Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment Everyone's Talking about? Alastair McKay Gets on the Murder Trail in Nazi London in SS-GB, and Sees Tables Turned in Billions

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment Everyone's Talking about? Alastair McKay Gets on the Murder Trail in Nazi London in SS-GB, and Sees Tables Turned in Billions

Article excerpt

Byline: Alastair McKay

SAM Riley made his name in Control, a grey film about Ian Curtis, the suicidal singer of Joy Division. The name "Joy Division" had Nazi connotations but no one really minded much, since flirting with obscene imagery was quite the thing in the late Seventies, and it was clear that the group was not advocating extremism, except in the area of emotional introspection. But what about SS-GB (BBC iPlayer), a fiction based on Len Deighton's 1978 novel, in which the Nazis won the war? It stars Riley, still dressed as Curtis, still mumbling inconsolably, still flirting with fascist imagery, even if he isn't quite a stormtrooper. Does he have a light, Mac? No, but he has a heavy overcoat.

Riley plays Chief Superintendent Douglas Archer, an ambiguous fellow who bounces around Nazi London wearing an inscrutable expression and a hat like Sam Spade. He seems to have a sore throat, on account of all the muttering. Is he a Nazi? He certainly hangs out with them in the Fritz Ritz, though he has the good sense to look embarrassed when his naked, sexy girlfriend wraps herself in a Nazi flag. "We're non-political," he murmurs, "and always will be." He also listens to blues records, which is encouraging, as genocidal nationalists don't tend to like Big Bill Broonzy.

For now, it's a murder mystery. An antiques dealer has been killed. Archer and his partner Harry ( James Cosmo) are pretending it was a black-market affair, when everyone, not least the visiting Standartenfuhrer, thinks it is to do with the Resistance. It's all quite retro, and as you might expect with the Nazis politically incorrect. The women are feisty and decorative, and prostitutes. "The 'erberts have decided we need to be examined by their doctors," says one tart, outraged by the indignity of it all.

In Billions (Sky On Demand/Now TV), Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti are engaged in a moral conflict. …

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