TV Review: Line of Duty is ‘something outstanding’

Line of Duty
Line of Duty

Freelance reporter James Waller Davies has taken a look at this week’s television highlights and offered his opinion.

Have we just seen the best piece of television of the year?

It’s only mid-March and it could well be that episode five of Line of Duty (BBC Two) has delivered the top drama of the year already. Whilst this column often takes a less than complimentary slant on our weekly television diet, when you see something outstanding, you just have to come out and say it.

The episode culminated with the intense 17 minute long single scene interrogation of Deputy Chief Inspector Dryden (Mark Bonnar) by Arnott (Martin Compston) and Flemming (Vicky McClure).

There’s nowhere to hide in long scenes. The camera focuses relentlessly on the acting and the dialogue. The writing is electric and Jed Mercurio, the writer/creator, could be forgiven for dusting down his trophy cabinet now in anticipation of honours to comes.

The acting didn’t disappoint either. Martin Compston’s Arnott has grown throughout the series and his slow but relentless duel with Dryden lead to the near complete crumpling of his boss, the Deputy Chief Inspector.

The kicker? We still don’t know if Dryden really has been set up by Lyndsey Denton (Keeley Hawes). The series finale is on Wednesday.

If Keely Hawes is the villain, then new Dr Who, Peter Capaldi, had better beware: Hawes is set to play the villain in Capaldi’s first outing as the time-travelling oddball.

As if to prove BBCs one and two do not talk to each other, the second series of Shetland (BBC One) began this week. Quite why the BBC would wish to overlap two of its top crime dramas is beyond me.

Shetland looks to have potential and already has a great performance from Brian Cox (no, not the “spaceman”, the other one) as the grisly old crofter, Magnus Bain. It’s just a shame Shetland will lose out by unfavourable comparison with Line of Duty for a couple of weeks.

To add further programming confusion, Line of Duty’s Mark Bonnar is on Shetland too. Could he be guilty in both at the same time?

Don’t Tell The Bride (BBC Three) placed caveman Mark in the enviable position of having just three weeks to ruin his bride’s big day. In the build-up the show even boasted the new series would “sink to new lows”. It didn’t disappoint.

If the people who make the anatomically ridiculous Barbie dolls made dogs, they would make Afterglow Maverick Sabre. More sensibly known as Ricky, this Standard Poodle won top dog at this year’s Crufts (Channel 4).

His radical grooming, with a pom-pom on each extremity, left the poor chap looking like a one dog cheerleading team.

The little wire-haired fox terrier looked like the only normal dog in the final. And certainly the only one that wouldn’t take a lifetime to groom after a roll in the mud on Freiston shore.