Catch up TV reviews: Maigret, Marcella, Shakespeare’s Tomb, Billy Connolly
Ivan Radford | On 03, Apr 2016
Maigret Sets a Trap (ITV Hub)
Rowan Atkinson is one of our country’s greatest performers. He’s a comic genius, a devilish wit, a man capable of getting a laugh out of merely saying the name “Bob”. What he is absolutely, unequivocally not, though, is French. Which isn’t really a problem – apart from when he’s pretending to be Maigret, a French detective. Read our full review
Photo: ITV / Colin Hutton
Shakespeare’s Tomb (All 4)
April 2016 marks 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare, which means we can look forward to a month full of programming related to The Bard. Kicking things off is this daft, but enjoyable investigation into Shakespeare’s Tomb, which bears the follow curse: “Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he who moves my bones.” Why the warning? And what’s the secret behind it? Historian Helen Castor and archaelogist Kevin Colls have great fun wheeling out laser scanners and other gizmos to come up with theories, mostly involving the possible theft of The Bard’s skull by an unknown culprit, and occasionally prove themselves wrong. It’s rather infectious in a trashy, sub-Indiana Jones kind of way. “I’ve looked at many graves and I’ve never seen this sort of thing,” says one expert, who doesn’t sound at at all creepy.
Photo: Production Company/Arrow Media
Billy Connolly’s Tracks Across America (ITV Hub)
Billy Connolly joins the celebrity travelogue brigade with this trek by train around America – from Chicago to New York. There are hints of something with real substance here, as we see a city of tents in one city for those who can’t afford a home, but Connolly is more interested in composing bad banjo songs, festivals involving animal noises and generally talking about how lovely America (and Americans) are. The result blows past in a puff of good-natured, forgettable steam, but fans of the comedian will be all too happy to sit back and enjoy the on-rails entertainment. Frankly, it’s worth watching for the food alone.
Photo: ITV / 7 Wonder Productions / Jaimie Gramston
Marcella (ITV Hub)
Hot on the heels of her turn in The Saboteurs, the excellent Anna Friel teams up with The Bridge creator Hans Rosenfeldt for another slice of Nordic noir. The twist this time? It all takes place in London.
She plays Marcella (pronounced “Mar-CH-ella”), a detective who left her job years ago to have a second child, but finds herself drawn back to the force when a serial killer from her past appears to have returned. At the same time, her husband (Nicholas Pinnock) has decided to break up with her for another woman.
Naturally, she throws herself into the new/reopened case with all the reckless, obsessive qualities you could want from a modern police officer. By day, she follows an old suspect she could never prove was guilty. By night, she follows her husband. She basically spends her life following people around the capital looking miserable.
It’s all cliched stuff – watch out for the shot the morning after some drunken arguing and impromptu home renovation, in which she unsubtly puts the pieces of a family portrait back together – but Friel is a compelling presence and Pinnock, who impressed in Fortitude, is always worth watching. Throw in a topical subplot about a dodgy property developer trying to dodge council regulations and a cold open that leaves you wondering where this will all end up, and you have something with potential. This may be set in Britain, but some Scandinavian magic could rub off yet.
“She’s a better detective than me,” says Nina Sosanya’s DCI Laura Porter, as Marcella’s bosses vent their frustration with her. “Give her a long enough leash and you’ll find out. “How long?” comes the reply.
Photo: BUCCANEER MEDIA FOR ITV