Pick of the week

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television -

The Franken­stein Chron­i­cles Thurs­day, 8.30pm, BBC First (117) Foggy 19th-cen­tury Lon­don seems to be the pop­u­lar back­drop for sev­eral new dra­mas. This nail­bit­ing re­make of the Franken­stein story is no ex­cep­tion. Sean Bean (above left, Game of Thrones) stars as In­spec­tor John Mar­lott, re­cruited by home sec­re­tary Robert Peel (Tom Ward, above right, Silent Wit­ness) to solve a se­ries of truly gory mur­ders. Like most de­tec­tives in po­lice dra­mas, Mar­lott is a trou­bled man. He has not come to terms with the deaths of his wife and daugh­ter, whom he un­wit­tingly gave syphilis on re­turn­ing from the Bat­tle of Water­loo. He’s seen and suf­fered some pretty grim things, but more awaits him as a mem­ber of the Thames River squad. In the open­ing four min­utes of A World With­out God, the first of six episodes, there are two grisly deaths. A smug­gler is sucked un­der bub­bling mud and the body of a child — in fact a com­pos­ite sewn to­gether from seven chil­dren — is dis­cov­ered on the bank of the river (which isn’t ac­tu­ally the Thames, as this was shot in North­ern Ire­land). I em­pathise with the cop in the back­ground who is throw­ing up at the sight of the “abom­i­na­tion”. “A grotesque par­ody of sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure?” won­ders Peel, who is ob­sessed by the case and seems to have a hid­den agenda. He puts Mar­lott in charge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. “More than you can imag­ine rests on your suc­cess,” he warns him.

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