Wednesday, July 12, 2006

British TV drama: a fistful of new shows

The latest Radio Times details a clutch of new British TV dramas starting in the next week or so. In fact, there's one beginning tonight on ITV: Jane Hall by Sally Wainwright, creator of At Home With the Braitwaites and a forthcoming series called The Amazing Mrs Pritchard [produced by indie of the moment Kudos, IIRC]. The concept of a drama about a young woman coming to drive buses in London may not sound scintillating, but what I've seen of Wainwright's past work suggests this'll be quirky and fun. It's nice to see fresh drama on TV during the summer, a season that in the past has been typified by wall to wall repeats, reality shows and sports events. Well, at least the amount of repeats is in remission.

On Sunday the BBC brings back moody forensic thriller Silent Witness, much augmented by the addition of Emilia Fox to the cast - if only her character wasn't such a drip. Before that on Sunday is The Chase, a 'frothy new drama' by Kay Mellow set in a market town veterinary practice. All the promos have been screaming THIS IS FOR WOMEN, MEN STAY AWAY but I might give it a chance if we've finished watching season 2 of Deadwood on DVD by then. Over on ITV Where the Heart Is returns for its [insert impossibly large number here] series. Normally, you'd expect it to be on at 8pm in the Heartbeat slot, but the presence of Ant and Dec's Pokerface finale there means Where the Heart Is gets bumped to nine - an incongruous hour for such a gentle drama.

The Inspector Lynley Mysteries returns to the BBC next week, although what day it's on depends where you live - I think it's Tuesday in Scotland and Thursday in the rest of the UK, while postman drama Sorted is Thursday in Scotland and Wednesday everywhere else - or is it Tuesday? Argh. Regional variations do my head in. Anyway, Inspector Lynley features mismatched partners solving telegenic murders.

Sorted is a drama about men. Postmen. Creator Danieal Brocklehurst says in the Radio Times his show is 'all about demonstrating different aspects of contemporary masculinity'. He also feels men is a sector of society is rather under-represented in TV ensemble cast productions. 'A lot of topics aren't fashionable, but they're real problems that real people face.' Hmm. Gotta say, the trailers for this make it look... less than brilliant. Again, not on my must-see-at-all-costs list for next week.

Plus there's female prison drama Bad Girls, a repeat of Taggart, The Bill and all the soaps you can stand. Oh, and buried in Channel 4's schedule is Sugar Rush. I could be wrong, but aside from Hollyoaks I think Sugar Rush is the only new British drama on Channel 4 at night next week...

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