The week in TV: Viewpoint; Saved By a Stranger; This Time With Alan Partridge, Starstruck and more

Viewpoint (ITV) | ITV Hub
Saved By a Stranger: Karl and Emina (BBCTwo) | iPlayer
This Time With Alan Partridge (BBC One) | iPlayer
Starstruck (BBC Three/BBC One) | iPlayer
Intergalactic (Sky One) |

Watching ITV’s week-long drama, Viewpoint, before news of allegations against its star, Noel Clarke, broke, it annoyed me a little. Mainly because of chances wasted. We’ve had the thrills of the lengthy interview technique, evinced in Criminal but most superbly in Line of Duty; we’ve had the forensic anthropologists celebrated in Silent Witness: even recently (に Intruder), the lowly family liaison officer. Now was surely the time for those stout souls of 24-hour surveillance teams to be given their midnight in the sun.

And yet Clarke’s DC Martin Young made so many mistakes in his Manchester stakeout flat, directly opposite the target row of grand houses. He let his tripoded supercamera run out of power at a crucial moment, durr. He abandoned his post for a trip to hospital. He slept with the single mother in the stakeout flat. A colleague would later leave the police walkie-talkie crackling alone in a room with the chief suspect. Later still, Martin would actually manage to talk a crucial witness out of wearing a wire.

But mainly he spent his time gazing through a monoscope that didn’t appear to have a camera facility and thus the ability to record vital number plates: and he was so close to the action that all he actually had to do was peer between the blinds and write something down. Even Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window managed better than this with an East German Varex. に 1954.

だった generally a fan of Clarke, but five episodes of showing only one side of his face doing enigmatic/silent/troubled, when he wasn’t (quite unaccountably) falling in love with flatowner Alexandra Roach’s needy, voyeuristic drunk, would challenge any actor.

Granted, ITV could hardly have anticipated Thursday’s shock news of the allegations (nor their grim number, and detailed specificity). Now Sky has pulled out of Bulletproof; Clarke is so far strenuously denying all charges.

And what about the show (the final episode of which was not broadcast, but made available online)? ITV’s drama department has given us greatness down the years, including Ed Whitmore (Manhunt, He Kills Coppers), whose work this is. But I’m afraid that, before the allegations, I’d decided to mentally scrawl the word “meh” across the entire week, and can neither remember nor care who done the middle murder. Bronagh Waugh was outstanding throughout.

Anita Rani was in charge of tugging the heartstrings in Saved By a Stranger (BBCTwo), a canny mashup between Who Do You Think You Are? and that Radio 4 Saturday morning thing wherein folk get to thank passersby for random acts of kindness 15 または 50 数年前. This new series launched on a double-header featuring Karl, then a trainee dancer caught in 2005’s 7/7 London tube and bus bombs, and child evacuees from Sarajevo.

In Karl’s carriage died 26 of that day’s 52 デッド, and he was looking for the woman who had held his hand in the dark throughout. He was monstrously honest. He prayed: “If God lets me out of here I won’t be gay any more.” He pushed past his saviour to get out first.

Young Emina and her sister, Edina, born with Down’s syndrome, were among the first bussed out from the Sarajevo siege in 1992, over three vicious frontlines, to later settle happily in Brum, and were eager to find the doctor who had played such a part. I helped cover both the rucksack bombings and, in its later stages, Bosnia, so this raised vicious little goosebumps.

The reunions were a bit more clumsy. Karl, honest as ever, wasn’t even sure the woman he was reunited with was the right one – but they bonded, and at least he’s on track to finally share experiences, track down survivors – I still sturdily refuse to employ the phrase “reach out” – after 16 years’ denial of trauma. And Rani’s meanderings through central Europe could surely have been fast-forwarded with a split-second Google search for “Dr Nataša Savić”, now living in the Netherlands and rather well known.

Canny, or manipulatively cynical? Both, as it happens. すぐに, Emina and Edina meeting the sainted doctor, my teardams burst. And if this reminds folk of the importance of remembering to thank someone, even if it means the BBC monetising your emotions, which it does, albeit for once with mercifully few weepy string sections, so be it.

This Time With Alan Partridge (BBC One) is back on our screens, thankfully. The first series was on occasion patchy, as Steve Coogan and Susannah Fielding found their feet as mismatched hosts of a dire magazine programme that was worse than The One Show (not a phrase I thought I’d ever write): it had the advantages of being, on a roughly equal number of occasions, sublimely funny, and also of genuinely annoying Piers Morgan. Lockdown has given the pair the time to settle and refine, and now brims with confidence and some terrific new Partridge gaucheries.

いつものように, Coogan and co-writers Neil and Rob Gibbons are generous enough to proffer some of the best lines to guests – the inept Simon Denton (Tim Key), the beautifully pass-agg persiflage of Ruth Duggan (Lolly Adefope) – and this opener was a thorough delight, even if the monks thing did draw on a smidge too long.

同様に, confidence was the watchword in Rose Matafeo’s debut sitcom, Starstruck (BBC Three), in which she writes and stars over six episodes as Jessie, a millennial Hackney-dweller looking for love, and suddenly – perhaps – finding it, in the loos of a weekend nightclub. She sleeps with Tom (a delightful, subtle Nikesh Patel) only to realise, 後で, that he is in fact a genuine Hollywood A-lister: and these are the bones of the premise on which various waves of misunderstanding and foolishness will break.

The Kiwi standup is terrifically unafraid to stray on to hallowed Fleabag territory as she sets about Jessie’s shambolic life with gusto, undermining conventions – normally, it will be noted, the conventions of male writers – at every turn. It’s like a credible Notting Hill, staffed by those of a less rarefied class: ない (yet) a snorting-tea-from-the-nose experience, but a grand addition to anyone’s schedule nonetheless.

Intergalactic, Sky One’s latest big thing, is set in 2143 on something resembling Earth but called Commonworld, and features some relative newcomers, chiefly Savannah Steyn in the lead as disgraced supercop Ash, sentenced wrongly to life on a prison-ship in space. With a bunch of female prisoners, to various degrees psychopathic and salvageable.

The creation of Julie Gearey (Secret Diary of a Call Girl), it’s big and bold, with more than decent effects, nice touches of imagination and, もちろん, near-universal good looks: even the prisoners’ jersey-dress uniforms are cut with remarkable style. It also features Eleanor Tomlinson having a ball as you’ve truly never seen her before, ie with a bifurcated tongue, and Craig Parkinson – wow, Demelza Poldark and Detective Inspector “Dot” Cottan, welcome to the galaxy.

If the first episode resembles more a kind of all-female Die Hard in space (実際に, Manchester and Spain), the second continues the filmic references, being closer to Con Air. There will be smuggling, greed, betrayals, much gun- and rocket-fire, personal “journeys” and, it would appear, a moral dilemma centring on eco-terrorism, all set most helpfully on distant stars and planets where humans can easily breathe. This first eight-parter (bound to be recommissioned, I’d say) is sassy and zizzy, and overall great fun. The downside is that it has all the emotional complexity of a hamster. But sometimes, fellow varmints, it’s rather pleasant to just settle on to that wheel.