The ever trusty barometer of office gossip tells me that the BBC have a hit on their hands with Life on Mars, and who am I to argue with the way the wind blows? I thought last night’s pilot was smashing telly, dishing out the mockery and homage in equal measure, in order to serve up a damn fine, classic cop show, climaxing in a perfectly placed slow-mo dual leap across a desk piled high with the finest biscuits your super-sized seventies’ money could buy. Shameless, and brill.
John Simm, as good as he’s ever been as the incredibly earnest DCI Sam Tyler, is cast back in time, and demoted to boot: from DCI in 2006, to DI in ‘73. There’s very able support from Philip Glenister as Sam’s new Gov, the gloriously pre-reformed, hands-on DCI Gene Hunt; and Liz White, as psych graduate WPC Annie Cartright. Every tacky ‘70’s trapping you can think of was present and correct, from the unremarked sexism and racism, to Open University, vinyl LPs, brown wallpaper, handled pint-pots, shouty coppers, and God knows what else. It was all very impressive.
Especially since I don’t know anyone who was expecting this to be good. Yes, Kudos have great form, and we all enjoy Spooks and Hustle, but a 21st century copper sent back to 1973? Please. I can see the comic misunderstandings already. Honestly now, who didn’t think this was going to be shit?
Thank Christ we can all still be surprised by our entertainment now and then.
Preview for episode two is here.
Category: Movies and TV