The BBC TV series 'New Tricks' has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. A war of words appears to have erupted between the cast and the scriptwriter.
This feud, if that is what it is, is of the he said/she said type, or he said/they said. One of its stars, Amanda Redman, is said to have called it bland, and she has been backed up by other members of the cast. You can read all about this dispute here and make up your own mind, but considering the amount of rubbish churned out by the BBC and its rivals (including soaps with implausible plots), bland is the last thing this well crafted programme deserves to be called, script-wise or anything else.
New Tricks is not your usual police drama. The London-based Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad is made up of one serving police officer and three retired plods. As might be suspected, much of the caseload of UCOS is made up of historic crimes, but nothing quite so historic as the one they are given in this episode, a murder dating back to 1851.
A mysterious government official with a security clearance only slightly lower than God, and the same omnipotence, turns up at the UCOS office and demands they solve the murder of a young woman in Victorian London twenty-seven years before Jack The Ripper plied his enigmatic and deadly trade.
Do they oblige - what do you think? This episode also sees the departure of James Bolam, whose career credits include real life serial killer Harold Shipman and the comic strip character Andy Capp.
For those who can receive it, the current episode - in the ninth series - is on iplayer.