Inside television: Deadly Dexter is the real deal


TV watcher have long since made peace with the fact that not everything that happens on television is an exact replica of real life. TV writers reserve the right to improve on the everyday by making faces prettier, comebacks wittier and stereotypes lazier.

This last one is a particular bugbear for mental health professionals like consultant psychologist Dr Melora Wilson. "In the 10 years I've been in the field, both in Broadmoor, which is maximum security and now in medium security, the number of 'psychopaths' who are true psychopaths who've come through the door isn't that many. They're not a common phenomena."

Except on TV crime shows, of course, where the violent psychopath is a staple. For Dr Melora, one series that almost got a handle on psychopathy was Dexter, the Paramount show about a killer of killers, which releases its final season on DVD on 18 November.

Dr Wilson has compared the behaviour of Dexter Morgan (as played by Michael C Hall) to a list of traits defined by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, a diagnostic tool devised in the 1970s. "I think some of his internal monologues show that he doesn't really understand the emotions of others or grasp why they feel or care the way that they do. He definitely can lie and manipulate and his actions are clearly irresponsible."

No sparkle from Marks and Sparks

By tomorrow, all the major retailers will have released their extra-special sparkly TV ads. So why are all this year's ads so boring? M&S's epic 150-second, Alice in Wonderland-themed ad featuring Helena Bonham Carter is a rip-off of a Tim Burton film, and not even a good Tim Burton film.