Catch up TV review: The Bay, Married at First Sight, Baewatch, Midsomer Murders
Ivan Radford | On 24, Mar 2019
The Bay (ITV Hub)
Morven Christie is typically brilliant in ITV’s new six-part crime drama, which sees a pair of twins disappear in a small seaside town. If that sounds a bit like Broadchurch, switch your dial closer to silly and you’ll be more on the money. Christie plays Lisa, a detective who visits the kids’ parents, only to discover that their dad is the bloke she had a quickie with the night before round the back of a pub. Rather than fess up or talk through the complexities openly, she decides to cover up the indiscretion, which sends the whole investigation teetering towards Bad Consequences. It’s a move that’s hard to swallow and feels more like a plot device than a character’s decision, but Christie’s performance is so engaging and her subsequent creeping guilt and paranoia so convincing that once you’re past the initial setup, this becomes an absorbing watch, one that leaves you grasping at straws to guess the identity of the culprit while hiding behind your hands.
Married at First Sight (All 4)
Nothing says illogical decision like choosing to sign up to a reality series that will marry you to a stranger, but Channel 4’s show must be onto something, because it returns this week for a fourth season. Over 70,000 people contacted the producers to have their love life stitched up with a hitch up. We kick things off with office manager Verity and IT guy Jack, plus nurse Steph and property manager Jonathan. Steph, we’re told, wants stability, and Jonathan, who’s older and stable, wants a family. Season 4’s winning start suggest that the show’s success is less due to their supposedly scientific matching methods and more due to their ability to pick the best participants in the first place – not least because of the supportive reactions of the often bewildered family and friends to whom we’re introduced. Will these marriages work? That’s hard to say, but when we see things like a groom giving his surprise wife a surprise gift of a giant, homemade Jenga set, it’s hard not to enjoy questioning the brave madness of the whole thing.
Baewatch: Parental Guidance (All 4)
It’s the same old routine whenever someone in the family gets a new partner. They go on some dates. They decide they’re serious about their bae. And then they go on holiday while their parents bug their hotel room and secretly watch the whole thing. If that’s not how you do things, good news: that’s not what anyone else does either. Unless, that is, they’ve signed up for Channel 4’s new reality series, which picks up where BBC Three’s Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents left off. Part Gogglebox, part Love Island, it’s a bizarrely unnecessary format, which sees grown-ups question their kids’ choices and go to the extreme of rooting through their luggage and installing CCTV cameras, but not to the extreme of, say, inviting their child out for dinner with their new bae. When party couple Sam and Marlie head off to the continent, then, and Sam’s mum and aunt realise that he’s still behaving like a singleton picking people up in a bar, it’s not exactly a surprising moment – and it’s certainly one that could have been avoided by some plain old grilling over spaghetti bolognese. There’s some enjoyment in seeing the parents claim to know their children, before judging a moment horribly wrong, but the novelty swiftly wears off.
Midsomer Murders (ITV Hub)
ITV’s long-running crime drama is one of British TV’s unlikely successes, selling to countries like Sweden and Denmark – making this, effectively, our answer to The Killing. Based on the books by Caroline Graham, they continue to see an improbably high number of murders occur in the Midsomer area – seemingly without anyone involved ever hearing of the others. Ever since John Nettles stepped out of the role of DCI Tom Barnaby, replaced by Neil Dudgeon as the DCI’s cousin, John Barnaby, it hasn’t had quite the same level of deadpan surprise at the latest outlandish death. But with its 20th season now underway, ITV’s drama has not only stretched to ever more outlandish means of homicide – this latest season kicks off with a monk being dipped in a barrel of tar, while screaming out a curse on the surrounding locale – but also found a camp sense of humour to go with it. The Ghost of Causton Abbey is wonderfully daft, and seems to share in the amusingly absurd nature of it all, and Dudgeon is right at home in the balance of silliness and sinister gore, supported with a gently knowing turn by Nick Hendrix as Barnaby’s rather more self-aware sidekick, DS Jamie Winter. Quaintly ridiculous, you can see what other countries enjoy the Britishness of it so much.