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It's a real crime how much drama I watch

By Frances Burscough

Not that I'm a couch-potato or anything, but I've noticed that in the first six weeks of the year there are often so many TV dramas appearing that you could stay up til midnight every night catching up on 'catch-up'. Fortunately with a little bit of jiggery-pokery with the red button on the remote control, the invaluable 'plus one' channels, iPlayer, More4 and Sky Plus it is possible to co-ordinate your recordings so that you have enough time to spread them out over the entire week and to make a cup of cocoa between episodes.

Consequently for the last few weeks I have been simultaneously following the following, which I will review in order of appearance:

Homeland (Sundays Channel4)

Oh God, cold-as-ice Carrie is back again; rubbing Saul up the wrong way and making an enemy of herself with every terrorist cell in the Western world as well as the Middle East. But with only two episodes in, very little has actually happened as yet apart from Quinn re-appearing with brain damage and getting locked in Carrie's basement like a creepy skeleton in the closet.

Apple Tree Yard (Sundays BBC1)

I was enthralled and then horrified watching episode one, as the main character Yvonne went from being seduced by a stranger to brutally raped by a friend in one of the most horrific scenes I've ever seen on TV. But episode two bored me to tears, despite the shocking intro. I'll stick with it though, in the hope of a few more twists in the plot and the hope of redemption and/or closure.

Silent Witness (Mondays and Tuesdays BBC)

In which a team of forensic pathologists always get way too involved in every investigation; often straying so far above and beyond the call of duty that they really ought to be sacked and struck-off, if not actually jailed for perverting the course of justice. I admit I used to love watching Silent Witness, but now it's starting to get so silly that it's like Scooby Doo for grown-ups.

Case (Tuesdays More4)

Set in Iceland this crime drama is about as bleak as they come, beginning with a schoolgirl found hanging dead above the stage after a school ballet production. Of course everyone who has anything to do with the wee girl is clearly up-to-no-good from the onset, with abusive alcoholic parents, control-freak foster parents, junkie best friends and a toe-rag ex-boyfriend all waiting in the wings. Add a pot-smoking hippie private investigator, an insomniac cop and a lawyer with a dark secret and you've got all the makings of a classic feel-bad scandi noir. Æoislegt!

Unforgotten (Thursdays ITV)

The first series was certainly unforgettable and this follow-up investigation is proving just as good. It follows the complex historic murder investigation after a suitcase containing a skeleton is discovered on the banks of a canal. Nicola Walker plays DCI Cassie Stuart who is both tough and sassy but endearingly sensitive towards all the many characters who become entangled, implicated and devastated as she digs up more and more tawdry facts of the case. It's really complicated to follow - especially if you're watching numerous other crime series simultaneously as I am - but absolutely worth it.

Taboo (Saturdays BBC1)

A moody and mystical masterpiece set in the slums and gin palaces of Georgian London. My beloved Tom Hardy, who always excels as evil anti-heroes in bodice-ripping costume dramas, plays James Delaney who has just returned from 10 years in Africa (doing what? Who knows, but there's something decidedly fishy going on in all the flash-backs) to claim his dead father's shipping company whilst enraging the king himself as well as assorted captains of industry . There are hints of incest, murder, torture, orgies, voodoo, cannibalism, drug-abuse and every vice going, so it's not unlike a night out in Belfast city centre and definitely worth staying in on a Saturday night for.

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