The Victorian crime drama returns for its fifth and final series. Only days after the murder of Inspector Bennet Drake, his friends Edmund Reid, Homer Jackson and Long Susan are drawn together to bring his murderer – a new serial killer stalking Whitechapel’s streets – to justice. But they themselves are now being hunted by the police and Assistant Commissioner Augustus Dove has hired Jedediah Shine to take charge of Leman Street police station.
There are ways of asking a bereaved mother for permission to exhume the body of her murdered 15-year-old daughter. None of them includes an overpoweringly narcissistic human-rights lawyer acting for the man who might have killed her getting in your face and asking, “So what do you say?”
The mum’s reaction is entirely understandable and leaves Emma Banville (Helen McCrory) reeling. I hope all of the forces ranged against Emma prevail in the end because she’s so annoying. Everyone’s out to get her – the police, the security services, the hated press. Patrick Harbinson’s script is so messy it’s hard to see what, exactly, the story is meant to be.
A man arrives at Luton police station claiming his life is in danger and that he has just escaped from a slave-owning gang that held him captive at a travellers’ site in a remote part of Bedfordshire. Cameras follow as a major operation is launched to investigate the allegations, with more than 200 officers drafted in for a dawn raid on the site to arrest their suspects.
The fourth and final season of a fine-looking, weighty drama about the Culper Spy Ring and the American Revolutionary War. We know how the story ends but for the show’s characters, the looming theme is things getting worse before they get better.
Adapted from Anne Fine’s book Alias Madame Doubtfire, this knowing blend of comedy and common sense is family entertainment par excellence. Aided by Oscar-winning make-up, Robin Williams gives one of the performances of his career as an actor who disguises himself as a Scottish nanny to be close to his children after he splits from wife Sally Field. Director Chris Columbus should be given credit for reining in the Williams exuberance that often overbalances his pictures, while retaining enough of his quick-fire personality to ensure that just about every gag hits its target. Raising the occasional quizzical eyebrow in bewilderment, Pierce Brosnan also does well as the bachelor looking for a ready-made family, but Field overdoes the exasperation and the film’s a lot more fun when she’s not around. It’s a little long and some scenes misfire, notably Williams’s routine with the dinosaurs and the resultant TV show, but cracking set pieces, such as the make-up experiments and the series of table-hopping quick changes, more than make amends. No matter how many times you’ve seen it already, it’s worth watching again just for Mara Wilson, playing one of the daughters, who was even more impressive in Danny DeVito’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda.
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