Summer is supposed to be a quiet time on television, not least in crime drama. But the simple fact of the matter is that there’s just SO much stuff at the moment. Which is why I thought I’d bring this little feature back, to help everyone (including myself) navigate the crowded crime drama waters safely and without too much confusion. So what’s happening this week? ‘New’ Agatha Christie, continuing Jordskott, Witnesses and True Detective and the new series of New Tricks. Who said this summer is quiet?
1. The Agatha Christie Hour *NEW REPEAT SERIES*
We’re in full-on Agatha Christie mode, thanks to the 125th anniversary of her birth this year, and this little gem, first broadcast in 1982, is a must-watch even though each of the 10 stories aren’t necessarily all about crime. Instead Britain’s favourite crime novelist displays a diversity not normally associated with the mind behind Miss Marple and Poirot. This series features everything from romances and stories with supernatural twists to whimsical comedies, and populated with lesser-known characters like Parker Pyne – a retired statistician who has turned his gift for finding patterns in data to solving the problem of unhappiness. Look out for guest appearances from some of British television’s biggest names of the era, including the likes of Linda Robson, Roy Kinnear, John Nettles, Amanda Redman, Cherie Lunghi and Rupert Everett.
Monday 3rd – Friday 7th August, 8pm, Drama
Hands up who’s been keeping up with this bonkers Swedish supernatural crime thriller? We’re into the penultimate episode this week and things are hotting up for the likes of Eva Thörnblad, her incapacitated daughter Josefine and do-it-all policeman Göran Wass. With five more children taken by Muns, time is running out. We also get to find out another secret about Eva’s father, Johan, and find out who has really been behind the whole campaign to destroy the forest.
Wednesday 5th August, 10pm, ITV Encore
This excellent French procedural has hit the half-way stage (already?!!) and there are more twists, turns and revelations tonight, chiefly concerning Maisonneuve’s role in the original Kaz Gorbier case. Eva, meanwhile, has to deal with her unravelling personal life as well as a new show home display.
Wednesday 5th August, 10pm, Channel 4
4. New Tricks *NEW SERIES*
It’s time for the 12th and final series of this ratings beast, and it takes a turn for the gritty. In part one of a special double episode, Gerry is spooked by the discovery of UCOS’ latest victim: a cop, whose body has laid untouched under a basement for 30 years. As deep-rooted accusations of police corruption and underhand dealings begin to surface, Gerry has to face up to some skeletons in his own closet, and it’s a race against time for the team to help him before his murky past catches up with him. While babysitting his grandson, Gerry becomes convinced that only he holds the key to the investigation and leaves the team quite literally holding the baby as he goes AWOL in a bid to uncover the truth.
Tuesday 4th August, 9pm, BBC1
5. Ripper Street
It’s great to have this good-looking and stylish Victorian crime drama, even though its future still remains up in the air. This week, a routine murder inquiry in a curiosity shop reveals a secret underground cell. The murder itself may have links to Long Susan’s burgeoning property empire, Obsidian Estates, but Reid is far more concerned as to the identity and whereabouts of that cell’s prisoner, a young girl kept there for many years. We wonder who that young girl could possibly be…
Friday 7th August, 9pm, BBC1
6. True Detective
Yes, series two has been a major disappointment, but there’s still enough to like to keep us going with it and find out who really did kill Caspere. The trailers for episode seven hint that Frank finally comes to terms with the fact that his enemies are finally catching up to him. The episode, entitled Black Maps and Motel Rooms, is also hinting that Ani would be venturing into something totally dangerous as she bids her father farewell with a hug. In the video, Ani’s father tells her to stay safe and stay alive. The teaser video ends with a montage of very intense sequences featuring guns and a devastating punch delivered by Frank Semyon himself.
Monday 3rd August, 9pm, Sky Atlantic
7. Partners In Crime
More frothy fun with Tuppence and Tommy in this 1950s-set adaptation of the Agatha Christie yarn. Tuppence ponders the cryptic message she discovered in the Soho den at the end of episode two, and worries about Tommy who, with his cover blown, is being driven to a remote location by Brown’s gang.
Sunday 9th August, 9pm, BBC1
This hard and violent cop drama starring Antony Starr comes to an end tonight – and next year’s fourth series will be the last, it has been announced. In this series finale Proctor, Rebecca, and Burton join forces to take down the Black Beards in a bloody showdown in Philadelphia.
Thursday 6th August, 10pm, Sky Atlantic
9. Cold Blood
Matthew Kelly stars as a serial killer who has spent his 15 years in prison playing a game of psychological cat-and-mouse with his captors. One of Britain’s most notorious murderers, Brian Wicklow is vilified by the Press and despised by fellow inmates – not least because detectives have never found the body of his last victim. But then, out of the blue, he decides he wants to talk to the police. John Hannah, Jemma Redgrave and David Calder co-star.
Monday 3rd August, 10pm, ITV3
UKTV Freeview channel, Drama, goes right back to the very start of Ian Rankin’s TV adaptations, when John Hannah took the Rebus reigns. In this first episode, a series of chilling murders by someone calling himself The Disciple bear the hallmarks of another series of killings in the 1960s by the so-called Preacher. Rebus is first on the case and has to decide whether these killings are the work of a copycat or of an old serial killer who has come out of retirement.
Sunday 8th August, 9pm, Drama
AND OVER ON RADIO…
The Lives Of Harry Lime *NEW VINTAGE SERIES*
Harry Lime, created by Graham Greene in the film The Third Man, came to BBC radio in The Lives Of Harry Lime. In a highly unusual move for the early 1950s, the BBC broadcast a drama series that it hadn’t made itself. His radio adventures were the idea of radio, TV and film producer Harry Alan Towers. It was an idea that lured actor and cinema auteur Orson Welles to British radio. There he recreated the great anti-hero he played in director Carol Reed’s classic 1949 film. Harry Lime, the charming villain, the man who observed that 500 years of democracy and peace in Switzerland had only produced the cuckoo clock, who was memorably chased by the police through the sewers of Vienna.Anton Karas, who originally performed the famous music for the film, also provided the zither music for the radio series. Harry’s tales begin with loose talk of $75,000 in jewels, when he meets the wife a fellow passenger on board a ship bound for Honolulu. A total of 16 episodes of The Lives Of Harry Lime went out on BBC Light Programme in 1951 and 1952.
Monday 3rd August – Friday 7th August, 6am, BBC Radio 4 Extra
Silk – The Clerks Room *NEW SERIES*
This drama series, by Mick Collins, is inspired by the BBC One legal show, Silk, which was created by Peter Moffat. Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko, it features the same core cast and characters from the TV show’s clerks’ room: Neil Stuke, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Amy Wren and John Macmillan. Following the cuts to Legal Aid, the pressure is mounting on Shoe Lane barristers’ chambers. Head Clerk, Billy Lamb, anticipates that they are on the brink of financial collapse and makes a desperate bid to secure work from an unscrupulous solicitor. But his wheeler-dealing creates unease in the clerks’ room and he soon finds himself at loggerheads with his star barrister, Rose Parker.
Monday 3rd August, 2.15pm, BBC Radio 4
Mr Chartwell *NEW SERIES*
Rebecca Hunt’s drama is billed as a ‘dark and quirky psychological thriller about depression’. Set across five days in July 1964 we follow the bizarrely intertwined lives of Sir Winston Churchill, Esther Hammerhans and the unwelcome visitor they both share. The day looms when Winston Churchill must leave Parliament. Meanwhile Esther, a library clerk, has her own black date in the diary. She also has an unusual visitor. Reader is Miriam Margolyes.
Monday 3rd August – Friday 7th August, 2.15pm, BBC Radio 4 Extra