Catch Up TV reviews: Cold Feet, Catching a Killer, The Bone Detectives
James R | On 19, Jan 2020
Cold Feet: Season 9 (ITV Hub)
ITV’s long-running drama returns for its ninth run and while Mike Bullen’s creation is still as well-acted as ever, the signs of age are starting to show. Fortunately, that’s both intentional and unintentional. At the end of Season 8, Jenny (Fay Ripley) was dealing with her cancer treatment and with husband Pete (John Thomson) by her side, preparing herself for the long road ahead; David (Robert Bathurst) was putting his life back together with the support of his friends; while Karen (Hermione Norris) and Adam (James Nesbitt) were figuring out the boundaries of their burgeoning relationship and the impact it had on the close-knit group.
Picking things up, the relationship between Karen and Adam doesn’t quite ring true, especially as he tries to find a way to turn it to his advantage while staying close to his son. Also slightly unconvincing is the tension between Adam and David, as they descend into fisticuffs after a pub quiz simply because of them bickering over the right answer. But there are still nuanced depths to the ensemble’s chemistry and characters, particularly when it comes to Jenny and Pete navigating their way through her post-chemo recovery, with their daughter facing bullying at school as a result.
But best of all, unsurprisingly, is James Nesbitt as Adam, whose petulant, immature, self-centred ways are called out wonderfully by a plot involving complaints against him for workplace harassment. Him coming to terms with the idea that he’s out of touch with the modern world is a nice bit of inter-generational drama that balances the sighs at familiar cliches with a shrewdly pertinent bit of humour.
Catching a Killer: A Diary from the Grave (All 4)
You’re never going to be short of a superb piece of true crime telly, but Channel 4 has just added one more to the list with the excellent documentary A Diary from the Grave. Part of its long-running but infrequent Catching a Killer series, it’s a jaw-dropping examination of the death of Peter Farquhar – and, more specifically, the relationship between him and his friend, Ben Field. One blinded by love, the other plotting a poisonous betrayal, the twists and turns of how their bond unfolded are expertly plotted by the feature-length episode, using diary entries to shocking, gripping effect.
The Bone Detectives: Britain’s Buried Secrets (All 4)
It might sound like the latest true crime thriller, but this new Channel 4 documentary series is an entertaining blend of a cold case drama and Time Team. Evolutionary biologist Dr. Tori Herridge leads a trio of scientists – including forensics expert Carla Valentine and archaeologist Raksha Dave – who investigate the bizarre discovery of five bronze-age bodies in a pit in Thanet, Kent. The bizarre part? That the old woman among them is lying in a position that sees her pointing at… well, what? A string of theories emerge, as we see the skeletons recorded and examined, and the answer is an insightful and eye-opening snapshot of history and a culture long gone by. But while it’s fun to see the show piece things together, it’s also hugely rewarding to see all that piecing together done by a team of qualiified women without it being a big deal.