Monday, 2 March 2015


A few words about things I couldn't review due to unforeseen circumstances.

- The Casual Vacancy - Episode One (BBC One): A 3 X 60 minute adaptation of the 2012 book by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) for the BBC and HBO. In a picture postcard English village, the death of a local councillor reveals in the most nasty way the conflicts between its inhabitants. 

As subtle as a hammer (with its heavy social satire) and moderately entertaining, The Casual Vacancy is basically an extended pre-credit sequence of Midsomer Murders. We wonder if the characters of this highly dispensable piece of television will all kill each other in the end of the third part. Adapted by Sarah Phelps (Great Expectations) and directed by Jonny Campbell. Starring Michael Gambon, Julia McKenzie, Keeley Hawes, Rufus Jones, Rory Kinnear, Emilia Fox, etc. 

- Midsomer Murders: A Vintage Murder (ITV): It seems everybody does Midsomer better than the worn-out detective drama these days, starting with the ever effective Death in Paradise. Thank God, the supremely talented writer Lisa Holdsworth (New Tricks) concluded a both tired and tiresome 17th series with this gem. The expectations were high because Miss Holdsworth previously killed Martine McCutcheon with a giant cheese in the episode Schooled in Murder (2013).

 A Vintage Murder is simply the best episode since series 15. Naoko Mori (Torchwood) is hilariously brilliant in a performance reminiscent of Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous. The guest cast includes Mark Bonnar, Lloyd Owen, Claire Bloom and Rosie Cavaliero. Directed by Nick Laughland.

Midsomer Murders is produced by Bentley Productions Ltd, an All3Media company, for ITV. 

- Bajo Sospecha - Episode One (Antena 3): The most interesting drama of February comes from Spain and it is produced by Bambú Producciones, the company behind Velvet and Grand Hotel (Gran Hotel), for Atresmedia Televisisión. 7-year old Alicia Vega disappears without a trace after her first communion. 10 days later, she's still missing and the police is convinced that the culprit is one of the guests at the ceremony or a member of the Vega family. 

Two undercover cops are sent to their village as husband and wife: maverick covert operations expert Victor Reyes (Yon González) and behaviour analyst Laura Cortés (Blanca Romero). Only Commissioner Casas (Lluís Homar) knows their true identities and their mission as they search answers amongst the secrets, lies and mysteries of the community.

Sold as "Broadchurch in Spain", Bajo Sospecha (10 x 75 minute episodes) is in fact the worthy successor to the beloved Grand Hotel, with which it shares not only three actors (González, Homar and Pedro Alonso as Alicia's father) but also some format similarities. There's even a nice nod to Gran Hotel in the premiere. It is not unreasonable to expect from this creation of Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira (developed by them with Adolfo Valor) the amount of twists and turns we had through the corridors of the luxurious hotel of Cantaloa.

Bajo Sospecha is produced by Ramón Campos and Teresa Fernández-Valdés and distributed by Beta Films. The (superb) music is by Federico Jusid.

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