Catch up TV review: The Watchman, Rookies, 500 Questions
Ivan | On 28, Aug 2016
What’s available on-demand on Freeview? Keep up-to-date with our weekly catch-up TV column, including reviews of shows on ITV Hub, new releases on All 4 and a guide to My5.
(For BBC TV reviews and round-ups, see our weekly Best of BBC iPlayer column. Or for reviews of the shows on All 4’s Walter Presents, click here.)
The Watchman (All 4)
Stephen Graham, one of the country’s finest character actors, gets a chance to take centre stage in this gripping drama. He plays Carl, a CCTV operator who spends his nights watching the streets for trouble. The problem is that when he does find it and call it in, the real police don’t seem to care. When one group of drug dealers carry on their clandestine activities without interference, he decides to take matters into his own hands – and things go horribly wrong. The result is a fascinating study of security and society, laced with a subtle criticism of a resource-strapped police force. Graham is magnificent, often holdings our attention when he’s the only thing on screen, his face and voice visibly and audibly torn between wanting to make a difference and wanting to cut himself from the world. Privacy is an increasingly important issue for all of us to consider. The Watchman subtly wriggles into that debate, posing a provocative question: what if surveillance is just as alienating for the people on the other side of the camera? This is a one-off, but you immediately find yourself wanting to watch more.
Photo: Laura Radford
Rookies (ITV Hub)
Police are a familiar sight on our streets – and, at a time of heightened security, armed police are also increasingly common. This new ITV series, then, is a welcome chance to see underneath the helmet. We follow seven people training to be police officers in Surrey. One used to work in a call centre. Another was a phlebotomist. There’s even a dance instructor among them. But for varying reasons, they’ve all decided to become boys and girls in blue. Watching them come to terms with the pressures of the job, from abusive members of the public to involuntary sneezing during times of stress, is a engaging experience, and it’s easy to feel sorry for them, as they accidentally injure other people and struggle to remember the exact law they’re enforcing. Entertaining and eye-opening in equal measure, this is a valuable chance to humanise our everyday cops beyond a badge and a uniform.
500 Questions (ITV Hub
Another evening on ITV, another attempt at a quiz show. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? has a lot to answer for. This one is hosted by Giles Coren and seeds contestants try to answers without getting three in a row wrong. If they do, another person replaces them. It’s hardly a thrilling premise, but this is a prime-time evening slot, so rather than embrace the low-key simplicity, ITV dress it up with a fancy studio and dramatic lighting – and a random butch of illogical bonus rounds that have little impact on anything. Coren tries to make it sound exciting, but even he seem aware of how pointless and illogical it is.