ITV ousts BBC

broadchurchIt’s not often that ITV out-do the BBC in the drama stakes but miracles do happen. Broadchurch has aired its second (out of eight) episode this week and its quality shines through: brilliant writing  (Chris Chibnall), superb acting (David Tennant, Olivia Coleman, Jodie Whittaker) and world-class production (Kudos). Created and written by Chris Chibnall it tells the story surrounding the murder of young boy on the south coast town, and there are plenty of suspects. There may be Mackerel off shore in season but there are certainly plenty of red-herrings inland: Classic whodunit territory. There is no ‘Next week on Broadchurch’ trailer which adds to its realistic overtones and it all has a genuine feel of actual events.  There is also even a rumour that Chibnall didn’t tell the actors until the last moment who the murderer was …


Now, compare that with Shetland, a two-part adaptation of Ann Cleeves’ Red Bones, which the BBC aired Sunday-Monday.  Douglas Henshall and Alison O’Donnell lead the cast and do a pretty reasonable job too, however … I thought the story line was just too thin.  I’ve not read Red Bones but the premise of a war-time traitor being murdered (and his money stolen to build a domestic empire) being revealed in the modern world was just two-dimensional. What sub-plot there was briefly touched on O’Donnell’s character’s relationship with a local lad and a Professor of archaeology  playing the field – nowhere near the depths of The Killing.  There just wasn’t enough bang for the buck. Shetland, the island, is a great choice for setting – windswept and very Nordic noir – but it could just have been set in any remote location; Exmoor, mid-Wales … Derby. And using Uphellyaa as a climax back-drop seemed more like a tourist ploy rather than a plot device.




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