February 5, 2009


Grotesque, glorious nonsense:This whodunnit may not win points for originality, but it's exciting stuff: Whitechapel, ITV1 (Rachel Cooke, 05 February 2009, New Statesman)

So, what have we here, detective inspector? A grisly murder mystery, starring the super-smooth hunk of the moment, Rupert Penry-Jones, that ticked so many police procedural clich├ęs in its first 20 minutes, I began to wonder if there was any point in me sticking with it.

Only then, I noticed that I was enjoying myself. For all that it's a bit, well, daffy, there is also something irresistibly comforting about Whitechapel (Mondays, 9pm), in which a 21st-century serial killer is busy copying the heinous modus operandi of Jack the Ripper. Basically, this is old-fashioned Sunday teatime television, albeit on a Monday and with a thoroughly post-watershed scattering of intestines, and it induces in me a feeling of deep cosiness, even as the cobbles of east London are liberally splashed with fake blood. "Welcome to hell, gentlemen," said the pathologist as she gazed on corpse number one - at which point, I rubbed my little paws together gleefully and yelled to my husband to put the kettle on.

The blood and guts were way over the top, but at the point where the fast-tracked inspector--who's only there to work his first and only murder so he can be promoted--is rubbing tiger balm into his temples because the regular cops have so little respect for him the show finds its pitch. It was directed by SJ Clarkson, who did Life on Mars, and the Penry-Jones character is an even more modern and by-the-book version of Sam Tyler while his team is like something out of the 70s and the murders are out of the 1880s. The torrent is already posted at The Box--I still have a few invites if you want in.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 5, 2009 10:30 AM
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