TV View: The Fall, our very own Danse Macabre in 10 steps
The programmes to watch and the ones you'll want to miss
Well, it's all over now, bar the shouting impotently at the TV. Last night's epic finale of The Fall (BBC2) brought the blood-spattered curtain down on the drawn-out Danse Macabre between the Sonny and Cher of crime thriller stars.
If you haven't yet seen the conclusion to series two of the Stella 'n' Paul story, I hope I'm not spoiling it too much by telling you that it was Paul what done it in the end.
A last-minute upping of the body count was overdue. A clear act of desperation from a character who was as bored to tears as we were by our chiselled psychopathic two-bit counsellor mistakenly believing he was some enigmatic cad in Dangerous Liaisons, rather than a standard thriller villain. Why else spout Camus to impossibly impressionable schoolgirls rather than, y'know, bumping them off? Now it's finished (we'll ignore talk of a Spector-less third series for now), surely it must be time for the handy go-away guide to The Fall's overall silliness? With your permission, I'll embrace the darkness one more time. In 10 uneasy pieces…
1. They put DI Stella up in the Merchant Hotel! For two whole series! She proceeded to use it as her own personal love pad/dream laboratory. It's not clear she still hasn't got a room there with the case cacked, sorry, cracked.
2. Question: What kind of serial killer doesn't get caught within hours in the two-degrees-of-separation zone that is Belfast? Answer: A completely unbelievable one.
3. The accent was on "unbelievable". It had a dizzying array of Belfast actors wrestling - and losing - with the Belfast accent.
4. "Do you have ANY idea of the effect you have on men?" There wasn't ANYBODY in The Fall who didn't fancy Stella. John Lynch's character "liked" her so much he tried to rape her. Horrible and ridiculous.
5. "You think I'm a little girl but I'm not." The most stereotypically male notion of a "precocious" schoolgirl since Lolita passed into cliché. And which part of Belfast was she from again?
6. "Meet me in Burt's Bar." The blend of real local landmarks with such fictional gems as Bleecker Street Hotel. A great hide-out for on-the-runs, as it turned out.
7. "I'm an ambulance chaser. I'm a big deal around here." This horrific Belfast seemed to be populated by attractive solicitors and cops. 'Young? Charismatic? Good looking? Join The PSNI' isn't the current recruitment slogan. The "lower orders", when they appeared, all seemed to be in the UVF (Unconvincing Volunteer Force - see point 10).
8. The dialogue ranged from clunking exposition by excruciating idiots to utterly pretentious babble. "Best" examples? Try this blood-draining sequence of words (referring to a paedophile priest): "A man of my faith! A man in a position of power! With an altar boy! Behind the altar! In full vestments! Unholy orders!" Or who can't forget: "Sweet Stella, sexy Stella, stroppy Stella." You left out "sporty" and "posh", mate…
9. "Tell you what, mate, that's a write-off now, so it is." Worst. Cops. Ever. PSNI became acronym for Pretty Sure (they've) No Inkling.
10. "I have the reputation and the wherewithal to back it up!" The most ludicrous local paramilitaries on our screen since the last Nolan Show.
I’m warming to cuddly Hamster after compelling weather report
Like Daniel in the Apprentice’s CV, I realised whilst recently watching Jeremy Clarkson and co playing car-rugby in modestly priced hatchbacks, that my hatred of Top Gear is probably under-exaggerated.
So imagine my surprise when I actually enjoyed watching Richard Hammond’s Wild Weather (BBC1). ‘Hamster’ is the small one in Top Gear, who hangs out with the other two because he’s afraid they might pick on him otherwise.
In spite of featuring him and weather in the title, it turned out to be a really informative and entertaining show. And now I know that thermals aren’t just what my mum’s going to buy me for Christmas. Again.
Twisted, funny and John Hamm. Three great ingredients for any TV programme. And Channel 4’s Black Mirror succeeded in feeling both weirdly festive and unsettling. Like watching those recently emergency edited Top Of The Pops Christmas Specials from the Seventies. Oh, and The Missing. My goodness...
I usually rather like The Choir (BBC2) and the endearing enthusiasms of Gareth Malone. But recently it’s somehow lost its choral mojo. And the terminal craic vacuum (craicuum, if you please) that is Never Mind The Buzzcocks (BBC2) is STILL lumbering on. Seriously people — has nobody seen the Walking Dead? One head shot will suffice.