Based on a true story and adapted from the best-selling novel by Julian Barnes, Arthur & George told the story of Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle (played here by Martin Clunes, who’s very good) and a case he looked into in the 1800s. Full of good-looking Victorian décollage and, of course, plenty of references to Sherlock, this had all the hallmarks of a hit. But on top of the intrigue and case-solving, I found there to be something deeper, more interesting afoot here.
UK crime drama channel, Alibi, has announced that a series of eight shorts, which are all between one and three minutes long and will make up a point-of-view crime drama, will be interspersed amongst the traditional Alibi schedule and offer the audience the chance to play detective. This sort of short-form content (as marketing bods call it) is a nice little extra to a channel’s output and creating some sort of online presence to boot. And this is the way it’s going in the media, which is fair enough, but what will us crime drama fans find value in this kind of entertainment?
The people behind the CSI franchise must have rubbed their hands with glee when Patricia Arquette won her much-deserved Oscar a few weeks ago. It’s exactly what you crave when you’re about to launch a new series – extra, free publicity. The Oscar winner stars in the new CSI spin-off, CSI: Cyber, and the franchise’s UK broadcaster, Channel 5, is taking part in World CSI Day, which essentially means that it will show a ‘crossover’ episode of CSI that is being simultaneously transmitted in 150 countries, beating the record set by Doctor Who in 2013.
Tomorrow night (Monday 2 March) sees the start of a new, three-part drama based on Julian Barnes’s best seller, Arthur & George. Based on a true story, it follows Sherlock creator Arthur Conan Doyle’s investigation into a horse slaying case up in the Black Country in the early part of the 20th century. Martin Clunes takes the lead as Conan Doyle, and it’s good stuff – allied to the obvious period charm and Sherlock connection, it’s an intriguing story, featuring a man who finds himself in crisis and uses his beloved fictional character as inspiration. Here’s Clunes talking about the role…
What is going on with The Mentalist? In its final season, the show seems determined to wrong-foot the viewer at every opportunity. Last week we had a prison break drama, this week it’s gone all Homeland as Patrick Jane takes on terrorists on a undercover mission – in Beirut?! Okay, this doesn’t exactly involve Jane, our favourite coward, strapping on a machine-gun and storming an underground command post. In fact the mission’s more dangerous than that, as he’s taking on Erica Flynn (Morena Baccarin), the seductive murderess with whom he’s locked lips twice in the past.
As Death in Paradise ambles to the end of this run, Humphrey faces the greatest challenge of his career – solving the mystery of a prisoner killed in a locked cell, while dealing with the arrival of his insufferable father, played by seasoned veteran James Fox. This season has seen Humphrey settling in to his role as the island of St Marie’s leading sleuth, arguably being able to concentrate on his job better now that the distraction of his charming underling Camille has been removed. With new girl Florence and the efficient JP on the job, Humphrey – occasional pratfall and bumbling apart – can focus on the detection he is so good at, given the chance.
I’ve had a bit of a break from things during the past few weeks, and I’ve picked a fine time to rejoin the fray – it’s Broadchurch finale time. If this second series has polarised people, we also all know that final episodes are subjective affairs where writers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. It’s very difficult to please all of the people all of the time, and I wasn’t expecting Broadchurch – which I’ve had my problems with throughout this second series – to hit everything out of the park. That would be an unfair expectation. All I wanted was a rollercoaster ride that finally tied up the fate of Joe Miller and resolved the Sandbrook murders. It’s too not much to ask, it?