Review: SS-GB (S1 E5/5), Sunday 19th March, BBC1


(C) Sid Gentle Films Ltd – Photographer: Laurie Sparham

I approached the finale of SS-GB, the good-looking conspiracy thriller, with some optimism just about intact. There had been flickers of life in this stodgy tale of alternative history, but so often when things threatened to spark they petered out and sunk into drudgery. Gorgeous-looking drudgery, mind. Still, it was the finale and there seemed to be a lot to fit in: would Archer and Harry manage to escort the infirm King out of the country? How would Britain rid themselves of the occupying Nazis?

NB: Spoilers inside Continue reading


Interview: Brenda Blethyn, Vera


Series seven of Vera starts tonight (Sunday 19th March) on ITV in the UK, and, as ever, it showcases the talents of one of Britain’s finest actors – Brenda Blethyn. Adapted from crime writing legend Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope novels, the series has become a bit of a Sunday-night institution. Series seven starts when Vera investigates the body of a wildlife ranger, found on a remote island off the coast of Northumberland. Her death is at first assumed to be an accident, since she was alone on the island when she died, but marks on the body seem to point to murder. A few weeks ago I went along to ITV’s HQ to chat to Brenda about Vera. But with Brenda it’s never just about one thing – she’s just a hoot and a delight, with an infectious laugh and an endless stream of stories. Have a read after the jump… Continue reading

Val McDermid announces New Blood panel for this years Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing festival


Regular readers will know that I like to get out and about and go to a few crime literature festivals across the year, and then report back here on some of the panels and some of the words spoken within them. Arguably the biggest is the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, held at the Old Swan hotel. One of my highlights every year at the festival is the New Blood panel, where crime writing legend, Val McDermid, hosts a panel comprising four authors who have published debut novels during the past year (or are about to publish). Val herself picks the panellists – which is a ringing endorsement in itself – and this year, the panel has been announced ahead of time.  Continue reading

The 10 Best Crime Dramas This Week (Monday 20th – Sunday 26th March)


(C) World Productions – Photographer: Des Willie/ Aidan Monaghan

It’s as you were this week, with new episodes of Broadchurch, Midnight Sun, Fortitude and Vera and the like, except for one major addition – the start of series four of Line Of Duty. This time around Thandie Newton steps into the shoes of the person who’s being investigated by AC-12, but as ever you’re never quite sure of her guilt or innocence and we all know that this will take on quite the rollercoaster ride over its six episodes. Enjoy! Continue reading