New Tricks (BBC 1), TV review: a tired old cop drama which occasionally displays a redeeming awareness of its own silliness


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The Independent Culture

I’d wager DS Gerry “Last Man” Standing (Dennis Waterman) in New Tricks is numbered among the 25 per cent of British men who, Dr Mosley says, eat an average of 130g of red meat daily.

The only original cast member still remaining in New Tricks often looks on the verge of a heart attack. Although it could just be the stress of single-handedly carrying a once-thriving BBC comedy-drama.

New Tricks began its 11th series on BBC1 last night, and while the line-up is new, the tricks have grown very old indeed. As well as Denis Lawson as McAndrew (on board since the last series), the new additions include Nicholas Lyndhurst as Griffin and ex-EastEnders actress Tamzin Outhwaite as new guv’nor DCI Sasha Miller.

Any series opener is reason enough for Gerry to re-establish his Bermondsey-boy credentials. He was given the opportunity when an old friend from the past approached him for help. The “old lag” had recently been released from an eight-year stretch for crimes unspecified – counterfeiting a cockney accent without due care and attention would be my guess. A few years back his grandson fell to his death from a skyscraper in suspicious circumstances; would Gerry help him get to the bottom of it?

New Tricks might seem exactly like every other tired cop drama on the box, but it differs in one key respect. This is a tired old cop drama which occasionally displays a redeeming awareness of its own silliness. Last night, for instance, McAndrew and Griffin were sitting on one side of an interrogation table, presenting their evidence to a suspect sitting opposite. “You know what this looks like, don’t you, Archie,” said Rodney Trotter, the least menacing copper in TV history. “Yeah,” replied the suspect, “like I’m at a Pet Shop Boys concert that only sold  one ticket.”