At last the tempo goes up a few beats in the third episode of this turgid ‘throwback Thursday’ series. There has to be a good twist soon, there just has to be. We Got To Get Out Of This Place sings Eric Burdon (a golden oldie from 1965 even then), although maybe The Animals’ House of the Rising Sun would have been a more apt choice for the hapless Bentley clan: ‘Oh mother, tell your children not to do what I have done.’ Indeed.
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains my sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk. Oh no, my mistake – I’ve just dropped off in front of Prime Suspect 1973 again. 1973 – a year so dull that anodyne James Blunt wrote a song about it.
Last week saw the start of much-anticipated prequel to Prime Suspect, Prime Suspect 1973. Our own reviewer, Deborah, felt that it was ok but ‘wearyingly predictable’. Now friend of the site and brilliant crime author Sarah Hilary has presented her own opinion on that first episode – and it’s not entirely complimentary.
It is fitting that Prime Suspect 1973 began just days after Cressida Dick was appointed first female Metropolitan Police commissioner. She joined the Met 10 years after the period in which this series is set – and it remains to be seen if she can cleanse the Augean stables of the lingering messes of the past including accumulating allegations of high-level Met corruption relating to historical child abuse. She’s certainly got her work cut out. So here we are in 1973, when such things as institutional racism and corruption were unremarked upon and were almost acceptable. Ah, 1973 – the year so beloved of TV dramatists because it is oft cited as the most significant year of the 20th century. Over 40 years on, it is still remembered for power cuts, the three-day week, the oil crisis, the miners’ strike and a break-in at the US Democrats’ Committee HQ at the Watergate Building, whose suffix has been appended to almost every scandal since.
NB: Spoilers inside
ITV is having a busy-old day today. Not only has it revealed the transmission date – or at least confirmed – for series three of Broadchurch, it has also issued forth news of the transmission date for Prime Suspect 1973, the eagerly-awaited prequel to the landmark series, Prime Suspect. As with all these things, it’s about brand retention and giving what the fans want, but if Prime Suspect 1973 is anything like Endeavour has been this series, we’re in for a treat.