Lots of things happening this week. Namely Twin Peaks, my own personal excitement-stoker. I just hope it’s good. Elsewhere, there’s a new revenge thriller on BBC2 (Paula), and a few series finales: Grantchester, Hinterland, Grantchester and Elementary. Enjoy!
Last night, the first episode of the three-part Three Girls kicked us all in the solar plexus and made us hover on the verge of tears. It told the story of Holly and her young teenage friends who were lured into a hideous paedophile prostitution ring, populated by men in Rochdale. At the end of the episode, Holly was given hope in the form of Maxine Peake’s sexual health worker, Sara Rowbotham, who, unlike the social services and the police, saw Holly as a human being rather than just another teen who lived a certain lifestyle.
About bloody time, many of you will be saying. The third series of Fargo – one of my favourite crime dramas – is already half-way through its run in the US, but we have been starved of it here in the UK. Yes, it’s great news that Channel 4 will once again be broadcasting it on these shores but we’ve had a bit of a wait for it to be announced. Now the waiting is over…
The BBC continuity person doled out lots of warnings – sexual violence, physical violence and all the rest – before this three-part drama (stripped over three nights) started. There was no doubt – if there ever was any doubt – that this was going to be a harrowing, difficult watch. It was the story – another drama based on real-life events – of three girls who had been groomed and horrifically exploited by a paedophile gang (mostly containing, the story goes, Pakistani men, a fact that wasn’t lost during the reporting of the case by the British media when it broke in 2012). Nope, this wasn’t going to be a helter-skelter, fun procedural. It was going to be a very, very difficult watch.
One of the series I’ve gotten a bit behind on is ITV’s four-part adaptation of a true crime, Little Boy Blue. For two episodes we’ve seen how 11-year-old boy Rhys Jones was shot senselessly in a car park in Croxteth, Liverpool in the summer of 2007; and how investigating officer DS Dave Kelly struggled to bring the teenage gang responsible for the killing to justice. It had been powerful and emotional thus far, but – being super-objective – had it been a decent drama? Yes. And no.
Half a decade ago, there was much hullaballoo when US network CBS announced that it was going to broadcast its own version of Sherlock Holmes, starring British actor Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. How dare they? screamed many Holmes die-hards, especially as the announcement was coming (very) soon after the successful Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss reboot for the BBC. While the BBC version became a global success and a bit of an enigma, catapulting Benedict Cumberbatch to superstardom, the US version also proved its worth. If the BBC’s Sherlock is all bangs and whistles and narrative pyrotechnics, the US version – Elementary – resembles a long-running and often deeply satisfying police procedural. And now it has been renewed for a sixth series.
I’ve not been able to dedicate as much time to the site as much as I would have liked in the past few weeks due to real-life work, and I kind of thought that this week might be nice and quiet. But no. There’s another harrowing drama based on real-life events (Three Girls, starring the fabulous Maxine Peake), and the start of the final two episodes of Inspector George Gently (which I enjoy, although I know others find deathly dull). There’s also the finale of Little Boy Blue, and, wait for it, Kat & Alfie: Redwater (Thursday 18th May, 8pm, BBC1), which didn’t make the final cut. Yes, you read that correctly – Eastenders characters Kat and Alfie Moon in their own spin-off drama series. Which turns out to be a crime drama. Make of that what you will.