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42 reviews in total 
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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Unsatisfying BBC tosh that has little to do with understanding Autism, 25 April 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This started off well with a terrific cast and a good premise but has sadly transgressed into typical fluffy BBC fare with a nice family with nice problems and not much to say. Okay one of their kids has autism but that is no longer the focus of the show. And some of the characters are really annoying.

A bonus is seeing lovely Christopher Eccleston regularly jogging in picturesque countryside in shorts but he doesn't have a lot else to do apart from shouting at everyone and sleeping with his singing teacher (yes his singing teacher, as you do).

They should just call this show The Hughes Family or The Restaurant and just make it comedy-drama about a family who live in Yorkshire and want to open a restaurant and the drop the half-hearted Autism stuff.

Come on BBC you can do better.

8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Average Creek crime tale lacking any credibility or any comic chemistry, 4 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The great beauty of the first four series of Jonathan Creek was not only trying to guess how they did it before Jonathan did but observing the relationship between the two main characters, Jonathan and Maddie (and later Carla). While I like Sheridan Smith and her character I feel that the spark is missing here. If the tale of ghostly deeds they were trying to solve had some credibility it might not matter. Sadly it does matter here because the story is a mess.

Rosalind Tartikoff's tale of satanic goings on at the Catholic school were unfathomable. There is also something wrong with the timescale. The text message mentioned the Circles of 1968 but Rosalind referred to it being exactly 50 years ago which would have been 1963. Also it was never explained who sent the photo and the code note to her. But even if you accepted all this confusing nonsense why the hell would Rosalind now live just a few minutes from the school that haunted her so much? As Victor Meldrew would say I Just Don't Believe It.

I still can't fathom why Fariba felt the need to move her father's body (or at least his head) from the barn to the study. Why was it necessary to hide the fact that he was into magic? He was performing a magic trick with Brad not having S&M sex with him! But even if you go along with this ridiculous premise then there are a few questions that even the newly brainwashed Jonathan would be compelled to ask in the circumstances: How did she know that Rosalind would peer through the keyhole? When it came to remove the body why didn't she just chuck the head out of the window with the clothes and shoes? And when she found a few minutes to retrieve these items before the police turned up how come she didn't leave telltale footprints alongside the two prints of the boots? Added to this why didn't Brad remove these items having helped her dispose of the rest of her father's remains?

And the magic act that Jonathan and Joey witnessed through the barn window was a bit pathetic. I know one of the magicians was dressed as a tribute to David Renwick's friend Ali Bongo but I can't believe that Brad would carry on doing shows like this so soon after the chain saw accident. Also wouldn't the tricks be more daring/dangerous than a pumpkin head floating in the air?

And finally the embracing plot of the conspiracy theory-proving film on the DVD. Wouldn't it have been simpler for the agents to remove this from Franklin's study rather than leaving it for Jonathan to find? Also why risk killing Franklin via the accident with the chainsaw when it may not have proved fatal? And I knew as soon as I saw that statue of the angel at the school that it would land on someone's head.

I noticed some continuity errors/goofs: - How did Pryke see the photos on the stairs when he is confined to a wheelchair? - The globe still shows Africa after Rosalind and the doctor break down the door but it shows South America in the photo Jonathan has of the same scene has at the end. Considering this was the way in which he uncovered the truth it was vitally important to get it right. - Why did the doctor take a crowbar into the house when he turned up? He didn't know anyone was locked in a room, all Rosalind said to him was "get over here now"? - Also Joanna Lumley clearly doesn't know if her daughter's character is called Fabria or Fariba as she uses both at different times (I'm sure at one point she called her Fabreeze). - Why would the male secret agent have a comb when he has cropped hair? Jonathan would usually have spotted that straight away. - After Joey is grabbed round the neck in the Quiet Room she doesn't bother to tell Jonathan what has happened when he gets there, she just points at the picture and he somehow guesses what has occurred.

There were a few moments of the old magic such as Joey and Jonathan's meeting and the scene in the theatre foyer but even these were flawed. Eg the misunderstanding regarding Jack/Jacqueline's gender. This would have been perfect for Maddie but coming out of Jonathan's lips sounds wrong as he's not that insensitive. Plus a lot of the comedy in the old shows came from Jonathan's dislike of 'other people' Here he has become one of those people so he has no one to kick against.

All-in-all a mildly entertaining but seriously flawed show. Perhaps David Renwick has been taking the same de-talent pills that Caroline Aherne took when she returned to write new episodes of The Royle Family and managed to ruin all the things that made it so much fun. Let's hope he stops taking them before the next series comes along.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Exciting swinging 60s teenage mystery drama with a superb psychedelic soundtrack!, 4 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This long-forgotten Thames TV children's drama series (originally broadcast 1 October - 7 November 1968) was directed by Mike Hodges (best known for Get Carter) and was scripted by Trevor Preston who wrote other Thames series Ace Of Wands and episodes of The Sweeney. It combines a psychedelic pop soundtrack with swinging London locations and fashions, to great effect. So while not a music show as such it tapped into the genre with its self-consciously hip style of writing and direction, and by utilising current trends in pop.

The 6-part series was made to promote the London region whose territory Thames had just secured. Based on a novel by Aylmer Hall (published by London Transport), it was designed to encourage teenagers to visit the Capitol's various locations and was described by director Mike Hodges as "a microboppers London trip"! The story centres around three teenagers who search London for the mysterious 'Tyrant King' after overhearing a telephone call in an old house. The only clue they have is a strange drawing found in a wallet dropped by the villain. The trio visit numerous London locations including The South Bank Centre, St Pauls, The Shell Building, Carnaby Street, The Tower of London, The Commonwealth Institute, Kew Gardens and Greenwich. Being filmed entirely on location gives the show a fresh, urgent feel and dispenses with harshly-lit studio scenes that bog down so many dramas of the period and the London landmarks are shown off to good advantage.

Guest stars include Phillip Madoc as the mysterious 'Scarface' and Murray Melvin as the creepy villain 'Uncle Gerry'.

But it is the score which gives the series most of its cult appeal today. The pop art opening titles are displayed on a billboard in a busy London Street to the accompaniment of The Nice's obscure psych-pop anthem 'Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack'. The various episodes utilise further tracks from The Nice's debut album as well as material from Cream's 'Wheels Of Fire' and 'Disraeli Gears', The Moody Blues 'In Search Of The Lost Chord' and most memorably Pink Floyd's 'Saucerful Of Secrets" and 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn'. In some cases the vocals have been edited out leaving the instrumental passages, perhaps best displayed by Jack Bruce's haunting cello intro from 'As You Said' which crops up in several paces.

Some tracks are cleverly used to accompany the action on screen so that the Moody Blues' 'Dr Livingston I Presume' with its 'we're all looking for someone' lyric features during search sequences, Cream's 'Passing The Time' is heard during a somewhat boring trip to The British Museum and Roger Water's 'Corporal Clegg' accompanies some soldiers marching in Hyde Park. Also the closing titles utilised the dramatic, building drum and piano part from Floyd's 'A Saucerful Of Secrets', a title which could easily sum up the plot.

Some of the locations are perhaps included to pad out the episodes and there are a few continuity errors, mainly involving the brightly-coloured fashions the teenagers wear (eg when they leave Kew Gardens and get on the bus). But all-in-all this is a must-see show for anyone interested in children's drama or with a love of 1960s London and pop music.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
I wanted Galesko (Dick Van Dyke) to get away with it!, 6 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a fine entry in the Columbo series with the wonderful Dick Van Dyke giving a superb understated performance as long-suffering photographer Paul Galesko plotting a scheme to murder his nagging wife (Antoinette Bower). What makes it so good is the fact that when he kills her she says he won't get away with it and he replies that he doesn't care whether he does or not he just wants rid of her. Of course Columbo sees that he is caught and there's a lot of fun along the way. I particularly like the scene with the nun in the mission hall and the part where Columbo pretends to take some bad photographs at the cemetery in order to make Galesko feel superior. Also details like Columbo's entrance into the scrap yard where the cop thinks he's trying to sell his car for scrap and the scene where Columbo can't find an ashtray and uses his pocket. It all adds up to something very special. My only problem is that Galesko seems such a nice guy that I wanted him to get away with it. And I can't believe that someone so intelligent wouldn't take trouble to make sure that all the little details were taken care of. And that last scene where Columbo forces him to pick out the right camera to incriminate himself - why didn't he just say that he guessed it was that type of camera because of the type of photograph it was. He is after all a photography expert.

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Excellent later Columbo entry but with some anomalies, 3 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of the later Columbo episodes and as other reviewers have noted is better than most, particularly because of the presence of George Hamilton. However there are a few anomalies which spoil the plot.

Firstly why would Anders go to all the trouble of planting new cigarette butts in Clarke's ashtray? To what purpose? He knows Clarke is a chain-smoker so if he wanted to fill up the ashtray why not use butts from other ashtrays? Also why plant one of his own news stories on Clarke's desk? Why not delete the incriminating story from the HD and then print out another of Clarke's stories or use any old document from a filing cabinet or drawer? By using one of his own stories it could easily be traced back to him.

And then there's the faked alibi surveillance tape. This seemed to consist only of shots of Anders walking in and out of his office, surely it would mainly consist of shots of the empty outer office thus indicating the long time period he was supposed to have spent there. I realize they are simplifying things for the viewers but it's not properly explained. Plus it's not really a very secure alibi anyway because Anders could just as easily have left by an emergency exit or window, travelled to Clark's house, committed the crime and returned, so there was no need to fake the tape.

It's almost as though Anders wanted to plant clues for Columbo to find, which I could forgive if these clues (particularly the cigarette butts) didn't directly lead to Columbo tracing the nicotine poisoning, thus indicating murder.

For someone who fronts a TV crime show surely Anders would have known better and made the crime as simple as possible.

Also a final word about the clue of the dogs claws. It was kind of lucky for Columbo that the 'friendly' dog had a claw missing because without that Anders (or his lawyers) could easily have claimed that the claw marks were made by another dog.

11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Shameless is now worthless., 11 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As an avid viewer of Shameless since series one I have noticed a gradual deterioration of the quality over the last two series (my rating is for series 6 and 7). I have now reached the point where I can no longer bear to watch wondering what horror show they will put on display next.

In this latest series we have already seen hard-man drug dealer Paddy doing ballroom dancing, Mimi joining the WI, Joe giving up his job to run a corner shop, Karen having mental problems and getting over them two minutes later and Ian rejecting his gay lifestyle to suddenly declare his love for his brother's ex-girlfriend. I could go on.

Now the latest episode saw poor unloved Liam find solace with an 84 year old WWII veteran only for his friendship to be confused with something more sinister. I could run with the that but the scene of Liam wearing his sister's dress under his clothes (because he was 'missing her') was probably the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen in a TV drama. Did Debbie ever wear such a dress? It looked more like something a bad Margaret Thatcher impersonator would have worn in the 1980s.

This ludicrous scenario was only created so that Libby could witness what she thought was a perverted act. I can only assume that the writers either think that all potential child molesters get children to dress up in such bizarre clothes or they were too lazy to do any proper research.? Or maybe they were worried in case we thought they knew too much. Either way they seem to be confusing transvestitism with child abuse.

Once this scenario was revealed to the rest of Liam's family Carl immediately wanted to go round their with a baseball bat to bash the pensioner's brains out. This was Carl who last week was in hiding after being accused of beating someone to death with a baseball bat, which makes sense.

It's almost as though the writers take the first pitiful ideas they think of and then get 14-year olds to write the scripts which are then used unedited. I seriously don't know how the actors can bear to appear in such badly written trash. You'd think they would be embarrassed. I bet a lot of them will be deleting Shameless from their CV's in the future. I know I am deleting it from my list of must see dramas.

10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Like a Swiss cheese - tastes good but is full of holes., 10 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Despite the obvious budget constraints this extended episode showed great promise at the start with some interesting characters and some meaty puzzles for Jonathan to get his teeth into. But about halfway through it suddenly started to unravel and every supposed answer to a mystery led to more questions which remained unanswered. Like a Swiss cheese, it tastes good but is full of holes.

To start with if Dore and his wife had planned the whole thing as an elaborate act of revenge wouldn't they be a bit perturbed when world-famous mystery-solver Jonathan Creek turned up? Isn't he likely to spot what's going on? So when Jonathan and Joey get trapped in the coal cellar wouldn't it be more likely that Dore or his wife trapped them in there on purpose to keep them out of the way instead of it being the accident that it was.

This means that the Dores didn't know that Jonathan and Joey are conveniently out of the way they should have been worried that they might show up in the middle of the 'murder' and spoil the whole thing. Added to this weren't they worried that Emily might also show up in the garden in the middle of the 'murder' when she was supposedly in the upstairs room pushing Mrs Dore out of the window. Their plan depended on split second timing and they seem to have left everything to chance for it to work which is unlikely for two intelligent people.

Also we learn that in order to plan their revenge the Dores managed to trace both Emily and her friend. Then Mrs Dore had the wherewithal to kidnap Emily's friend, keep her (drugged?) in the coal cellar and then kill her at precisely the right time in order to use her for the elaborate fake murder scene. And she also had to remove her from the cellar so she wasn't there when Jonathan and Joey started searching the place. And the business of ensuring the body would land on the railing spikes. How on earth would they rehearse such a thing? All that demands a huge stretch of the imagination, more than I think even the most gullible viewer has.

Also after the murder how did the Dores know that the two witnesses would both go inside enabling them to switch the bodies back? If one of them had stayed their plan would have been scuppered.

Plus are we supposed to believe that for the sake of executing revenge on her husband's brother's killers Mrs Dore was prepared to live the rest of her life as a recluse with no contact with her family sand friends? Or were they in on it as well?

Also I was confused by the the role of the priest. I thought at first that he was C of E but the fact that he took confession means he must have been Catholic. Do they normally have such Catholic churches in rural England? And at the end were we supposed to think that Dore killed the priest to stop him from reporting what he thought he had heard to the Police?

If the place where the Judas tree is planted is where Emily and her friend killed Dore's brother wouldn't Emily have recognised it from the map she finds in their office?.

Emily does not look anywhere near old enough to be twenty years older than she was in 1988 and it didn't help that the younger Emily was played by an actress that looked nothing like her. That only served to confuse matters further.

In the Victorian legend they never explained how Selima had the ability to fill the Doctor's watch with HCN gas. Was she both a scientist and an engineer? And how did she find an exact replica of his watch to make the device?

Of course fanciful explanations and occasional inconsistencies are all part of the fun of Jonathan Creek and normally I would ignore them but usually the chemistry and comedy between Creek and his collaborator make up for it. Sadly the comedy elements in this episode were rather forced and frankly unfunny. For example the scene in the cellar where Jonathan relieves himself in the cat litter. If all he was doing was having a pee why didn't he do it straight into the bag? Also the scene where Mr Dore comes to the neighbours house to hide the pipe and Jonathan and Joey are forced to hide. This is only done so Joey can get stuck in the vase. Considering they had just learned how Mrs Dore had hidden from Emily in the bathroom why didn't they just do the same thing? (and regarding hiding the bamboo pipe, wouldn't it have been more fun if Dore had placed it in one of the numerous pot plants there as a cane, that would be a more JC-style solution than hiding it in a drawer).

Also the scenes where Jonathan picks Emily up at a bus stop and takes her back to a hotel room were not only unfunny and highly unlikely (Creek is too uptight to be so spontaneous) but were also unnecessary as they did nothing to serve the plot.

When David Renwick is on form he is excellent but when he is not it is somewhat embarrassing to watch. There were a few One Foot In The Grave episodes which suffered in a similar way but this perhaps is the worst yet. Of course it may not be entirely his fault but whoever is responsible I hope they consider more credible plots and funnier sub plots in any future episodes.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Low budget Brit thriller with top class writer, 22 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The most interesting thing about this low budget British B-picture is that the screenplay was by Avengers creator Brian Clemens. The plot is the all-too-familiar tale of a man wrongly accused of murder who has to rely on his own efforts to clear his name. The twist here is that he is sent to jail and faces execution and so is forced to escape to reveal the truth. The cast do an adequate job but the best actor by far, Sandra Dorne, is underused with only two brief scenes. Keiron Moore is totally unconvincing as a bandleader turned crime fighter and it's hard to gain any sympathy for his character who is given too little room to develop.

Mainly studio bound with some clunky sets there are some location shots used during the escape scemes but as these are mostly dome at night with minimal lighting so it's hard to see why they bothered.

All-in-all it's not a bad film but it's badly executed (if you'll pardon the pun). So I wouldn't go out of your way to see it but if it ever turns up on TV it'll pass 70 mins if you've nothing better to do.

6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Columbo breaks the law in order to 'solve' the crime, 2 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This isn't a bad entry in the Columbo cannon but it isn't very good either. Neither the story or the acting held my attention and as some other posters have said Columbo isn't his usual chipper self so we don't even get to enjoy Peter Falk's performance.

Also the plot has a few holes in it. Firstly the scene where Colubo tries to reveal the identity of the married woman Frank Brailie is having an affair with. He takes the toothbrush from the bathroom cabinet as evidence and confronts the woman, but as he obtained the item without using a search warrant and with other officers present this evidence is inadmissible.

Also the ending doesn't really work. Columbo makes a lot of the box not being big enough to hold the books which is how he breaks Brailie's alibi, but up to this point nothing has been said about the two boxes and labels, so no explanation is made as to how Columbo can prove which box was delivered when and was used to house what. As with the toothbrush it relies on the accused falling for Columbo's version of events. All-in-all not very convincing.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Watch out for the moving kitchen..., 25 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This British film noir is not bad it's just not particularly good. The story offers a good premise with a supposed dead man returning home to seek revenge and there are some interesting characters but overall the script let's the story down and it's hard to hold viewers attention all the way through. So much that viewers might find themselves noticing goofs, in particular the kitchen, the layout of which changes half way through. In an early scene when Vickers first arrives home he makes himself some breakfast and the stove is by the window. In a later scene he is making coffee and now the stove is now on an interior wall. I want a kitchen like that! I was particularly disappointed with Paulette Goddard's character who isn't given enough to do and when she is on screen comes across badly. The scene where she stops Vickers and Saul fighting is laughable. She is supposedly rushing across the room to stop them but she teeters on her heels, hands aloft, like Barbara Windsor in a Carry On film purring 'stop that!' like she couldn't give a damn who gets hurt. Paul Carpenter gives good value as always and is perhaps the most convincing character on board. Worth watching if you've nothing better to do but not one of Hammer's best Brit noirs.

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