‘Armchair Detectives’ – BBC1

Guys, there’s been a murder! But fear not; it’s mid-afternoon on BBC1 so there’s no blood, no swearing and no one speaking Danish. Armchair Detectives is 100% safe for the squeamish. It’s a very unusual format, a quiz show Cluedo with Susan Calman as presenter and lead investigator. 15 members of the public sit jury-style as the studio audience from which three are picked each day to have their turn as the titular detectives. They are invited up to the drawing-room style stage to sit in fancy leather armchairs and work out whodunnit. The only person who doesn’t get to sit is Susan, despite having a chair placed behind her, which seems unfair given her legs must have taken a battering in the run-up to Strictly Come Dancing.

The contestants are all chatty and intelligent, and are probably the last people you want to watch Prime Suspect with as they’ll have smugly figured it all out at least 20 minutes before the credits roll.  And they’ll smile and say “aha!” and make you feel like a berk. Our first team of three include a librarian who loves the Lord Peter Wimsey books, a crime writer, and one is actually called Wisdom. I expect great things.

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On the Box – ‘The Five’

I’m assured that Harlan Coben is a huge deal in thriller writing with his books prominently displayed in stores at airports and train stations. Somehow I seem to have missed him entirely. But his name is writ large on this new Sky drama series and if this is anything to go by I’m going to be keeping an eye out for his stuff in the future.

The Five is an eight-part original thriller made for Sky, which promises to be a stand-alone series with a proper beginning, middle and end. He says “The one thing I do think that I’ve brought to TV from the novels is a real ending. I guarantee that the end of this show is well earned.” If that’s true, that would be so sweet!

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I Have Been Watching… A Telly Tribute to Victoria Wood

I read a quote today that went something like, ‘Is George RR Martin writing the script for 2016?’ Too many people who enrich our lives have been lost this year, most far too soon. But that all goes without saying.

I always felt that Victoria Wood was a champion for those of us who were painfully shy in our youth. But she overcame it; big time. How could she not with her absolute genius talent bursting inside of her. Was there nothing this woman couldn’t do? She was a musician (self-taught), songwriter, comedian, dramatic writer and actor. And yet it was all so self-effacing. Quietly producing work that was quite frankly, genius.

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Photo: theguardian.com

Being an avid telly watcher myself I remember her from As Seen On TV . There’s a great quote from that: “I said to my friend – and she watches telly from Wincey Willis through to Gardener’s World into the Open University” (those were the days) “Do you think TV is killing the art of conversation?”
She said, “Errrrmmmm….”

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