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TV review: The Tunnel, Sky Atlantic


Why do TV production companies so often pick on perfection to remake when there are so many stinkers in desperate need of improvement? This question was raised again last night by Sky Atlantic's The Tunnel, a police procedural series "inspired by" 2011's Swedish/Danish co-production The Bridge.

If the decision to remake was motivated by English-speaking audiences' renowned dislike of subtitles, they would have done better to set it on two sides of the Blackwall Tunnel. The fact that a good proportion of the dialogue is in French – and subtitled – suggests something else: a central conceit good enough to bear repeating.

A body is found in the middle of the Channel Tunnel, necessitating the collaboration of two very different detectives. Brit cop/French cop instead of good cop/bad cop, and lead actors Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy stuck closely to the original characterisation. She's socially awkward, but efficient; he's good-humoured and more relaxed.

Should you bother watching The Tunnel even if you've already seen the original? The early signs are good. The makers obviously have sense enough to preserve what was effective about the original, and invention enough to distinguish their work too. Perhaps The Tunnel will even have a different conclusion.