Catch up TV review: Year of the Rabbit, Wild Bill
Ivan Radford | On 16, Jun 2019Reading time: 2 mins
Year of the Rabbit (All 4)
Matt Berry is on typically hilarious form in this Channel 4 comedy about the titular detective, who stomps the streets of Victorian-era London with maximum violence and minimum political correctness. He’s joined by junior Strauss (Freddie Fox) and constantly shut down by Inspector Wisbech (Alun Armstrong, clearly having a ball), and called out repeatedly by Susan Wokoma as would-be female copper Mabel. The result is an amusingly daft spoof, although the writing relies a little too much on the easy joke of people being ironically offensive and swearing copiously. Fortunately, when your cast includes Berry and Paul Kaye as a rival policeman, you can still pack in the laughs where it counts – and the arrival of Keeley Hawes on the scene with more than a touch of Moriarty about her bodes well for the rest of the season.
Wild Bill (ITV Hub)
Is there anything Rob Lowe can’t do? You can add “star in an ITV drama” to the list, thanks to Wild Bill, which sees him play Bill Hixon, former Miami hotshot and now Chief Constable of the East Lincolnshire police force. Obsessed with policing by numbers, he doesn’t waste a chance to put together algorithms and pattern recognition formulae to help solve crimes, much to the scepticism of the locals – but a scandal from his former hometown is the main challenge Bill has to overcome. It’s awkward mix of things to juggle, and the script doesn’t always manage it – there’s serious social drama one moment, a grisly death the next, and then a light vein of comedy involving Bill’s teenage daughter, Kelsey (Aloreia Spencer). Why does Bill end up doing so much work on the ground himself when he’s been parachuted in partly to trim the department in the name of efficiency? That’s a mystery not yet decoded by his calculator, but the cast tackle everything that’s thrown at them with aplomb – Bronwyn James (Harlots, The ABC Murders) as rising DC Muriel Yeardsley is particularly impressive. At the middle of it all is the ever wonderful Rob Lowe, who is typically charismatic in the lead. He moves between the jokes, the melancholy, the tender drama, the witty speeches and a dubious CGI sequence to make the whole thing somehow work. The only thing that comes out of it looking better than him (which is a tough ask) is the Boston countryside. Worth a look.