Tin Star

Tin Star (Sky Atlantic)

I missed Tin Star first time around, so you’ll forgive me if my dropped jaw is still playing catch-up. For the uninitiated, it stars Tim Roth as Jim Worth, a Cockney copper with a shady past now lying low as the police chief of Little Big Bear, a one-moose town on the edge of the Canadian Rockies. Except, when he’s had a few drinks, Jim unleashes his raging, violent alter-ego Jack Devlin – think the Hulk after a night on the sauce – thus initiating a frenzied orgy of bloody mayhem.

This week’s second season opener began with Jim/Jack having just shot dead his daughter Anna’s (Abigail Lawrie) boyfriend in revenge for murdering his five-year-old son, which in turn prompted Anna to shoot her father. Traumatised, she then wandered off into the mountains and picked a fight with a snow leopard (or it may have been a lynx – what am I, David Attenborough?), from which, implausibly, she emerged the victor. Then she tried to hang herself. Meanwhile, with a blizzard closing in, the wounded Jim/Jack managed to drag himself to a house in the woods, which he then burned down in order to keep warm. Like you do. 

Back in town, Jim/Jack’s old nemesis from his London days – played, unfeasibly, by Ian Puleston-Davies, aka King Thistle from Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom – was recovering in hospital from Jim/Jack whacking him round the head with a sock full of billiard balls. His girlfriend was also there, after Jim/Jack stuck her with a broken bottle. Oh, and the town’s constable (Ryan Kennedy) was in, too. Because Jim/Jack – his boss – had shot him. It was that sort of week.

Later, Jim/Jack spotted his wife Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly) and, in attempting to reach her, caused a lorry to crash into a truck. That’s him just crossing the road. Seriously, this guy is such a liability he makes Luther look like the desk sergeant from Juliet Bravo.

It’s impossible to fully do justice to just how off-the-chain insane Tin Star is. But imagine Fargo crossed with the Christmas Day episode of EastEnders and you’re halfway there. Lovely scenery though.

TV extra:


Imagine… (BBC One)

Alan Yentob’s absorbing portrait of Jo Brand explored how an unhappy childhood – her dad was a manic-depressive who hit her and once burned all her clothes – inspired a life of comic rebellion. Over the years, she’s used her wit and those trademark DMs to kick against everything from the patriarchy to the invisibility of old people, and become a national treasure into the bargain. Except she insists: ‘I’m not a national treasure – I’m a national disgrace’. We’ll be the judge of that.


Sex Education (Netflix)

This comedy drama – a sort of Inbetweeners meets Grease, about a shy, virginal teenager who accidentally becomes his high school’s sex therapist – is a rare British-made Netflix original. Except, with its trailer parks and Letterman sweaters, the Welsh Valleys have been made to look weirdly like Middle America – a deliberate move, according to star Gillian Anderson, to avoid confusing US viewers. Anyway, it’s very rude, but also kinda sweet.

Published in Waitrose Weekend, January 31, 2019

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