Top Telly: Out

In the 1978 TV series OUT, poker-faced Tom Bell plays Frank Ross, a gangster who is sent to prison for robbery after someone grasses him up. Eight years later, Ross leaves the slammer and is confronted with a London that has changed and people that have changed. Instead of stitching back together his relationships, however,…

FIVE CRIME FICTION FAVOURITES FROM 2017.

From my decidedly faulty memory, I’ve picked 5 crime fiction books, films and TV shows that I enjoyed in 2017. There were others, of course, and plenty of pleasures outside the genre too – The Love Witch, Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, and Damnation, for example. Anyway, here you go: FILM DOG EAT DOG I…

Failing Better: Brit Grit Comedy

“Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot. To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it!” – Charlie Chaplin “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.’” – Samuel Becket. As Chaplin showed, there has always been a dark aspect to…

Stone Me, What A Life! – Tony Hancock

They say that all small boys are influenced by their big brother’s music collection, and while that may well be true of me, I was also influenced by my family’s taste in other forms of entertainment.  Luckily I grew up in a time when television and radio weren’t as youth focused as they are now…

Top Telly 2016

Like 2015, 2016 was another great year for telly. I watched a lot of good TV this year, most of it American and mostly crime fiction. Second seasons can be problematic, as True Detective showed, but Fargo’s second season was even better than the first – cinematic, sharp dialogue, great music and top turns from…

Top Telly: Brit Grit On The Box

It was announced a while ago that Acorn Media, who are the main distributor of British TV programming to North American consumers, had acquired a 64% stake in Agatha Christie Limited. This means that those delicate folk across the pond will have hours of Miss Marple and Poirot to nibble on while they wait for BBC’s latest incarnation of Sherlock or the Inspector Morse prequel, Endeavour. In comparison…

Top Telly: Fargo (2014)

Apparently there was an earlier attempt at a television spin-off of the Coen brothers’ blackly comic film classic – this time starring Kathy Bates – but I never saw that and approached this television series with a degree of trepidation. Well, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Black comedy is a delicate balancing act and…

Top Telly: Bad Girl Rachel Bailey

My current favourite Bad Girl is a cop. Of course, crime fiction – whether it’s in books, films or on television – is over-populated with strong-willed, impulsive, foul mouthed, chain smoking, heavy drinking, bed-hopping cops. But with Detective Constable Rachel Bailey, in the gritty British TV series Scott & Bailey, that cliché is given a…

Top Telly: Bullman The Bulldog

One of British television’s great creations, George Bulman first appeared on the small screen in 1976, in Granada Television’s hard edged crime series, The XYY Man, based on the books by Kenneth Royce. The XYY Man in question was a cat burglar called Spider Scott who was trying to go straight but regularly ended up getting…