TV COLUMN: Line of Duty, Elementary, General Election

James Waller Davies
James Waller Davies

Line of Duty (BBC1) confirmed itself as the television event of the year so far with a thrilling finale.

The labyrinthine plot threads unravelled themselves in a blistering final hour. There were balaclava men rather than just the one balaclava man. The abductors were found, the corrupt cornered and even Huntly finally came good and put her one remaining hand up for the killing of pathologist Tim.

If there is any criticism to be made, it is that an hour just wasn’t long enough and a half hour extension would have prolonged the satisfaction.

The tease of the mysterious ‘H’, a Blofeldesque chief of police corruption and cover-up, was left tantalisingly dangling for the already announced season 5. Though viewers will have to make do with the first four boxsets as season 5 will not be on screen until 2019.

Quirkily excellent, but hidden away on one of the obscure digital freeview channels is the excellent Sherlock Holmes reworking, Elementary (Pick TV).

Originally aired in the US on CBS in 2012, Elementary has made it to UK terrestrial television. Starring Jonny Lee Miller (best known as Sick Boy in Trainspotting) as Holmes and Lucy Liu as ‘Joan’ Watson, Conan Doyle’s Victorian sleuth has been transported to modern day New York.

Elementary has its own feel and is a clear departure from the BBC’s Sherlock. Whilst it may not be right up there with the stellar first two seasons of Sherlock, Elementary is vastly superior to the excruciatingly lame last outing of Cumberbatch and Freeman.

Finally, the general election provided a bit of televised entertainment as a much needed antidote to the stuck records of the previous week.

Always game for a laugh, the crash test dummy of political interviews, Diane Abbott produced a masterclass in how to derail your message by making sure you are incomprehensible to as many people as possible.

The interview, originally on the talk radio station LBC, was filmed in studio and made its way on to every screen in land. Those who missed the radio bit may have been forgiven for thinking the interview had been transmitted in slow motion.

Abbott’s pauses in between her arithmetical howlers grew so long, one could easily have believed there was a time difference between the real world and the bottom of the hole she was busily digging for herself.

Another who was learning the hard way was Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron, who got himself into a stand-up argument in the street with an irate ‘leave’ voter just two feet from the TV camera.

Farron chose to ignore the First Law of Debate that warns you should never argue with a fool as people might not know the difference, especially when it’s sure to make the 6 o’clock news.

Unfortunately for Farron, the eponymous ‘man in the street’ had rather more opinion than the smug-smiled Farron was ready for, proving once again that when it comes to general elections the public are rarely fools and people do know the difference.