Catch up TV review: Dalgliesh, Moneyball, The Big Narstie Show
James R | On 07, Nov 2021
From Matilda to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Bertie Carvel is perilously close to official national treasure status, and this new drama is another worthy step on the way there. Based on PD James’ detective character, the series is a string of two-part dramas, with Carvel playing the eponymous Adam Dalgliesh – following in the footsteps of Roy Marsden and Martin Shaw. We begin with a bizarre death at a nurse training college that’s refreshingly not graphic but is nonetheless positively haunting, and that sets the tone for what is an effective, efficient detective drama – one that doesn’t announce itself with unnecessary flourishes but still makes an impression. At the heart of the intriguing opening mystery is Carvel, who delivers an impeccable turn as Dalgliesh, a detective who is also a poet but brushes off that dual profession with an unassuming smile – in the same understated way that he grieves the loss of his wife. It’s a wonderfully human performance and may have just given Channel 5 its own flagship detective.
Moneyball (ITV Hub)
Autumn means am the return of prestige TV to keep us snug and warm in our living rooms during the dark nights ahead – but it also means the renewed efforts of broadcasters to keep things light for the whole family with a wave of shiny floor game shows. This season, it’s all about shows with “money” on their mind, and ITV‘s Moneyball scored a winning investment in the form Ian Wright as host. Reuniting with the broadcaster after his late night talk show back in his footballing heyday, he’s still effortlessly energetic and upbeat on screen, celebrating each contestant’s win like it’s a match-deciding goal. It’s a shame, then, that the format itself is so arbitrary and devoid of tension that the result lacks the stakes and suspense to be a success. Wright’s a natural TV presenter in search of a show that does him justice.
The Big Narstie Show: Season 4 (All 4)
Big Narstie is back, and then some. The fourth season of his late night TV series remains a refreshing antidote to the talk show circuit in the USA, with a defiantly British approach to stars – one that’s unafraid to relegate them to second billing so that their star host can shine. His double-act with Mo Gilligan is as well honed as ever, with the former irrepressibly himself and the latter generously playing the supporting straight man and keeping things on track. The humour and the timing had gotten slicker but the rough edges that make this feel genuine are still endearingly present, and that means the duo still get to have fun with their guests in an unscripted way, from Narstie fanboying over Ne-Yo and gamely trying to outact Idris Elba to Will Poulter being asked to say “brudda” repeatedly. Katherine Ryan, meanwhile, steals the whole show with a semi-improvised rap about dating during the Covid-19 pandemic that’s bursting with naughty laughs and inspired wordplay – the highly entertaining spectacle of someone who understands the brief.