Anyone tempted to complain there are too many crime dramas on TV would do well to remember that, in the 1970s and 80s, primetime cop shows looked very different indeed. In place of cerebral, slow-burning fare like Broadchurch or Morse, British viewers would tune in in their millions to watch Starsky & Hutch driving through some cardboard boxes or Magnum PI having a punch-up on the beach.
Bizarrely, ITV is attempting to revive this tradition by scheduling Lethal Weapon – a show that screams ‘11pm on ITV2’ – on Fridays at 9 o’clock.
Based on the holy grail of buddy cop movies, it stars relative unknown Clayne Crawford in the Mel Gibson role of Martin Riggs, a detective so traumatised by the loss of his wife and child he’s turned his death wish into a sort of superpower, rushing in where other cops fear to tread because he’s literally got nothing to lose. Transferred to the LAPD, he’s partnered with by-the-book family man Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans, picking up the baton from Danny Glover), with hilarious consequences.
Well, that’s the idea. And, to be fair, both leads are terrific. But everything about Lethal Weapon feels dated; it’s the sort of show where people shout ‘We got a bank robbery downtown!’, where the police chief is always threatening to bust someone’s ass back to traffic, and where villains are not snared by careful, forensic detective work, but by our heroes crashing a pick-up truck through the window of a warehouse at the docks.
Director ‘McG’ (I know, I know – someone really ought to have had a word by now) adopts the same adrenaline-pumped approach he brought to his big screen Charlie’s Angels reboot – all slo-mo stunts, crunchy rock soundtrack and hero shots of the LA skyline.
It’s a fun ride, but not exactly what you’d call grown-up telly. Still, who knows? If us Brits rediscover a taste for this sort of thing, perhaps we can look forward to Brenda Blethyn’s Vera doing handbrake turns in her Land Rover and Inspector George Gently taking out bad guys with a rocket launcher.
How D’You Get So Rich?
This gossipy nose around the lives of the super-wealthy is the perfect vehicle for host Katherine Ryan. Masking her acid wit behind a sunshine charm offensive, she’s game for anything – whether it’s slipping between the sheets to help ‘Britain’s flashiest playboy’ film his new (ahem) pop video, or being injected with botox by Hollywood’s go-to cosmetic surgeon. She also met pound shop pioneers Steve and Tracy Smith who, despite being worth £50 million, still take their own teabags and tinned salmon on holiday. Maybe that’s why they’re worth £50 million.
Back to the Land
Kicking off her new series profiling rural entrepreneurs, Kate Humble went to Pembrokeshire to meet a dairy farmer who’s buying Japanese bull semen at £1500 a pop to supply London restaurants with fashionable Wagyu beef; a young artisan chocolatier – think Willy Wonka meets One Direction – who employs trendy Millennials instead of Oompa Loompas, and people producing everything from gourmet seaweed to skincare products made from probiotic goat’s milk. Conclusion? Hipsters may well be the unlikely saviours of the British countryside.
Published in Waitrose Weekend, March 9, 2017
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