Last night saw the debut of Prime Suspect prequel Prime Suspect 1973, with the younger version of Helen Mirren’s DCI Jane Tennison (here a WPC played by Stephanie Martini) starting out her career in the force in a fug of sexism and cigarette smoke.
However, despite the programme’s pedigree (or perhaps because of it) the new series seemed to divide viewers. Some praised the promising storyline and music, as well as the casting of Martini in the lead role.
Casting of Stefanie Martini in the splendid #PrimeSuspect1973 a masterstroke. To be proper young Mirren she surely needs a sly G&T soon tho.
— Miles Evans (@milominder) March 2, 2017
Ms Martini is already doing Helen Mirren,s iconic character proud PRIME SUSPECT RETURNS IN TRIUMPH #PrimeSuspect1973
— Gordon Donaldson (@AverageTVViewer) March 2, 2017
Loving the music in Prime Suspect 1973 #ITV
— Jason Lawson (@jase1962) March 2, 2017
Watching Prime Suspect 1973 on @ITV . Cracking music. So far Joe Cocker, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd only 20mins in.
— John Buck (@Buckie72) March 2, 2017
#prime suspect 1973 brilliant music, Blind Faith, Floyd etc!
— Justin Champion (@monarchomach) March 2, 2017
— ???? (@harehartley1) March 2, 2017
— Emma Louise Webb.TV (@EmmaLouiseWebb3) March 2, 2017
However, others were unconvinced, calling out various historical inaccuracies and disagreeing that the younger years of Tennison were interesting enough for a prequel among other complaints.
Poor research prime suspect no homerton hospital in 1973 #PrimeSuspect1973 Hackney hospital !!
— Mac (@GooneressexNJ) March 2, 2017
Prime suspect 1973…Pretty sure they didn't have ventolin puffers in the 70s, remember my brother having a powder one in the 80s!
— Jessica (@J_bagpuss) March 2, 2017
— Miner (@teesminer) March 2, 2017
Why is everyone on the force under 30 years old? #PrimeSuspect1973
— Sammy Jayne (@samjaytheduck) March 2, 2017
A bit slow and not a very engaging plot so far #PrimeSuspect1973
— Toobroke2drive (@Toobroke2drive) March 2, 2017
And a few couldn’t help comparing it to another 1970s-set policing drama – time travel mystery Life on Mars, as well as its sequel Ashes to Ashes.
Me: "This is like Life on Mars but without the wit or style…"
Mrs S: "…Or Prime Suspect without Helen Mirren"
— Dan Silver (@dansilver_) March 2, 2017
— Bruce (@Brucebfg) March 2, 2017
It's definitely no Ashes to Ashes #PrimeSuspect1973
— Belle (@hkp074) March 2, 2017
And overall, even if people did like it there was one crucial element missing – Helen Mirren, who last played the character in 2006.
Thoughts on #PrimeSuspect1973 so far? Liking the 70s setting but missing the authority of Helen Mirren.
— Sharon (@see75) March 2, 2017
Watching the new Prime Suspect knowing it could NEVER come close to the original…there’s only one Helen Mirren !
— michele (@MicheleHandley) March 2, 2017
#PrimeSuspect1973 – great soundtrack but not the same without Dame Helen Mirren….☹️
— Mark Kelly ???? (@MachineGun1967) March 2, 2017
In fairness, we can’t help but suspect there are few that could fill her shoes.
Prime Suspect continues on Thursdays at 9.00pm