Review: The Interceptor (S1 E4/8), Wednesday 1st July, BBC1

Programme Name: The Interceptor - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 4) - Picture Shows:  Alison (LISA HAMMOND), Ash (OT FAGBENLE) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Des Willie

We are half way through The Interceptors’ increasingly weary war against drugs and this episode found me reaching for my class C benzodiazepines for some blessed relief. It begins with Ash (OT Fagbenle) and the rest of Unit trailing after Forsberg “the Viking” (Ooh, is it suddenly about to go all Nordic cool on us? No such luck.) They’re just following the Lidl version of Hansel from Zoolander, rather ineptly, to see which kingpin he’s batting for – and luckily it’s our old mate Docker (Gary Beadle), Roach’s scumbag number two. Small world, isn’t it? Luckier still, the cash with the bank tracking device that Docker and co lost then regained last week is still in play for Unit to follow.

 Heavyweight trafficker Forsberg (he’s slim; it is his H consignments that are hefty) is a flash bastard and calls almost as much attention to himself with his snazzy rented black Audis and his glam but terminally dim nail tech girlfriend (Tiana Benjamin, EastEnders’ Chelsea Fox) as Ash does on surveillance in his Alfa. 

“Walking pint of Guinness at ten o’clock,” sneers Ash to Martin (Charlie de Melo) as they watch the Rutger Hauer wannabe from a position at silly-mid-on – subsequently losing him almost immediately as he drives into the City. There’s no real progression; it all drags on in one note like a child playing Chopsticks – badly – with The Viking playing cat-and-mouse with them in and out of London City Airport to Scandi territory. Fortunately, the nicely bolshie car rental girl (Lisa Hammond – Helen in Vera) takes pity on Ash and helps him to bug the rental car on Forsberg’s return to the UK. 

Meanwhile, Roach (Trevor Eve), whom we learn parlayed his way to drug lord through his scaffolding company, is getting impatient; he is running out of product to sell and wants a way into the Scandi supply route and Forsberg bumped off after he’s made the connection for them.

Ash’s family not only has a liar for a husband and father, it also suffers from being criminally underwritten. When you have a super-sympathetic actress like lovely Jo Joyner playing Lorna, the hero’s wife, she deserves a few better lines than the colouring-by-numbers dross she’s had so far (and no sniggering at the back – all of us would like to forget the name Ian Beale, given half the chance). And her dad is played by the marvellously dry David Troughton – but all we know about him is that he’s an ex-cop and he’s got some as yet unspecified illness that he says is in remission, but which is certain to rebound on his loved ones. One of whom, amazingly, is the one-dimensional Ash. Mind you, it’s going to be a photo-finish as to what hurts the Ashton family first – grand-dad falling ill again or Ash leading the baddies right to their home – next week if we’re any judge of these matters.

And if Unit is so clever as to agitate Cartwright’s top-cop nemesis Stannard (Simon Armstrong), why is it that none of the operatives knows that colleagues Kim and Martin are now sleeping together? Not that it really matters as Stannard’s mole – Kim’s ex, Connor – has managed to inveigle his way back into Kim’s flat to keep an eye on Unit’s investigations to see if they are systematically letting villains off the hook to get to the bigger prize.

Anyway, if anyone is still interested in what laughingly passes as a plot, the whole farrago inevitably ends up with a fist-fight in a vat of oil in a light industrial unit as Ash and co arrive just as Forsberg is about to hand over the stash to Docker, while Docker and a dopey oppo aim to shoot him.

Ash zooms in, fired up with righteous rage as, coincidentally, Forsberg had attempted to kill an ex-junkie whom Ash was helping back on the straight and narrow. Like I said, the telly underworld is a very small one.

The upshot is that Ash and Docker have seen each other up close. Don’t answer your front door next week, Lorna, it won’t be the Avon lady.

If you love telly it is quite painful watching decent actors flogging their guts out for a turkey that is patently never going to take flight. Can we start up a crowdfunding effort to buy them a half-convincing script? Oh, for the days when BBC dramas dared to kill off a main character in a series’ first outing – death by deep fat fryer now looks inspired. 

Whereas better-crafted series could raise our expectations with some snarkily self-regarding dialogue scattered here and there, the turgid platitudes here merely drag down any hope we might have of dramatic diversion. The crims are crappy and Plod lives up to its name.

Deborah Shrewsbury

For our episode one review, go here

For our episode two review, go here

For our episode three review, go here


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