Tag Archives: British Crime Drama

Cast announced for Alibi’s Ragdoll

UK crime drama channel Alibi has joined forced with US cable service AMC for a new, six-part series.

Based on the novel by Daniel Cole, the story revolves around the murder of six people whose bodies have been dismembered and sewn into the shape of one grotesque body.

Deadline says: “Assigned to the shocking case are DS Nathan Rose, recently reinstated to the London Met; his best friend and boss, DI Emily Baxter; and the unit’s new recruit, DC Lake Edmunds.

“The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by sending them a list of his next victims, with Rose’s name at the very end. With the victims to protect, our heroes soon come under intense public scrutiny.”

Production company, Sid Gentle Films, confirmed that production had started in London.

The cast includes Henry Lloyd-Hughes and Thalissa Teixeira, who we last saw in ITV’s Too Close.

ITV announces new crime drama from the creator of Shetland and Vera

Award-winning novelist Ann Cleeves’ new creation – Detective Matthew Venn – is coming to television.

The creator of Shetland and Vera released the first novel in her new series – The Long Call – in 2019, and now it has been picked up by ITV for adaptation.

The story centres around Detective Inspector Matthew Venn, who has returned to live in a small community in North Devon with his husband, Jonathan. It’s a place Matthew walked away from 20 years ago, after being rejected by his family. 

We first meet the reserved, but intense Matthew Venn outside the local church as his father’s funeral takes place. Sadly, the day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too.  

Now he’s back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major murder.  A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew’s new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, has been stabbed to death.

Through Venn and his team’s investigation, we are introduced to a wonderfully rich ensemble of characters, in a compelling crime story which captures the stark beauty of the North Devon coastline, and a community where murder and intrigue bubble beneath the surface. 

There’s no word on casting yet, so watch this space.



ITV confirms transmission date for McDonald & Dodds

Another big crime show starting on ITV soon is brand-new cop show McDonald & Dodds.

Previously called Invisible, it’s set in Bath, and we’re two feature-length films that pair the wildly ambitious DCI McDonald (Tala Gouveia) with the shy, modest DS Dodds (Jason Watkins). While McDonald has transferred from the mean streets of South London to leap up the career ladder, Dodds has happily languished on the shelf for most of his working life.

McDonald is a tough, driven, battering ram of a cop who cracks cases through sheer force of will; Dodds – the tortoise to her hare – is quiet, unassuming and enigmatic. But thrust back into frontline action for the first time in a decade, he discovers a hidden talent for deciphering puzzles.

Two contemporary Britons, seemingly with nothing in common, thrown together, boss McDonald and loyal sidekick Dodds forge a rumbustious, entertaining and ultimately – give or take a few setbacks – effective partnership.

Each episode takes us into a new story world – from a greed-fueled murder in the upper echelons of Bath society to an unexplained death in a private hospital for recovering addicts. With a classic crime story at its heart, Invisible combines intriguing plots and the journey of two ‘fish-out-of-water’ detectives with warmth and humour.

McDonald & Dodds: Sunday 1st March, 8pm, ITV


Sky Atlantic orders adaptation of CJ Skuse’s Sweetpea

Sky Atlantic has ordered a new eight-part adaptation of CJ Skuse’s celebrated Sweetpea novel.

It tells the story of Rhiannon, your average girl next door, who is living quietly with her boyfriend and little dog. By day her job as an office manager is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friends’ plans for marriage and babies. Rhiannon never complains, smiling through it all with reserves of serenity and a sparkling wit. She has become skilled at keeping it together.

Being normal. But behind this mask is a ferocious power lying dormant, and a long-buried secret that Rhiannon wishes she could forget. When a chance encounter with a stranger leads to a shocking act of violence, Rhiannon’s mask slips completely and she is forced to confront the darker side she has long kept hidden. The girl everyone overlooks might just be able to get away with murder.

More news as we get it.

BBC One orders new Harry and Jack Williams Australian-set thrille The Tourist

The Missing and Baptiste creators Harry and Jack Williams are never short of an idea or three, and BBC One has picked up their next one.

The six-episode The Tourist follows a British tourist who, in the glowing red heart of the Australian outback, is pursued by a vast tank truck trying to drive him off the road. An epic cat and mouse chase unfolds and the man later wakes in hospital, hurt, but somehow alive. Except he has no idea who he is. With merciless figures from his past pursuing him, The Man’s search for answers propels him through the vast and unforgiving outback.

The BBC calls the series ‘a character-driven mystery packed thriller, full of shocking, surprising, funny and brutal turns’. Set in a world populated by quirky, enigmatic characters, off-beat black comedy punctuates high-stakes action. The series twists and turns through the dusty outback of Australia, to the frantic noise and lights of Singapore, and to the calm, luxury white-sand beaches of Bali.

At its heart, however, is a story of self-discovery with a ticking timebomb underneath: As The Man starts to uncover the mystery of who he was, he’s also forced to ask who he is now – and fast. Will he unlock the secrets of his identify before those who are trying to kill him catch up with him?

Existential questions sit alongside breathless storytelling, in a very real and very human story that everyone can relate to, played out across the almost mythic, landscape of the outback, a modern-day Wild West.

Harry and Jack Williams, Writers and Managing Directors of Two Brothers Pictures, say: “The Tourist is a departure from anything we’ve written before. It isn’t an easy show to categorise – so we won’t. We are, however, hugely excited to have Chris Sweeney on board as director, and to be making this for the BBC. We’re thankful for their support of this ambitious project.”

More news as we get it.

Elizabeth Is Missing transmission date confirmed by writer

One of the shows we’re looking forward to very much is BBC One’s Elizabeth Is Missing.

The good news is that it’s just around the corner.

An intriguing-sounding mystery, it marks the return to television by legendary actress Glenda Jackson.

The one-off drama combines a gripping mystery with a tender yet unflinching exploration of one woman’s struggle with dementia.

When her best friend Elizabeth goes missing, Maud is convinced that something terrible has happened, and sets out to solve the mystery. But with her dementia worsening, unfinished business unearthed and the past and present starting to merge, Maud’s search takes on a poignant urgency. Will Maud be able to discover the truth before she loses herself completely?

Now, writer Andre Gibb has revealed on social media when the show will go out.

REVIEW: A Confession (S1 E5/6)

It’s time for me to catch up with A Confession, ITV’s retelling of the story of DS Steve Fulcher, a murderer, Christopher Halliwell, and two of his victims – Sian O’Callaghan and Becky Godden – as well as seismic trauma suffered by the victims’ families.

So far, we’ve seen Fulcher catch a killer by unconventional methods, and those methods deemed against PACE guidelines. And because of these discrepancies, Halliwell was only sent down for one of the murders he confessed to.

In the episode, we saw Fulcher – not Halliwell – taken to the cleaners.

Already fighting an allegation of police malpractice by the feckless father of Becky Godden, he was also having to fight off an allegation that he gave an unsolicited interview with a journalist when he was expressly told not to. We saw he had met with the journalist at the end of episode four, so he was bang to rights for that one, but serious malpractice?

It seemed that the Wiltshire police had it in for Fulcher. So much so he was suspended from duty with immediate effects and humiliated in his home after all of his work items were confiscated. In front of his mother and father-in-law, too.

One person who was in his corner was Becky’s mother Karen. An extraordinary woman, she was still fighting the good fight when it came to trying to bring Halliwell to trial for the murder of her daughter. She was failing – not because of any lack of determination or incredible stamina keeping Becky in the public eye (she got the support of her local MP and staged demos) – but because time and time again the law just kept saying no.

As for Fulcher, he was found guilty of all the charges against him and received a final written warning.

Wiltshire police continued to do him down and he sent to the police equivalent of Siberia – managing a police van service. It was rank humiliation and he couldn’t take it any longer. He quit.

There’s no doubt about it – this has been an extraordinary story, with a lot of layers. Some of them you just couldn’t make up.

Not just because of a fascinating and gripping procedural element that was heavily featured in the first two episodes, but because of the subsequent fall-out and the moral dilemma both Fulcher and his superiors subsequently faced. And it has been these moral dilemmas that have been tilted towards in these final few episodes: even if you know you’re sort-of-kind-of breaking the rules, do you do so, knowing that you can get a cast-iron confession and perhaps save a life? Do you do so knowing that you would be helping a family who had not seen their daughter for five or six years and desperately needed answers?

What really distances A Confession from a straight retelling, however, is the human aspect in all this mess. Elaine (a superb Siobhan Finneran) and her family still grapple with their past and future – Elaine’s partner is becoming oddly pushy and is a little sinister (see the can of Coke from the fridge incident).

Fulcher’s own domestic life is also starting to fall apart. Since his suspension he’s taken to smoking in the house, moping and not showering. His wife is at the end of her tether. Their relationship is beginning to fall apart.

Even though they were hard to watch – it’s never easy seeing families deal with the unthinkable – these human side-stories are what make A Confession not only stand out from the crowd, but, strangely, give it soul… even though the everyone in this story has had there’s ripped out.

Paul Hirons





Alibi announces new series We Hunt Together

UKTV crime channel, Alibi, is now fully in on the business of producing original content.

The home of Murdoch Mysteries and Miss Fisher has announced a new six-part series – We Hunt Together – written by Cheat’s Gaby Hull.

The series begins with the collision of two people: Babeni (Baba), a former child soldier desperate to suppress his predisposition for violence, and Freddy, a magnetic and disarmingly charming free spirit. When Baba rescues Freddy from an attack following a date that has turned sour, something dark is ignited in them both.

It also follows DI Lola Franks and DCI Jackson Reid as they try to outsmart the killers, despite their polar opposite outlooks on the culpability of the criminal mind.

Look out for it next year.

REVIEW: Endeavour (S6 E4/4)

In Degüello, it’s 1969, (still), and the face of Oxford is changing – Cllr. Clive Burkitt’s building schemes are raising (shoddy) tower blocks in Martyrs’ Field, and we’re in for a torrid tale of corruption in government, business and the police.

Meanwhile, Bright’s wife is dying of cancer, Fred’s agonising over taking bungs from Box, and Morse is looking for a flat.

Elsewhere, according to a news piece written by a D Parton (Dolly?!), Garstang College has received a bequest of a valuable stamp collection from the Teagarden family. Teagarden Sr was lost in a Lancaster over Dresden – is this significant?

Box investigates two more deaths of heroin users (this week’s Colin Dexter cameo is the grafitti ‘Dexter Was Here’ on the wall in their squat).

At the Bodleian Library, mathematician Dr Nicholson (Aidan McArdel) is receiving cryptic notes about a ‘Dora’; while the chief librarian, Osbert Page, is being chiselled in the back, and someone has turned over his rooms. All Morse and Fred can find is a map of the Gower Peninsula.

It looks as if Strange and Bright are onto Box’s corruption, but he’s onto them being onto him, so a showdown seems inevitable. Meanwhile Win is fed up with Fred and threatens divorce; he’s too worn out to object.

When Fred and Morse question Nicholson, we get a reference to pseudonymous writer Holly Martins (played by Joseph Cotton in The Third Man); and when they talk to geologist Burrowes (Paul Jesson), he reveals that’s he’s a philatelist and has been in Germany. Does this tie in with the Teagarden bequest?

Morse questions Deborah Teagarden (Laura Donoughue) and discovers a link to Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp – aha, here’s the explanation of ‘Dora’. Other clues point to Jewish myth about the Golem, an animated figure made of clay. It sounds like all this is leading back to the Holocaust.

Morse is on the spot when Cranmer House collapses (the reference is obviously to Ronan Point in Canning Town, which collapsed in 1968). Is Cllr Burkit’s shoddy building to blame? Going through the corpses, Max finds a bound figure buried in concrete; he’s been shot by the same gun that killed George Fancy, and evidently buried in the foundations of the building a year ago. His effects identify him as Hollis Binks, a borough surveyor with connections to the murdered Page and to Dr Burrowes.

Morse questions Cllr Burkitt about Binks, and he’s obviously hiding something; Binks was a student of Burrowes, and clearly suspected that the geology of Martyrs’ Field was unsuitable for building; presumably, he’s been killed to shut him up.

Bright, meanwhile, is being suborned by his boss Bottoms, and by Cllr Burkitt; offered a way out of Traffic and treatment for his wife’s cancer if he shuts down Morse’s investigations. But he puts them in their place. Strange is also being pressured by the Grand Master of his Masonic lodge.

Strange ties the gun that killed Fancy to an old case of Box’s in Reading – is the net closing in? Fred’s frozen out of the investigation – has Morse finally lost trust in him completely? But Fred hands the bungs back to Box and Jago, seemingly having recovered his moral compass.

Deborah Teagarden hands Morse some letters suggesting that Nicholson had betrayed her family to the Nazis; did he do it to steal important notebooks? Burrowes admits to persecuting Nicholson, but he claims the notebooks were worthless, and he had nothing to do with the killing of Page.

So who left the muddy footprints at the murder scene? Morse makes a link with dodgy builder McGyffyn, who has been supplying substandard sand for concrete. Did McGyffyn kill Binks, then also Binks’ fellow rambler Page, when he figured out what had happened?

Child fans help Bright narrowly escape an ambush set up by Bottoms; being on TV as the Pelican Man has finally done him some good after all. But Fred is stitched up by Box, told in no uncertain terms by Burkitt and McGyffin that either he shuts down Morse, or they’re both for the chop.

Max is kidnapped to force Morse into a showdown at the quarry; will this turn into the Gunfight at the OK Corral? It turns out that Box’s sidekick Jago is the real brains behind the heroin business, using Max Nero’s gear, and was also the killer of George Fancy.

Bright, Fred and Strange arrive tooled up, with Bright’s faithful Traffic cops in support, and a standoff ensues; Box takes a bullet while shooting Jago, and the other conspirators are captured.

All is neatly tied up when Burkitt turns Queen’s Evidence, Bright gets control of Castle Gate, and gets Fred, Strange and Morse on board; Fred reconciles with Win, and Morse gets a Jag and buys the house where the junkies died (that will need renovating then).

In all, a teriffic amount got sorted in this episode; Fred and Box are redeemed, Jago is dealt with, Morse is returned to his rightful place, and the Masons gets their noses put out of joint.

But the murder plots are never quite squared away; a great deal seems to revolve around rambling, some of the clues are never explained, there’s no particular reason why Page was killed with a wood chisel, and there’s a lot of gratuitous philately. The whole Holocaust sub-plot seems somehow unresolved, and even the title of the episode doesn’t seem relevant.

Nonetheless, after a fairly disjointed season – the Thunderbirds and Camberwick Green episodes feeling particularly throwaway – we do seem to have reached a resolution by the end, even if it does bring us back to the beginning, with the old team reunited and refreshed.

Season seven is now on the cards – the hippy decade of the 70s looms.

So long as it doesn’t feature Morse adopting a Serpico beard and haircut, we’ll be happy to see him back.

Chris Jenkins




ITV renews Endeavour for a seventh series

ITV has confirmed that hit detective drama Endeavour has been recommissioned for a seventh series. 

The new set of films will see Evans reprise his role alongside celebrated star of stage and screen, Roger Allam as mentor DI Fred Thursday.

 Written once again by Russell Lewis, who has penned all of the 27 Endeavour screenplays to date, the new series will be set in 1970 and production will begin later this year for transmission in 2020. Filming will take place in Oxford and the surrounding area.

 Creator Russell Lewis says: “We’re thrilled ITV has asked #TeamEndeavour to continue to add to the Casebook of Colin Dexter’s immortal creation, and take E. Morse and Oxford’s Finest into a new decade of decimalisation, package holidays, the Oil Crisis, Blackouts, Three Day Weeks, and Europa Endlos.”

Our review of the finale to series six is on its way…