players are murdered, commit suicide or vanish, he soon realises just how big the case is.

Gerardi discovers that the victims are members of a secret organisation called Salamander. As he becomes the target of both the criminals and the authorities, Gerardi must quickly find out what their agenda is – and who is behind the thefts…

Like The Bridge, the 12-part Salamander unfolds with two episodes every Saturday night. BBC4 has seen its Saturday night share rocket thanks to its imported crime dramas. Let’s hope the Belgians don’t let the side down.