BBC Four: Channel WILL continue to show crime drama acquisitions

Fans of BBC Four descended into panic mode earlier on this week when it was revealed that the channel would cease to commission any new shows.

According to The Guardian newspaper, the channel would “cease commissioning new programmes and become an archive-focused channel as part of the ongoing significant cost-cutting drive across the corporation”.

The channel’s charter for 2022 said that cost-cutting and an increased budget into arts and culture programmes on BBC Two would affect its sister channel.

“This approach will necessitate a shift away from commissioning a high volume of lower-cost programmes on BBC Four, which are less effective at reaching audiences on the channel and on iPlayer,” the charter said.

However, speaking to The Killing Times, a spokesperson for the channel said: “BBC Four will continue to be the home of International drama, building on its rich history of bringing the very best drama series from around the world to UK audiences. 

“As we have done in the past, we will also, when appropriate, play International drama on BBC Two and it will continue be a key part of our drama offer on BBC iPlayer.”

During the past decade, BBC Four has become the home of foreign-language crime drama in its 9pm, Saturday-night primetime slot.

Effectively starting the Nordic Noir wave in the UK, the channel debuted hits including The Killing, The Bridge and the Montalbano series. Recently, Danish true-crime adaptation, The Investigation, aired on BBC Two.

Walter Presents names transmission date for Ice Cold Murders: Rocco Schiavone

An unorthodox Italian police commissioner finds himself far from his beloved Rome when he is transferred to a mountain station where a murderer is at large in Ice Cold Murders: Rocco Schiavone.

The series has found a home in the UK thanks to Walter Presents.

And now we know when the six-part series will be on.

After getting on the wrong side of the wrong people in Rome, Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone (Antonio Manzini) is exiled to Aosta, a small, touristy alpine town far from the cobbled streets and fritto misto of his beloved city.

Rocco’s talent for solving crimes is matched only by his disdain for the rules and his eye for a beautiful woman. But when a mangled body is found on the ski slopes, he soon discovers that his Roman sophistication – not to mention his expensive Roman shoes – are of little help in this dangerous and unfamiliar mountain landscape. With blood on the black run, rumours of mafia involvement and a murderer at large, Deputy Police Chief Schiavone is about to find himself skating on very thin ice…

Ice Cold Murders: Rocco Schiavone: From 30th April, More4

Too Close on ITV: When is it on?

Too Close on ITV is set to be next big crime launch on the channel, and boasts a cracking trailer as well as a stellar cast.

And now we know when it’s on.

The three-part series focuses on the compelling and dangerous relationship between forensic psychiatrist Dr Emma Robertson (Emily Watson) who is assigned to work with Connie Mortensen (Denise Gough) a woman accused of a heinous crime but who claims she can’t remember a thing.

Further more, ITV has revealed that it will be stripped across three nights.

Too Close: From Monday 12th April, 9pm, ITV

Unforgotten recommissioned for a fifth series by ITV

Unforgotten fans where left in emotional limbo last night, when the death of Cassie Stuart caused them to weep openly, as well as hope and pray for a new, fifth series.

And now ITV has confirmed that Chris Lang will be back for a fifth run of the outstanding British crime drama.

Furthermore, ITV said that Sanjeev Bhaskar will return as Sunny Khan, but will be joined by a new, as-yet-unnamed new partner.

ITV said: “ITV would like to thank Nicola Walker for playing the brilliant role of Cassie Stuart in four series of Unforgotten which has become one of the best-loved and most critically acclaimed police dramas on TV.

“Nicola and writer Chris Lang decided that Cassie’s story would come to an end last night but that Unforgotten would continue, in series five, with a new case, and a new ‘Partner in Crime’ for DI Sunny Khan.”

In response, Sanjeev Bhaskar tweeted his reaction to the news.

He said: “Delighted @ITV has recommissioned @UnforgottenTV & more of @ChrisLangWriter’s fab writing.

“I’ll continue to watch & learn from #NicolaWalker as I’ve done these past 5 years, glowing with pride as my friend excels in everything she does.

“She’s a personal & national treasure.”

More news as we get it.


REVIEW Unforgotten (S4 E6/6)

There haven’t been many greater shocks in British detective TV than last week’s traumatic car crash in which Cassie was side-swiped by a speeding vehicle. Not only did it come completely out of the blue, but it also left so many unanswered questions – is the collision anything to do with the murder case? Could Cassie survive? Could the series continue without her? 

We’ve been on the edge of our seats for a week, so whatever transpires it will be a relief of tension, buit we don’t think we could cope with the end of the Cassie/Sunny team-up.

To recap, it’s become clear that several of the student cop suspects in the death of a low-life, Matthew Walsh, have conspired to cover up the crime – but who actually dunnit, was it accident or murder, who concealed the body, and who just kept schtum? 

Cassie’s in a mess after the accident, and several of the suspects have been out in their cars – Sonny calls Cassie’s son and father, and boyfriend John, but the signs aren’t good – major surgery is required. Sunny’s impulsive proposal to Sal may be a result of his disturbed state of mind.   

Ram Sidhu feels that he’s being set up by the other suspects – well, Fiona Grayson has implicated him, and the landlady in the pub has testified to him fighting with Matthew Walsh, and he’s been having some shady financial dealings with Dean Barton and with a corrupt Customs officer – but Ram denies any bribery, corruption or involvement with drugs smuggling, and blames Rob (conveniently now dead).

Cassie gets through surgery, and her dad sits over her promising things will be back to normal – slim hope, we think. Meanwhile Sunny sets his team on investigating the suspects’ cars, and another thread develops – victim Matthew’s son Jerome (James Craze) visits his uncle Clive (David Schofield), who was a witness to the build-up to the death. Oddly, this doesn’t lead anywhere.

Pulled in for questioning, Dean Barton claims he was asleep for part of the fateful car journey, and had nothing to do with the removal of the body of Walsh, but Sunny tasks him with his financial dealings with Sidhu, and also realises that Dean’s criminal family may have had a beef with Matthew Walsh, who might have killed his brother. When the serial number of the Cigne pen found at the murder scene traces back to Dean, it looks like his goose is cooked.

Faced with the inevitable, Dean confesses that he found the unconscious Walsh and killed him in revenge for his brother’s death – so the others were innocent of the killing, if not of covering it up. ‘I tried to escape my past, I failed at the first hurdle’, Dean admits – ‘we are who we are, I don’t think you can ever change that’.

Ram Sidhu goes down for cocaine smuggling in collusion with Dean Barton, while still trying to deflect blame from himself; and he, Liz Baildon and Fiona Grayson are charged with preventing a lawful burial – so that’s Liz Baildon’s police career down the pan. But Fiona’s husband sticks with her.

Cassie’s accident, it transpires, was just that – the other car had been stolen by a youngster. But her brain damage is so severe that she won’t recover. Sunny’s as stunned as we are; he delivers the eulogy at her funeral, and visits her grave, where the epitaph reads “She longest lives, who most to others gives, herself forgetting.”

As a summary of Cassie’s career this is the perfect send-off, but we’re stunned that writer Chris Lang has brought to an end one of the most satisfying if understated partnerships in detective TV. 

In terms of the complexity and surprise elements of the case, some viewers have felt that this season has been weak, too predictable and too soapy – but in a sense, we can see what the writer was working up to. The sense of tragedy at the end is all the greater because we had spent more time with Cassie’s family problems, and the case was what it was – each character’s flaws and failings examined and exposed in turn. 

So can Unforgotten continue without Cassie (Nicola Walker)? We’d be happy to see it return with Sunny and a new partner, but the tragedy of Cassie’s death, when she had her retirement, her boyfriend and a repaired relationship with her father to look forward to, will leave us with the taste of ashes for some time to come.

Cassie Stuart will indeed be unforgotten.

Chris Jenkins


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Rating: 4 out of 5.






Series four of Unforgotten is now available to watch on ITV Hub in the UK

REVIEW Line Of Duty (S6 E2/7)

The all-new sixth series of Line Of Duty kicked off last week not with its customary bang, but more of an intriguing simmerer of a set-up that promised more explosive moments down the line.

And in this second episode, you could say the same – there were callbacks aplenty, and also the first appearance of the series’ patented long and utterly engrossing interrogation scenes.

A lot of viewers were rather taken back by the proliferation of the word CHIS last week (an informant, basically), which, in turn, led to Terry Boyle, which in turn led to Carl Banks.

However, Banks was found dead in this episode, which absolutely suggests that someone higher up is pulling the strings.

Was it Jo Davidson, leader of Operation Lighthouse? Was it Farida Jatri, who was bitter at the break up of their relationship? Or… was it PCC Rohan Sindwhani?

The Commish appeared in series five, and also appeared in some of the TV reports Arnott, Bishop and Hastings looked into. In fact, these archive reports – and indeed the character of Gail Vella herself – provided a through line right from Arnott’s early days in anti-terrorism, right through to series three’s storyline of Fairbank and the paedophile ring that abused Danny Waldron and other boys at the Sands View home. Vella had investigated them all, and Sindwhani had denied systemic corruption within the force on the steps of the courthouse.

We got to find out more about Vella’s own investigative journalism tonight. To Arnott and Bishop’s surprise, her producer told them that she had been working on a podcast before she was murdered, and that her flat had been burgled around the same time.

Why was the burglary not mentioned in Operation Lighthouse’s report?

That was enough for AC-12 to spring into action.

Arnott (who had been promoted by Hastings to DI) tipped off Kate (in that underpass, no less) that they were about to move and offered her one last chance to help with the investigation on an undercover basis.

Kate not only refused but, in turn, tipped off Davidson and her team. They found a legal loophole and applied to Sindwhani for a delay on the raid.

Hastings was not happy.

So did Sindwhani delay the raid on purpose, giving time to whoever might be a bent copper within the team to bury what they needed to bury?

Another callback was the re-emergence of Ryan Pilkington.

A teenage member of Tommy Hunter’s gang in series one (and yes, Kate did interview him), we saw him as a grown-up slitting the throat of John Corbett in series five and then, sensationally, become a police officer.

And here he was, now in uniform taking the place of Farida Jatri after she was transferred.

Kate half-recognised him. What’s the betting at some point down the line when things get hot it’ll all come back to her?

And so we come to series six’s first interrogation scene.

I don’t mind telling you that I cannot wait for these scenes every time Line Of Duty comes around again. They’re extraordinarily well acted, choreographed, directed and edited, and have provided the show with some of the stand-out moments from the past decade of crime drama.

They’re almost like episodes within an episode, and are helpful when it comes to recapping the often complicated storylines.

Episode six of series five was a pretty good one, as was Lindsay Denton’s fantastic table-turning in series two, so how did this opener rate with Jo Davidson?

For sure, she gave as good as she good, and there was an about turn, of sorts. Seemingly on the ropes, she had to admit that Hastings’ theory that only an inside man or woman could have known Carl Banks whereabouts was correct. Not necessarily a stunner, but a nice little twist in the scene.

She then recommended to AC-12 they it searches the homes of the other officers who knew about Carl Banks in the same timeframe she did – Farida Jatri, Chris Lomax (he of the deep, golden voice) and Ian Buckells (he of the not so deep, golden voice).

And of course, they found a hole cache of burner phones at Farida’s place. She tearfully claimed that Jo had set her up.

The closing scene?

Jo Davidson was released from custody after Jatri was arrested, and drove straight to a deserted car park, where she picked up a package containing a (new) burner. Upon taking the phone, she burst into tears and hammered on the windows of her car in despair.

Oooo, she’s a wrong ‘un alright. But is she? This is Line Of Duty after all. And she’s obviously been blackmailed, but by who, and why?

Another very good episode, which provided plenty to sink our teeth into. Jed Mercurio is just so good at threading lines through from one series to the next and beyond, and you just know hardcore fans will adore all the re-emerging characters.

We’re still waiting for that really big bang, but this is beautifully constructed so far and absolutely thrilling.

For your consideration:

  • Another familiar face reappeared – Steph Corbett, wife of John. Ted helped her out with some of the cash that was used to set him up at the end of series five, so what was/is she doing back in this series? She met with Ted, and then Steve, suspicious of his boss, drove to Liverpool to have a chat with her.
  • Speaking of Steve, he’s not a happy bunny, is he? He’s popping the painkillers like Skittles and he wasn’t exactly overjoyed when Hastings gave him his promotion. The lad needs a holiday, especially when he can’t sit down without wincing in pain.
  • Are Steve and Steph going to get it on? They seemed close and Steve is not exactly averse to shagging witnesses, colleagues, suspects and basically anything that moves.
  • Kate and Jo continue to get closer, and agree to go on a date, of sorts. But I’m still not convinced – I think Hastings (despite his antipathy towards Kate) placed her as a secret plant and that she is undercover at The Hill.
  • I’m still a bit iffy about the inclusion of Jimmy Savile in Line Of Duty. I know Mercurio made sound arguments for his inclusion the first time in series three, but for me, when it comes to something fictional, the appearance of a real-life character feels jarring. And when it comes to someone as heinous as Savile, slightly nauseating.
  • There was another real-life reference in Gail Vella’s investigations – the Untold Murders podcast and Daniel Morgan, a private investigator who was murdered in South London in 1987. He was said to be close to exposing police corruption. Again, not sure about this…
  • Liking new AC-12 member Chloe Bishop, and her adorable little faux pas when it comes to office and disciplinary etiquette.
  • During the Davidson interview scene, how nice was it to see a competent lawyer sitting in for a change? We’ve had some real clunkers in the past.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


The 10 Best Crime Dramas This Week (Monday 29th March – Sunday 4th April)

It’s a sad week for Unforgotten fans, as series four’s finale airs on Monday. Will Cassie survive? Will there be another series? Elsewhere, we have Spanish procedural Bitter Daisies on Netflix and more new Line Of Duty and The Flight Attendant. Enjoy!

S6 E3/7

On the strength of evidence from a new witness, Jo brings Terry Boyle back in for questioning about Gail Vella’s murder. Kate is torn between loyalty to Jo and wanting to assist AC-12’s investigation – and tensions only increase when she encounters a face from the past with links to organised crime.
Sunday 4th April, 9pm, BBC One

S4 E6/6

Despite a tragic turn of events, Sunny and the team narrow down the suspects. Will they find conclusive proof of who the murder weapon belonged and succeed in bringing Walsh’s killer to justice?
Monday 29th March, 9pm, ITV

3 The Flight Attendant *NEW UK PREMIERE EPISODE*
S1 E3/8

Upon landing in Rome, Cassie deals with her sudden feelings of loss, and Megan confesses that she has secrets of her own. Back in New York, Cassie doubles down on finding Miranda by unceremoniously crashing Alex’s memorial service. 
Friday 2nd April, 9pm, Sky One

4 Keeping Faith *NEW BBC PREMIERE*
S3 E2/6

Rose comes back into Faith’s life for the first time in 25 years, claiming to want to clear the air before she dies. However, Faith is not sure she can believe or trust her. Osian’s case has its first hearing in court, and Judge Alwen Owens agrees to meet up with him to try to understand what he wants. Steve is racked with guilt over his failure to provide financial stability for his children, and Evan begins spying on Faith.
Saturday 3rd April, 9pm, BBC One

S1 E1-6/6

While investigating the disappearance of a teen girl in a tight-knit Galician town, a Civil Guard officer uncovers secrets linked to a loss of her own.
From Friday 2nd April, Netflix

S1 E5/10

Michael attempts to return to business as usual until he discovers that someone is blackmailing him. Jimmy and Gina Baxter remain committed to avenging their son’s death.
Tuesday 30th March, 9pm, Sky Atlantic

S1 E7/10

Massimo discovers that the secret dossier hides a liquidity recycling scheme between NYL and a big German bank, used by Dominic to implement an intercontinental plot to preserve the dollar’s hegemony.
Wednesday 31st March, 9pm, Sky Atlantic

S14 E11/11

Murdoch quickly realises that the boy who tried to avenge Anna’s murder is his son. Ogden is stunned but eager to accept the boy out of love for Murdoch.
Monday 29th March, 9pm, Alibi

9 Midsomer Murders *NEW UK PREMIERE EPISODE*
A local photographer wins an urban myth competition with his creation of the legend of the Wolf Hunter, and the tall tale unexpectedly gains a cult following. However, when a man is killed, Barnaby and Winter must investigate if this myth has become murderous reality.
Sunday 4th April, 8pm, ITV

10 Vera *REPEAT*
S10 E4/4

Wealthy betting shop tycoon Alun Wilmott is shot and killed during a home invasion, leaving his wife and daughter traumatised – with large amounts of cash missing from his personal safe, it is assumed he is the unlucky victim of a burglary. Vera suspects an inside job in the shape of Alun’s head of private security, Ciaran Duggan, whose history of violent crime calls his reformed character into question. Can the team find the evidence to pin the crime on their prime suspect – or are they looking in the wrong place? 
Friday 2nd April, 8pm, ITV

David Tennant to star in new Steven Moffat thriller

Davdi Tennant has been confirmed to star in Steven Moffat’s new four-part drama, Inside Man.

Tennant – who worked with Moffat on Doctor Who – will join Stanley Tucci, Dolly Wells and It’s A Sin’s Lydia Wells in the star-studded cast.

The “captivating” follows a prisoner on death row in the US, a Vicar in a quiet English town, and a maths teacher trapped in a cellar, as they cross paths in the most unexpected way…

We don’t know any other details yet, but we do know that it’s co-production with Netflix, who will show the series outside of the UK and Ireland.

Filming is set to start later this year.

ITV drops first trailer for Too Close

With Unforgotten almost at an end, it looks as though its replacement in the ITV schedules could be the three-part Too Close.

And now we have our first – fantastic-looking – trailer.

Too Close focuses on the compelling and dangerous relationship between forensic psychiatrist Dr Emma Robertson (Emily Watson) who is assigned to work with Connie Mortensen (Denise Gough) a woman accused of a heinous crime but who claims she can’t remember a thing.

Directed by Sue Tully and filmed on location in London (autumn 2020), Emily and Denise are also joined by James Sives, Risteárd Cooper, Chizzy Akudolu, Karl Johnson, Eileen Davies and Nina Wadia.

More news as we get it…