Review: Amber (S1 E4/4), Tuesday 25th June

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p02142rb(Here be spoilers)

TV drama is not real life – TV drama has to have clearly defined entrances and exits – rule number one of screenwriting – unless you are French, of course. But either Amber’s creators/writers Rob Cawley, Gary Duggan and Paul Duane are riding roughshod over the formal rules of screenwriting, or they just wanted us to feel what real life is like, where most of the time there are no easy answers. Continue reading

Review: Murdered By My Boyfriend, Monday 23rd June

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It’s easy to have a pop at BBC Three – ostensibly a channel aimed at teenagers – but look beyond the vacuous Don’t Tell The Brides and Snog, Marry, Avoids and you’ll find some really interesting documentaries and dramas. It doesn’t matter that they’re aimed at The Youth – their subject matter often makes them relevant to all ages. Some of the documentaries can be as hard-hitting as anything around, and this much-trumpeted drama quite obviously aims to educate as well as entertain at the same time. Of course, when I say entertain I mean put through the mill and spat back out again feeling thankful for your life, thankful for your family and thankful everything ok and mundane and normal around you. Continue reading

Review: Fargo (S1 E10/10), Sunday 22nd June

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(Heck, there are spoilers here. Ya know?)

Let’s face it, series finalés are judged almost solely on how satisfyingly they tie up a story. Just look at the reactions to series like True Detective, The Fall and  Happy Valley in recent months – if a writer doesn’t get it right there’s hell to pay. (Indeed I wrote a thing about endings right here.) So what did I make of the ending to Fargo, a series that I’ve enjoyed hugely? On the one hand it was very satisfying. If series like The Fall and The Killing have taught us anything it’s do not, under any circumstances, leave any loose ends. (Be prepared to brave a tsunami of angry, shortchanged fans if you do.) Fargo ticked pretty much all the important boxes with almost breathtaking efficiency. We got our much-anticipated showdown between Lester and Malvo, and after that both of them met their fate in contrasting but decisive ways. Continue reading

Review: Wallander (S3 E6/6), Saturday 21st June

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(Here be spoilers)

Well, your humble reviewer feels both deflated and elated, but is not sure which emotion should take precedence. Why? Last night was the final episode (ever, not just the end of the series) of a drama that is one of the most important around. If there had been no Wallander would there have been a Killing or a Bridge? Probably not. Wallander laid the ground work, but now it’s all over. Did they give him a good send off? Continue reading

The 10 Best Wallander Episodes

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It’s the last ever episode of Wallander tomorrow night (Saturday 21st June) and we couldn’t really mark the occasion without doffing our cap and doing something listy. Lest we forget, Henning Mankell’s archetypal obsessed, wracked and tormented Scandinavian cop has blazed a trail – well, more like scowled a trail – for a new breed of Swedish and Danish shows that have found global success. We have no idea how tommorrow night’s finale is going to go, but until then here are our 10 favourite episodes. So in no particular order…

Interview: Georgina Campbell, Murdered By My Boyfriend

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My ManOver the past few days we’ve been going to town on BBC Three’s harrowing portrayal of domestic violence in the one-off drama, Murdered by My Boyfriend. In it we meet Ashley (played by Georgina Campbell) and Reece (Royce Pierreson), a young couple who meet in an entirely normal, conventional way and fall in love. But over the course of three years we see the relationship descend into a horrifying living hell of domestic violence, bullying and manipulation as Reece’s true, paranoid colours start to bleed through. Yesterday we talked to director Paul Andrew Williams, and today I was lucky enough to talk to Georgina, who does such a fine job in the lead role. (Remember, this is based on a true story, so there must have been extra pressure to put in a good performance.) After the jump you’ll hear from Georgina, who gave us all a real insight in what it’s like to act in an intense, tough drama like Murdered By My Boyfriend. Continue reading

Trailer: Gotham

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The more I see of Gotham – the much trumpeted Batman prequel coming to US TV network Fox in the autumn (and almost without question the UK very soon after, just as soon as someone announces they’ve snapped it up) – the more it looks like a police drama. It stars Ben McKenzie as a young Police Commissioner James Gordon (a rookie detective here) and a bevy of familiar characters all in their formative years. There’s Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), crime boss Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) (she isn’t in her formative years) and the young thief who becomes Catwoman (Camren Bicondova). Not to mention a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), who isn’t shown in the latest trailer, which is after the jump. Continue reading