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I watched the first half hour of this and then I got fed up with it and finished a short story instead. Patrick Stewart is always watchable and he's a good actor (although the avuncular Yorkshireman act got the series re-christened the 'Eee, bah 'ecks Files' by a sarcastic reviewer), but the dialogue just grated on me. I just can't see a government advisor walking into a police investigation, taking over their evidence tent and introducing himself as 'whatever-it-was, scientist.' If I went into the local cop shop and introduced myself as 'Liz Williams, writer' they'd probably be laughing yet.

And he has a special branch bodyguard because WHO is out to get him? I'm presuming the female cop was being sarcastic when she mentioned Greenpeace. After Rainbow Warrior, it's more likely to be the other way round. I can buy that he might need protection from the animal rights brigade, whose guerilla exhumations have recently caused a fuss in the UK, but Greenpeace? And possible assassination by 'oil companies' is stretching it unless he's working in Lagos.

An old friend of mine advises the House of Lords on medical and scientific ethics. He's a philosopher of science - used to be professor at Manchester and now works more or less freelance. A lot of the people who get onto ethics committees have a philosophical, rather than a directly scientific, background, so I'm not even sure that Stewart's character, as a physicist, would be involved in these sorts of cases.

Did anyone else see it? What did you think?
lizwilliams: (Default)
More TV viewing, this time the above show, and I am now officially hooked. Again for those in the US, it's a sort-of genre show about a policeman in Manchester who gets knocked down by a car and finds himself working for a police precinct in the same city in 1973.

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We watched this last night and I thought it was good, though I had serious doubts during the first half hour. For those not in the UK, it's a Poliakoff drama about a guru-like, Branson-esque property developer in the 80s who takes a young female estate agent on board as his secretary.

Jodhi May's performance as the secretary was excellent: it takes her through the next 20 years into her own dot.com enterprise. She leaves the property developer early on, out of exasperation with his lack of business methods, but their paths keep crossing.

Damian Lewis was also good but there was, as one of the reviewers cruelly remarked, a touch of the Frank Spencer at times. Robert Lindsay has come a long way from the Tooting Popular Front, hasn't he?

It was, thank God, devoid of any sexual or romantic frisson between the two main characters: that got dismissed early on. What it dealt with was their creative and business relationship and if anyone questions that this is less interesting, you've never been/or been in business with someone who was truly creative in a business, and not an artistic sense.

Criticisms: I just don't believe that Lewis' character earned that much, that early, to be able to afford to buy Longleat. Also Poliakoff doesn't have the ear for dialogue that Bennett or Stoppard do, for how people actually speak, and some of the dialogue was rather stagy. I also wasn't sure about the way that the creative side of things was presented, though the VR display in front of a bunch of 80s venture capitalists was hysterical.

But it was well worth a look and I will be checking out its sister drama, Gideon's Daughter, when it airs in February. I think it has Bill Nighy in it, always bang for bucks.

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