You have to be careful watching Gogglebox (Channel 4) when you’ve got a lot of stuff to watch on your planner. I’m taking it in my stride as it’s my fault for watching things out of order, but it spoiled a major plot twist in the new series of Line of Duty (BBC2).
Gogglebox has become a strange and wonderful cultural touchstone. As you probably already know it’s a simple concept – families and friends sit in their front rooms and are filmed watching the best bits of tv from the week. These teams of amateur telly reviewers are now award winning celebrities in their own right. It’s a strange ,seemingly useless programme on paper but a genuine delight to watch. From initial scepticism (what’s the point of this?!) it’s slowly become must-see tv in our house. And anyway, we’ve been entertained by The Royle Family for years, and what’s that other than people sitting around watching tv?
Series 3 of Line of Duty follows a crack team of armed police, played by a crack team of actors (representing This is England, Ashes to Ashes and great to see Will Mellor’s character from No Offence has had a transfer from Manchester CID). The main character Sgt Danny Waldron aka the series baddun is easily spotted. The surprise was that unlike Series 1 & 2 we actually saw the crime being committed. Yes Officer, he shot that man! Never before has the audience seen the crime Colombo style. Previously we’ve followed along the with work of the internal investigators, unit AC-12, and tried to figure out if the suspected corrupt cop at the centre of their extensive investigation is *ahem* a good cop or bad cop.
Daniel Mays’ Waldron seems a simple creature – a cocky aggressive little prick who bullies his colleagues into making very bad choices. During the initial questioning with AC-12 he hides behind a great spiel of legalistic jargon, citing criminal law and essentially yelling them down. But as the hour passes we see he’s a deeply troubled individual with a hit list of people who have wronged him in the past, and he’s out for vengeance. I think the macho police character is an act. He’s a murderer, as we’ve already seen, but despite this we have some sympathy for him. He’s tortured by something horrible in his past (maybe abuse?), awkward around women, desperate for the respect of his superiors and kind to small dogs (best not to ask about the owner).
So it turns out that the audience saw the crime, but we didn’t see the crime and whodunnit is still a mystery. Nice work Mercurio – very clever. Hopefully it’ll be able to sustain the blistering pace and great action sequences for the whole series. (I felt that Series 1 and 2 both suffered towards the end and tailed off a bit.) It all looks good so far.