Gloss over substance is the watchword for BBC1’s new Wednesday night whizz bang effort, The Interceptor. It features the adventures of an elite team called UNIT (nowt to do with Doctor Who), why try to track down untouchable crooks and bring them down. Using high tech surveillance techniques and some muscle, they specialise in nailing nasty underworld characters that think they can escape the long hand of the law, including a mastermind played by Trevor Eve. It’s nothing that we’ve not seen before and the good production values clearly have an eye on international sales, but the money has not been spent on cobbling together a decent script. It’s unintentionally funny in parts and it’s nowhere near as smart as what Spooks or Hustle were, which is the market The Interceptor is aiming at. That said, it’s passable good-looking fare for a Wednesday, and in these cash conscious days for the Beeb, if enough countries buy it, then it will return, which sadly shouldn’t be the overriding factor for a series renewal.
We’ve fortunately moved away from the old Scottish TV clichés of years gone by akin to Doctor Finlay and Take the High Road, with the change led by the excellent Taggart, and a stream of quality dramas like The Crow Road which popped up nearly 20 years ago but still remains long in my memory. That was penned by the late Iain Banks, and the good looking two-parter, Stonemouth, which started last night on BBC2, returns to familiar Crow Road territory as a young man, played by Christian Cook, returns to a small town that has seen some changes in his absence. It’s a decent enough mystery but arguably the gorgeous views around Banff Bay steal the show.
When Jonathan Ross does something about the movies, he’s normally in top form, and he was a great replacement for Barry Norman on the BBC1 Film series. He’s still missed from that, but he popped on BBC2 last Saturday for a very enjoyable look behind the scenes at Pinewood Studios, mixed in with 80 years of nostalgia and some fascinating looks at the art of stunts and special effects. Perhaps a bit too much time was spent on plugging the new James Bond movie, but Ross was adept in reeling us in with his enthusiasm for the medium, plus some nice moments in the company of Joan Collins, Hayley Mills, and Barbara Windsor.
ITV’s “yawn a second” Sunday night wartime series, Home Fires has been recommissioned for a second series. Why? Because they’d already ordered it before series one tanked with the viewers and reviewers!