Sherlock review – Episode 2, Series 4: ‘The Lying Detective’


2sherlockThe Lying Detective started and ended with a bang, literally, as two gunshots bookended an episode which contained many of the flaws that have crept into Sherlock but also some of what made it so good in its first two seasons.

Episode two of this fourth series revolved around businessman, philanthropist and serial killer Culverton Smith. Sherlock sought to prove Culverton’s crimes while repairing his relationship with John Watson and coming to terms with his own role in Mary Watson’s death. Also looming in the shadows was the third Holmes sibling, who at episode’s end was revealed to be a sister, Euros/Eurus.

The highlight of the episode was Culverton. Actor Toby Jones brought a disturbing, dirty creepiness to the role – appropriate because the character is unambiguously modelled on Jimmy Savile, the fundraising, much-loved celebrity who turned out to be a monster.

The UK hasn’t really came to terms with Savile. He is probably the most prolific child rapist in British history; a guy who walked through the BBC, hospitals, schools, palaces and political offices dressed like a paedophile and went unchallenged and uncaught.

Continue reading


An interview with Scottish Comedian Limmy

limmyI interviewed Limmy back in 2009, just after the pilot of his television show – Limmy’s Show – aired. I was still working out how journalism worked at the time, so the questions maybe aren’t the best, but I post the Q&A here, for anyone interested, and as part of my commitment to regularly update this website, at least once every year or two.

For those unaware, Brian Limond – Limmy – is a Scottish comedian, who had a three-series sketch show on the BBC. His sketches regularly do the rounds online, particularly the ‘steel is heavier than feathers‘ one.

When I interviewed him, he was known for a dark, comic podcast called Limmy’s World of Glasgow. The pilot of Limmy’s Show had recently aired, and the first series was about to be broadcast a few months later in 2010.

I fucking love the guy’s comedy. It’s very Glaswegian, and he has a great grasp of the absurd. These days, he has a huge following on Twitter, were you can find a lot of his sketches. Before clicking through to that though, take a trip with me back to a pre-Brexit, pre-Trump, pre-2016 world known as 2009:

Q: How would you describe the comedy you do? And what influences it?

A: Black comedy with a bit of The Twilight Zone. I’m influenced by life in general, The Twilight Zone, horror films, bits and pieces.

Continue reading

Babylon review – Episode One (Pilot)

Babylon, Channel 4Babylon had noble enough intentions and I’m glad they made it but it didn’t quite work as a form of entertainment. It was too slow, too large in scope, and not funny enough. Creators Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong have writing credits on some great British satire, including The Thick of It, In the Loop and Four Lions, but Babylon fell short of those standards.

The show followed various sections of the Metropolitan Police as they dealt with a shooting spree. A new head of communications, freshly hired from Instagram, marshalled the PR side of things, an armed response officer struggled with his mental health and a police unit dealt with the day-to-day ground work while being filmed by an in-house videographer.

Continue reading

Inside No 9 review – Episode One: Sardines

Inside-No-9-bbcSardines, episode one of Inside No 9, was a fantastic example of expert storytelling; a very well written dark tale, economically staged and acted by a fantastic cast. This compact 30 minute film could be used as an argument in favour of the supremacy of the script in filmmaking; get that right, and everything else follows.

Sardines took place in one room of the childhood home of two siblings. One was getting married, and to celebrate, her father had arranged a game of Sardines between the invited guests.

Continue reading

House of Fools review – Episode One

house of fools bbcVic Reeves and Bob Mortimer are clearly enjoying themselves in their new sitcom and the audience at the recording are having a lot of fun, but something seems to be lost in the transfer from studio to TV. Watching it, I feel like I’m stood outside a pub with my face pressed up against the window, trying to laugh along with the ecstatic people having a great time inside. It’s not bad, House of Fools, but it provokes semi-regular chuckles rather than constant hilarity, and despite some genuine inventiveness, it’s not a million miles away from the low-brow comedy of BBC Three sitcoms, or, incongruously, from the safe and mainstream hits of BBC One.

Vic and Bob play a co-habiting odd couple with a weird collection of friends, family and neighbours. This first episode was ostensibly about Bob preparing for a date but spiralled into increasing absurdity.

Continue reading

Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe recap and review – Episode 1 Series 2

Charlie Brooker's Weekly WipeThis is the second series of Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe, a combination of all of Brooker’s previous shows that takes swipe at everything and anything in our culture but focuses mainly on television and the media.

They made some small tweaks for this series, which is the right thing to do. It’s beneficial for a show like this to try out new bits and get rid of anything that doesn’t work. The show has dropped last series’ segment where Brooker and two commentators – different each week – discussed some recent event. That section was an awkward dead weight that dragged the rest of the show down, and it’s good that the people writing Weekly Wipe are able to recognise these things.

Continue reading

Raised by Wolves review – Episode One

Raised by Wolves Channel 4It takes quite a bit of arrogance to create a character based on your own childhood and then make that character very smart, funny and precocious. Raised by Wolves has done this twice, with sisters Caitlin and Caz Moran basing their show around idealised versions of their teenage selves. Caitlin has the excuse of having her ego stroked three times a week as a Times columnist but you’d think her sister might have the self-awareness to take a step back and realise that such self-flattery is neither appealing nor a recipe for good TV.

Raised by Wolves, a pilot testing interest for a full series, follows a working class family in Wolverhampton, focussing on the two aforementioned main characters as they stumble through adolescence.

The show has one major strength and that’s the actresses playing the leads, both of whom are fantastic. Helen Monks seemed to be enjoying herself a great deal as the lead, Germaine, and her enthusiasm was infectious as she screwed her face up and delivered her lines with a breathless zeal. Alexa Davies played her intellectual sister Aretha and matched Monks performance with a balancing cynicism.

Continue reading