Not much to beat as cops caught in the act
THE mere fact that this series is billed as one of Seven’s summer highlights should be enough to give the unwary pause, for commercial free-to-air networks routinely see the ratings recess as an opportunity to insult viewer intelligence with the accumulated rubbish bought by their programmers during the year. Executives scope them once, then bray in unison: ‘‘ Summer highlight.’’
This is my first experience of Holby Blue and my reaction, after seeing the opening scenes, which involve a crystal meth addict being kicked into raw meat by a Russian gangster, were that it is the latest incarnation of The Bill . And it turns out to be so.
That’s the first disappointment, for if there’s something the world doesn’t need it’s another version of that shadow of its former greatness.
The next scene is the routine whinge by hard-headed frontline cops DCI Harry Hutchinson ( Tim PigottSmith), DI John Keenan ( Cal Macaninch) and DS Luke French ( Richard Harrington), waiting impatiently for head office approval for a drug raid. This bodes even worse.
Keenan, in a frantic piece of overacting, complains that it’s all fashion. ‘‘ Drugs are too ’ 90s, not enough kudos. If this was al-Qa’ida we’d be out there with a few tanks and a pocketful of smart bombs.’’
The use of kudos in that little speech is another early indicator that you can put your mind in neutral, because reality has fled the building, tearing its hair out.
Soon we’re firmly in soap opera territory as the two younger hardheads, Keenan and French, share matrimonial experiences in a corridor. Turns out that Keenan’s ex, Kate ( Zoe Lucker), is starting work at the nick that very day. Even someone
Tough love: DI John Keenan ( Cal Macaninch) fights his wife more than crime with a white cane and a guide dog can see where this is going.
Your only choice from this point on is the one that has confronted viewers since the advent of television: will I regret losing the time I waste watching this tosh?
It’s harmless enough but lacks the production values of The Bill ( the only department in which the latest incarnation is superior to the original), and you’ll meet few surprises along the way.
Several stories — one involving invitro fertilisation, another the stab- bing of rookie PC Lucy Slater ( Elaine Glover) — run through the episode, but the centrepiece is the drug raid against the Russian nasty we met at the beginning.
Before that can happen, Keenan and his ex have a lengthy, overwrought domestic while the squad waits in the next room.
After Keenan eventually makes an appearance, Hutchinson exhorts his troops: ‘‘ We’ve got a scumbag to take care of, let’s go.’’ Not quite Shakespeare, but in this case it’ll have to do.