Sunday, 25 December 2016


[Update - January 1, 2017] « One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. » (Again)

- Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio (BBC One, December 25). Clumsy and chatty nocturnal "homage" to the superhero genre. With an irritating sense of déjà vu, this Christmas... special is closer to Glen A. Larson's NightMan than to Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

The Return of Doctor Mysterio manages to be not as annoying as the squeezing toy of the episode (alongside a Ghost action figure soon?) thanks to the interesting presence of Tomiwa Edun (Mr Brock) and Aleksandar Jovanovic (Dr Sim) in the guest cast. And it's nice to see Matt Lucas back as Nardole.

- Maigret's Dead Man (ITV, December 25). In these troubled times nothing is more Christmassy for ITV than a slaughter in Picardie or maybe they had to find an answer to BBC One's Christmas Agatha Christie. After Maigret Sets A Trap last March, comedian and actor Rowan Atkinson is back  as Commissaire Jules Maigret, the laconic, pipe-smoking French policeman created by Belgian author Georges Simenon.

Budapest doubles rather well as Paris and production values look great. Atkinson seems a bit more at ease but, how to put this nicely... He could be a perfect Commissaire Fowleur or Commissaire Blackaddeur but not Commissaire Maigret. We should humbly know as we had the definitive Maigret with the late Bruno Cremer. This said, BBC Worldwide (the distributor) is probably not worried given international sales and the very good ratings of Brit detective/crime dramas on France 3, which will show the 2016 Maigret adaptations here.

While we're at it, I still can't figure out the meaning of the lyrics on the beautiful theme composed by Samuel Sim. And I'm supposed to be French. Produced by Maigret Productions and Ealing Studios with Pioneer Stillking Films. Adapted by Stewart Harcourt and directed by Jon East.

- Revolting Rhymes (BBC One, December 26 & 27). Astute and charming 2 X 30-minute adaptation of the book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake. Another pure wonder from Magic Light Pictures, the company which gave us The Gruffalo (2009), The Gruffalo's Child (2011), Room on the Broom (2012) and Stick Man (2015). Adapted and directed by Jakob Schuh & Jan Lachauer. Co-directed by Bin-Han To. Animated at Magic Light Pictures, Berlin and Triggerfish Animation Studios, Cape Town. With the voices of Rob Brydon, Bertie Carvel, Gemma Chan, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Rose Leslie, Bel Powley, David Walliams and Dominic West.

- The Witness for the Prosecution - Part One (BBC One, December 26). This year's Christmas Agatha Christie. Compared to And Then There Were None (this adaptation is from the same prodco and writer) it's quite a disappointment. And it's darker... I'm talking about the lighting, of course. Who's the culprit? Mr Budget with a candlestick in the library? 

- Jonathan Creek: Daemon's Roost (BBC One, December 28). Alan Davies returns in his most famous role for this Christmas special of the mystery drama created by writer David Renwick. Launched in 1997, Jonathan Creek  has had its up and downs since Caroline Quentin, who played the duffel-coated sleuth's first partner Maddy Magellan, left in 2000. Thankfully, Daemon's Roost is pleasantly entertaining. Sarah Alexander is back as Jonathan's wife Polly and the legendary Warwick Davis steals the episode as Creek's self-proclaimed biggest fan Rev. Wendell Wilkie. Ken Bones guest stars as former Hammeresque film star Nathan Clore. Directed by Sandy Johnson.

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