28 April 2012 4:14 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Phil Davis, the British actor and director, says gritty drama offers escapism from the recession

A corpse is found in a dark London alley: across the body a jester's hat is draped, or maybe there is a charcoal inscription of a tarot symbol, or perhaps the spray-painted tag of an unknown graffiti artist. Something mysterious anyway. For this is British crime drama – the new, macabre style. No more slamming car doors and seedy nightclubs. Popular thriller series such as Whitechapel on ITV or Sherlock on the BBC rely instead on chilling their audiences to the bone. And somewhere, amid the gloom, the increasingly well-known face of Phil Davis often lurks.

Davis, who is a regular in Whitechapel and who played the warped taxi driver in the first series of Sherlock, believes the demand for smart, modern horror is a symptom of the times: "There are two things everybody wants when »

- Vanessa Thorpe

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