Tag Archives: Whitechapel

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: Whitechapel, Guilty

WHITECHAPEL_S4The deliciously barmy Whitechapel returns to ITV tonight for a fourth series of moody lighting and gothic thrills. For a crime drama originally about a Jack The Ripper copycat, it’s a show that has proved to have legs.

It’s an atmospheric little beast, Whitechapel, cheerfully sinister. It features one of those police station sets that manages to look more like an abandoned menswear department than anything remotely like a modern copshop. Everything is so dark and gloomy and mouldy, and there are lots of scratchy, time-lapse effects spattered into the drama. It’s no wonder everybody is so paranoid. The scripts by Ben Court and Caroline Ip are a little bit bonkers, but in a good way.

The second series, featuring Rupert Penry-Jones, Steve Pemberton and the awesome Phil Davis,  was about a couple of Kray copycats, but the third series, and this latest one, have expanded on the idea of historical precedents for modern-day murders in that unfortunate borough — now blighted by hideous art galleries and painfully-expensive boutiques — which echo former killings in the area, such as silent horror movies, ghoulish surgeons and cryptozoology.

You’re probably desparate for some blurb by now:

Chandler and Miles are called to investigate a bizarre murder after a vagrant is slowly crushed to death by stones. The killer’s macabre methods are investigated by the team, and as things unravel to reveal a more ominous possibility, they consider a sinister 16th century precedent.

Shortly after the first murder a second body is found, again the victim of a grotesque death. Why such horrific executions? Could it be that someone is killing witches in Whitechapel?

So — make a note — the first of three two-part stories is on at 9pm tonight.

THE_GUILTYParallel timelines are all the rage in telly, and tomorrow night’s new crime drama The Guilty – two crime dramas on consecutive nights, you are spoiling us ITV! – toggles between 2008 and the present day.

Here’s the blurb:

2008 – a glorious May bank holiday weekend. A four year old boy goes missing after a neighbourhood barbecue. Believed to have been abducted, a nationwide search and media frenzy ensue, but the boy is never found.

Present day – the wettest spring on record. Workmen digging up a burst water main uncover a body under the communal garden. Little Callum Reid – buried just yards from his own front door. The missing boy never left Arcadian Gardens.

Tamsin Greig – show of hands, please, if you liked her in that other thing – stars as DC Maggie Brand, who leads the new investigation into the boy’s murder.  Katherine Kelly and Darren Boyd are his distraught parents. I bet Brand is carrying some emotional baggage of her own, these modern cops always do.

ITV’s short crime dramas can be a bit of a mixed bag sometimes, but they’re always worth slapping onto the hard disc.

The first episode of The Guilty, the first of three, is on ITV tomorrow night at 9pm.