The Coroner

How have I managed this long without The Coroner in my life?

For those tragic souls not in the know, this daytime drama – if that’s not too strong a word – stars Claire Goose as a… well, you work it out, investigating unexplained and frankly implausible deaths on the English Riviera. It’s Doc Martin meets Broadchurch at Midsomer-on-Sea. And, like Midsomer, it’s simply impossible to tell if it’s a sly, nod-and-a-wink spoof, or just really badly written. As I’m feeling charitable, let’s go with the former.

This week’s second series opener revolved around the death of a skydiver. It started with the victim’s wife begging him not to make the jump, followed by a ding-dong at the skydiving school over parachute safety. ‘It was one slip, it won’t happen again!’ protested the guy in charge of checking the straps. ‘You stink of booze!’ snarled the soon-to-be-victim. The omens, it has to be said, weren’t great. And, sure enough, the poor wretch was soon was plummeting to the earth like a human brick, causing strap check guy to drop his bottle of vodka in shock.

Dr Jane Kennedy (Goose) was first on the scene, as I believe coroner’s often aren’t, along with what appears to be the town’s only policeman. They were greeted by the victim’s distraught colleague (Corrie’s Tupele Dorgu) with the immortal line: ‘The British Parachute Association will confirm what I found – this wasn’t an accident!’ (If anyone’s stuck for Christmas present ideas, I’d love this on a t-shirt.)

Meanwhile, Jane’s teenage daughter was warned about the quicksand on a nearby beach. ‘That’s just an old wives’ tale,’ a local surf dude assured her. Guess what, readers? It wasn’t just an old wives’ tale!

Whodunit? The grieving widow, of course. Believe me, I’m not bragging when I say I wrote ‘shedunit’ next to her name five minutes in. It’s just that sort of show. And it turned out her husband was dying anyway, so no harm done, eh?

My only regret is that, the killer having ’fessed up, we never did find out the British Parachute Association’s view on all this.


TV extra:

Michael McIntyre’s Big Show

The headline acts on Michael McIntyre’s returning variety show – a sort of Ant and Noel’s Saturday Night House Party – were supposed to be Ellie Goulding and (but of course) Olly Murs. But the real star turned out to be a fireman called Andy, who came to London to give a safety talk, and ended up fulfilling his lifelong dream of performing on the West End stage with an incredible performance of Bring Him Home from Les Mis. Cheesy? Definitely. Did I have something in my eye? Couldn’t possibly say.


Young, Gifted & Classical: The Making of a Maestro

This uplifting documentary took us inside the Nottingham home of the Kanneh-Masons, a family of seven astonishingly talented young musical prodigies. Forget squabbling over the iPad: here, it was all about whose turn it was to use ‘the good piano’. Sheku, 17, recently became the first black winner of the BBC’s Young Musician competition, while 11-year-old Aminata likes to play her violin in front of the bathroom mirror. Most of us made do with a hairbrush, but these wonderful, inspirational kids are clearly not most people.

Published in Waitrose Weekend, November 24, 2016

(c) Waitrose Weekend