Last night was the finale of series 4 of Line Of Duty. It’s been a slow burn this one. Originally starting off as a Thursday night BBC2 show, it’s moved up the ranks to prime time BBC 1 on Sunday evenings. It follows the work of AC-12 (Anti Corruption unit 12. No idea what 1-11 do. Actually, the police must be pretty corrupt to require at least 12 units. There was none of this on Hartbeat). Each series has a storyline which starts and finishes within the series; but over the 4 series, Ted Hastings and his team have been getting closer to uncovering corruption “right at the top of the force”. (Isn’t the Queen the head of the Police. It his “Her Majesty’s Constabulary” after all. They do call all the female bosses “m’am”. I think I might have cracked this one for you Ted.)
There has been a lot press interest in this series (probably because it is now on BBC1. Funny how that happens. 4 series of Bake Off on BBC 2; not a sniff in the press. It moves to BBC 1 and it’s suddenly a national event). It has been a great series but it does have its quirks though, such as we don’t know where it is based (it’s filmed in Belfast). All the roads have anywhere names (no mention of the Shankhill Road) and all the buildings look like anywhere places (as long as that place is Belfast) and just because the lead character is an Ulster boy, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is based in Northern Ireland (it is).
I also love the way they they interview people. Last night Ted, Steve and Kate were interviewing the suspect and her solicitor. Now I’m no police officer but I cannot finish my colleagues’ sentences the way that these three do. They have perfect timing (it’s almost as if they are actors reading a script…oh hold on). In reality the conversation would go:
Steve: I’m showing item IMJ-13, an item of clothing worn by the murder victim. We found this….
Kate: We found this….oh sorry I thought you had finished speaking
Steve: No I was just going to finish by saying we found this item in the boot of your car, then you were going on to talk about the next slide.
Kate: Sorry, my bad. Carry on.
Steve: Well I’ve said it now.
Ted: Do you still have nothing to say?
Steve: Ted, you only ask that question once Kate has revealed that we also found the murder weapon.
Kate: I reveal that we found the murder weapon? I thought that was you?
Steve: No I do the clothes, you do the murder weapon.
Kate: So who reveals that phone call log?
Steve: I dunno. Did we do that in the rehearsal?
Ted: I’ll just sit here and stare moodily at the suspect. That’s usually a safe bet.
These points aside, it is one of the best crime shows on TV at the moment and looks set to become a Sunday night feature. One programme that had been a Sunday night fixture for decades is Antiques Roadshow. It is the granddaddy of the current swaith of Antiques shows such as Bargain Hunt, Flog it and Dickinson’s Real Deal (which we reviewed here last year). I’ll be honest, I don’t normally watch it, but I was waiting for Line of Duty to come on, so I gave it a fleeting glance.
Last time I watched it, it used to take place in town halls and Arthur Negus would wax lyrical over furniture while Hugh Sculley looked on with his Frankenstein’s monster haircut. These days it’s all outdoors. I know. With our weather as well! They have parasols with experts under them like a posh car boot sale. They still have the audience lurking behind, but with it all being outdoors, it’s a now a sea of fleeces and Barbours. One chap in a red fleece popped up behind every item. I bet he chose it so that he would stand out. Sometimes they let the audience sit down. During one segment, the expert was sat in a deckchair, hair being blown horizontally by the wind, valuing the handbag of the woman sat in the deckchair opposite her. Meanwhile a line of audience members were sat in deckchairs off to their right in a perfect line like a set of laid back cricket slips. Red fleece man stood at the back.
I also seem to remember that the expert would ask something like “So how long has this been in your family?” Or “Well, the Ming dynasty was the most famous dynasty on Mongo”. These days, the person who brings in the item seems to tell the experts more than the the other way around. One chap spent what felt like a lifetime explaining the history of a lifebuoy and life jacket. He was so long that red fleece man actually left half way through and returned for the end when the man had spoken so long he received a round of applause (I just think think they were glad he had finished). Of course what we really wanted to know was how much these things were worth. They were worth around 15 grand. Yeah I know. Can you imagine how more unbearable that tale is going to become down the pub, now that he knows that?