01 January 2001

TV Crime Log: Prey, Hinterland, Happy, Orphan

I hope your concentration levels are in tip-top condition today, because this is going to be a long one.

Those telly people are positively hurling new dramas at us left, right and centre - there’s something for everyone: you, sir, and you, madam - but I can’t get to the end of this blog post alone. I need you to stick with me. So, load up, and let’s go.

PreyAs if appearing in misery-fest The Village wasn’t harrowing enough, John Simm takes a return trip through the wringer as a nice guy who’s accused of murder, in ITV’s latest three-part thriller mini-series type thing, Prey. This is a doubly embarrassing state-of-affairs for Simm because he’s a copper.

The blurb is in need of an alibi for that night:

When Detective Sergeant Marcus Farrow looks into a seemingly forgotten case he has no idea about the chaos and heartache that will soon follow. When Farrow is put in the frame for murder he has no choice but to make an escape and can clear his name.

Desperate to be reunited with his eldest son Finn, Farrow does everything he can to get to the truth but with Acting Detective Chief Inspector Susan Reinhardt in hot pursuit how long will it be before Farrow’s caught?

Prey begins tonight at 9pm tonight on ITV.

HinterlandTired of rooting through old copies of the Scandanavian Radio Times for quality crime dramas to pilfer, BBC4 has turned a little bit closer to home for its latest acquisition. Turns out Hinterland, about a detective returning home from London to Aberystwyth, was already shown on BBC Wales earlier in the year, when it racked up tidy viewing figures.

Here’s the blurb, but:

Having just left the Met police in London for a new life in Aberystwyth, DCI Tom Mathias has hardly had time to unpack before he’s called to the scene of a brutal attack at an isolated chalet in the sand dunes.

The victim is believed to be a 64-year-old God-fearing woman, Helen Jenkins, but she is nowhere to be found. The investigation leads him to the remote village of Devil’s Bridge, where Helen Jenkins’ body is found at the bottom of a deep ravine, not far from the site of the old children’s home that she ran for many years. The home was closed 15 years ago, and the building is now a hotel, but the untouched attic reveals a snapshot of a tortured past. Only by unlocking the secrets of the children’s home can Mathias crack the case.

Hinterland, which is partly in Welsh, is on tonight at exactly the same time as Prey. Bah!

How are you guys doing? Alright? Take a breather here, get yourself a cup of coffee. Do some light stretches.

Right, let’s get on.

Happy ValleyTomorrow night, BBC1 rolls out another of its Identikit Gobby Northern Lady Dramas, featuring loads of people you recognise from countless other things. This one is about a Police Sergeant trying to crack the case while juggling a stressful home life. It’s called Happy Valley.

The blurb always puts others first:

Catherine Cawood is the sergeant on duty when flustered and nervous accountant Kevin Weatherill comes into her West Yorkshire police station to report a crime. He’s reticent about the details and Kevin loses his nerve. The crime he was trying to report was Kevin’s own brain-child, a plot to kidnap his boss’s daughter and keep enough of the ransom to put his kids through private school.

And now local drug kingpin Ashley Cowgill has put the plan into action, and Kevin’s fantasy has become a grim and dangerous reality. The botched kidnapping of Ann Gallagher and its fallout unfolds…

Catherine is used to picking up the pieces of everyone else’s lives, but the hunt for Ann Gallagher will get right under her skin. Catherine becomes convinced that only by finding Ann alive and bringing her captors to justice can she avenge the death of her daughter.

So Happy Valley stars Sarah Lancashire - of course it does - and is on tomorrow night. That’s Tuesday - on BBC1 at 9pm.

Still with us? Good – you’re doing really well. Just one more programme, and then you can go.

Orphan BlackConspiracy clone thriller Orphan Black is back this week for a second series.

Tatiana Maslany stars as the young lady who discovers that she’s just one of a number of clones and goes on the run in a Canadian urban environment mostly wearing a short skirt. This second series, in which street smart Sarah, in a bid to find her missing daughter, goes to war with her alters, has already begun in the US – doubling its original audience, if not its hemline, in the process.

You can can see Orphan Black on BBC3 – I won’t be saying that for much longer – at 10pm, Friday night.

Phew. Done, dusted. Thanks for the company.