DCI Banks, ITV, TV review: 'The mums are arresting but nice guy Banks is becoming criminally dull'
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Tuesday 04 February 2014
His name might be up there on the screen, but DCI Banks (Stephen Tompkinson) rather faded into the background in this series three opener. That's because with DI Helen Morton (Caroline Catz) now a regular team member and DS Annie Cabbot (Andrea Lowe) also back from maternity leave, the oestrogen levels at Eastvale police station had just gone through the roof. So, this episode of DCI Banks went out to all the ladeez and, more specifically, the ladeez with children.
Mother A was Katy, who reported her tearaway 11-year-old missing, after a couple posing as social workers abducted him. One of these phony social workers was played by the grim-faced character actor Geoff Bell, so you can quite understand her distress – as one witness commented, "He didn't look like a social worker to me, more like a nightclub bouncer." Katy was played by Christine Bottomley, an actress who looked confusingly like Mother B aka DS Cabbot. Lucky for us, workplace discrimination meant new mother Cabbot had been demoted away from the frontline, so the two rarely shared a screen.
Mother C, DI Morton, isn't in the original Inspector Alan Banks books, so kudos to screenwriter Robert Murphy for using the character to add dimension to the plot. We saw Morton early in the episode at home with her four sons and when Banks later instructed her to spend time with Mother A, it was clear he was hoping some mum-to-mum bonding would occur. However, like a poor man's Saga from The Bridge, DI Morton is constitutionally incapable of such things. She was much better at accusatory growls, such as "Your 11-year old son gambles, for God's sake!"
In this episode, everybody thought everybody else was a bad mother and told them so. Watching Mothers A-C harangue one another was certainly more interesting than anything DCI Banks did. It seems with each passing series Tompkinson's mildly maverick cop is reverting gradually to type: that nice-guy priest from Ballykissangel.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
- 2 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 3 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
Pixie Geldof signs recording deal with Stranger Records
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners