Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Crime Double Act Battles Dodgy Plot

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Crime Double Act Battles Dodgy Plot

Article excerpt


Murder City

9pm, ITV1

IT'S not unusual for TV programmes to have the symptoms of a mental health problem. House Doctor, for example, is the television equivalent of obsessive compulsive disorder. Fame Academy has all the symptoms of egotism and grandiosity. ITV's Quiz Mania is an example of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome.

Footballers' Wives is a small-screen version of frotteurism. EastEnders is clinical depression. And all current chat shows have Parkinson's disease. But Davina's is also a carrier for narcolepsy. As well as shouty woman disorder.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that, if you looked for a mental disorder for this odd detective series it would probably be schizophrenia.

Because it doesn't know what it is. And then there's the conflicting voices and unexpected mood swings- You may remember Murder City from a couple of years ago when, to be honest, it didn't exactly set the world on fire (pyromania not being its thing).

Now Amanda Donohoe and Kris Marshall return as the odd-couple detective team DC Susan Alembic and DS Luke Stone.

And, to be fair, they put on a good double act - with Marshall in particular, as the bullish young officer, offering plenty to keep viewers hooked. Which is just as well, because the plot and tone of the drama are a mess. Sometimes it wants to be a gritty police drama. Other times it aims for sardonic comedy. Then it'll throw in a bit of CSI. And next, a bit of suggestive pyschosexual drama. And then we're back to comedy again. Tonight's story fits together neatly in a completely contrived way. It starts with a man, on the eve of his wedding, being killed by a woman falling off a tower block. Did she fall or was she pushed? But then it spirals off into a ludicrous plot involving a dodgy dating agency.

A textbook example of how Trying Too Hard To Be Clever Syndrome can quickly lead to the much more serious Bonkers Plot Disorder.

Grand Designs

9pm, Channel 4

If you're watching Grand Designs, you know you're not going to be looking at a run-ofthe-mill house. And you also know you won't get any run-ofthe-mill problems; they'll all be great big ones. …

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