Catch up TV reviews: You’re The Worst, The People Next Door, Drive, Marcella
Ivan Radford | On 10, Apr 2016Reading time: 5 mins
You’re the Worst (My 5)
Nothing says “love is in the air” like a wedding – unless you’re Jimmy (Chris Geere), in which case you’re busy ruining your ex’s big day, or you’re Gretchen (Aya Cash), in which case you’re stealing a blender from the gift pile. Waterloo Road’s own Chris Geere is despicable as the self-centred, womanising Jimmy, who finds himself in bed with Aya Cash’s equally nasty piece of work. “I don’t even find you attractive,” she sighs, as they bonk, half-heartedly. But, of course, a genuine romance starts to blossom – one that, by all rights, we shouldn’t give two hoots about. But Cash and Geere make sure the giggles keep coming, spiting each other by tricking their potential partner into doing nice things, while simultaneously out-boasting each other about how cruel they’ve been to people. What makes it are their hidden smiles as they make each other laugh – and their wide-eyed surprise that someone else on this planet might be as horrible as they are. You’re The Worst could be the best surprise of the month.
The People Next Door (All 4)
One of last year’s most impressive pieces of television was the one-off drama, Cyberbully, starring Maisie Williams as a teenage who finds herself battling with an online stalker. (Read our review here.) Now, the makers of that return for this equally topical drama about a couple who move in to their first home – only to suspect their neighbours of domestic abuse. Is Gemma (Fish Tank’s excellent Joanna Horton) imagining the crying come from next door, or is a child being neglected on the other side of the wall? Patient Richard (Karl Davies – Happy Valley) soon joins in the speculating, after repeated strange noises coming from their neighbours – and what begins as a morally intriguing study of whether to ignore or interfere with potential mistreatment soon unfolds into a provocative tale of surveillance and paranoia in a digital age. Ben Chanan’s script teases out the twists over a taut 60 minutes, while the use of handheld cameras (including one hidden in a teddy bear) only adds to the gripping, skin-crawlingly uncomfortable suspense.
Photo: Stuart Hendry / Channel 4
Drive (ITV Hub)
Imagine Top Gear’s Star in a Reasonably Priced Car dragged out for an hour and with none of the fun. That’s what you get from ITV’s latest attempt at a celebrity game show. The celebrities, in this case, are such illustrious names as Louis Walsh, Johnny Vegas and Angus Deayton. Our host? The even more illustrious Vernon Kay. How will your eyes struggle to adjust to the star-studded light? Answer: They won’t, because you’ll probably be asleep. The opening does a shameless job of trying to titillate with the potential for injuring its contestants – after The Jump, this bandwagon of trying to coax viewers into watching famous people get injured on camera reeks of desperation – but this is a disappointedly dull affair, with boring racetracks and even more boring guests. It’s nice stab at something different, but you’d have more fun watching judges from The X-Factor playing Mario Kart. Louis pops up halfway through to make a joke about Simon Cowell. When a celebrity on a gameshow is still defining themselves by another gameshow they used to be on, you know something’s gone wrong.
Photo: TwoFour Production / ITV
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