TV RE­VIEW

The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS - ALI­SON ROWAT

AS a tele­vi­sion critic, I am pretty sure it is not within my power to de­clare war. You prob­a­bly have to be some­one re­ally im­por­tant, like a for­mer re­al­ity-show host, to do some­thing like that and not re­ceive a stiff let­ter from the au­thor­i­ties.

Even so, I would like Jed “Star Slayer” Mer­cu­rio, writer-direc­tor of Line of

Duty (BBC One, Sun­day, 9pm), to know that Scot­land is pretty ticked off with him right now. We won’t say why in case you have yet to see last Sun­day’s episode of Mr Mer­cu­rio’s chill-a-minute crime drama. All I will say is the na­tion will be on the edge of its col­lec­tive seat to­mor­row night, won­der­ing if a cer­tain some­one will get the Thandie New­ton treat­ment. If not, Jed and Scot­land will be hav­ing words. I will say no more.

Just as well Mer­cu­rio (the cad) was not in charge of The World Ac­cord­ing to Kids (BBC Two, Thurs­day, 8pm), oth­er­wise there would have been even more tears be­fore bed­time than there were. Nar­rated by Fay Ri­p­ley, ev­ery­one’s favourite mum from Cold Feet, The World fol­lows 70 chil­dren be­tween the ages of six and 11 from across the UK to find out what they think of their lives. Be­sides con­duct­ing in­ter­views to cam­era, and ask­ing the young­sters to shoot their own footage, the pro­gramme mak­ers have asked philoso­phers to de­vise tasks that will show how chil­dren grap­ple with no­tions such as love and hate, dan­ger and fear.

Sure enough the kids said the fun­ni­est things. Some smart and heart­break­ing things, too, as when one boy called his par­ents’ split “the worst thing that ever hap­pened in my life”. When they were not say­ing the fun­ni­est things they seemed to be a fair bit of cry­ing go­ing on. In one task, Ian wouldn’t eat the mush­rooms he hates so Abi­gail could have a treat. She cried. Then Nathan wanted his group’s char­ity cash to go to can­cer re­search but one boy held out for sav­ing meerkats (no, I didn’t know they were in dan­ger ei­ther) so the money was lost. Nathan cried. Con­clu­sions af­ter the first episode, which fea­tured chil­dren from Brad­ford, Berk­shire and Glouces­ter: the UK is still as di­vided by class and wealth as ever it was in the Up se­ries, and this class of 2017 is go­ing to be a joy to watch.

If you want to get back at Mer­cu­rio (the bounder) then add some view­ing fig­ures to a cou­ple of out­stand­ing po­lit­i­cal dra­mas, one new, the other back for a third se­ries. Fresh out of the box is Guer­rilla (Sky At­lantic and NOW TV,

Thurs­day, 9pm), which charts the rise of the black power move­ment in the grim Blighty of the 1970s, a time when racism was so in­sti­tu­tion­alised and bla­tant it was prime-time TV view­ing (hang your head in shame, Love Thy Neigh­bour).

Though slow to get go­ing the ac­tion se­quences are han­dled su­perbly and the cast, which in­cludes Idris Elba (also a pro­ducer), Freida Pinto and Rory Kin­n­ear, is first class. If that’s not enough, John Ri­d­ley (12 Years a Slave) is on writ­ing-di­rect­ing duty.

For va-va-voom and style, French po­lit­i­cal drama Spin (More4, Fri­day,

9pm), back for a fi­nal run, is hard to beat. The tale of war­ring spin doc­tors and the fight for the pres­i­dency, cur­rently held by Alain Mar­jorie (Ni­co­las Marie), hit the ground run­ning with a ter­ror-themed open­ing episode as ex­hil­a­rat­ing as any­thing Mer­cu­rio (the rot­ter) could con­jure up. This be­ing a French af­fair, it is the law that at some point in the drama ze clothes will hit the floor and les bones will bump. Pleased to see that Si­mon Kapita (Bruno Wolkow­itch), the flak-catcher PR who favours skinny suits and no tie, is on top twinkly-eyed form with the ladies, al­though I’m wor­ried about the dizzy spells he’s hav­ing. Maybe you need a lie down, mate. Alone. As for his arch-ri­val Lu­dovic Dezmeuze (Gre­gory Fi­toussi), he man­aged to stay fully clothed through­out the first episode. Well done, mon­sieur. We’ll see how long that lasts. Peter Kay’s Car Share (BBC One, Tues­day, 9pm) too­tled back into view. The car, be­ing a cute but oth­er­wise unas­sum­ing lit­tle Fiat, is not the star here. The clue to who is in charge lies in the pro­gramme’s ti­tle. The co­me­dian plays su­per­mar­ket man­ager John, who gives lifts to his col­league Kayleigh (Sian Gib­son). He’s sarky but soft, she’s ditzy and adorable, and they both love car­pool karaoke to MOR hits. While they’re mad about each other, ob­vi­ously, they can’t say any­thing oth­er­wise there wouldn’t be a se­ries in it. Very sweet, but so thin that af­ter 10 min­utes one be­gan to long for a car chase to break out. Shame that darned TV ge­nius Mer­cu­rio wasn’t to hand to con­trib­ute one.

The third se­ries of French po­lit­i­cal drama Spin finds Alain Mar­jorie (Ni­co­las Marie) as pres­i­dent while spin doc­tors Si­mon Kapita and Lu­dovic Dezmeuze re­sume their ri­valry

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