Tuesday, 5 January 2010


Hustle series 6 started yesterday on BBC One with a rather enjoyable episode 1, an amusing opening sequence, new locations with a surreal feeling, a script with some déja vu, and Indira Varma without the glove.

Mickey "Bricks" Stone (Adrian Lester) and his team are back and their return opens with one of their most delirious scams: to make a sheikh believe that Kylie Minogue will accept to sing at his birthday party except that Kylie is one of the two brilliant new recruits of previous series, Emma Kennedy. Pity there's no Hustle Confidential or Declassified because we could learn if this opener started from a joke between production staff members. Not only Kelly Adams looks like Kylie Minogue but her talking impersonation is absolutely hilarious (beware, Debra Stephenson...) Best lines in this sequence: « No Locomotion. Sorry but... it was shit » and « I don't even look like Kylie ».

Their next mark is Sir Edmund "Piggy" Richardson (the always reliable Patrick Ryecart), ex-boss of a bank bailed out by the British government, and most hated corporate shark of the moment in the UK because of a pension scandal (« These bloody people think the world owes them a bloody living! ») Albert (Robert Vaughn, who seems in better shape than last year) introduces himself to "Piggy" as a head hunter for the Western Bank of California and the con is on.

However, a mysterious and attractive woman challenges Mickey Stone during a dinner for the highest irritation of Emma and the amusement of her brother Sean (Matt Di Angelo): DCI Lucy Britford (Indira Varma) of the Economic Crime Division. She sees Mickey as a stepping-stone (!) and wants to catch him but the team leader convince his friends to go on with the plan.

The idea of a potential nemesis for the Hustle crew is not new, remember Tamzin Outhwaite as Katherine in series one, Richard Chamberlain as James Whittaker Wright III in series 3 or Patrick Bergin as Toby Baxter in the previous series. But we can imagine that production constraints such as schedules or availabilities kill the possibility to bring back a character beyond the limit of within the current series - like Adam James as Carlton "Arse" Wood in series 5.

The talent of Adrian Lester saves the scenes around Holmes' office from a total déja vu and the case switch is anticipated the very minute Richardson receives the call from "DCI Britford". The all thing almost ruins the danger factor of "Lucy Bitchface" - as Emma calls her. It's Suzie Costello, she can be meaner and clever than this...

Great moments for Matt Di Angelo as Benny of Abba, er... DS Harper, and Robert Glenister as Ash (particularly in the opening sequence). Glenister needs a show as a lead, he has nothing to envy to his brother. The move to Birmingham in order to contain production costs could be a good thing if the action was not meant to stay in London. The shots of the Gherkin and Westminster almost have a "Hey, we're in London" ticker below the screen, Lew Grade would have loved this.

Nice start. Eddie's, anyone?

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1 comment:


I thought there were a few too many establishing shots of London à la those ITC shows of yore. Glad someone else noticed!
   The Australian accent was very convincing—her Kelly Adams’s ‘Thank you’ could have come right out of Neighbours. I guess we might find out on the DVD commentaries later this year.
   I think Adams and di Angelo are working out well and Tony Jordan has built on their characters so well I don’t miss Marc Warren and Jaime Murray any more.