Posted by: Paul | August 16, 2010

Vexed

I’m not a Telegraph reader. But when the only TV guide to hand is from that right wing rag, I’ll read it, because it’s hard to put a political/class spin on TV reviews, right?

Anyway, the upshot of this anecdote is that the Telegraph gave Vexed, BBC2’s new police detective comedy drama, a scathing review – it apparently wasn’t funny at all. Slightly put off by this (gosh I’m easily swayed) I wasn’t expecting much, but I laughed heartily throughout the entire hour, and highly recommend this.

Toby Stephens finally finds a role which is as big of a scumbag as Stephens looks. No offence to Toby, but he has one of those faces which makes you think you know what he’s like before he even opens his mouth. Well, DI Jack Armstrong is exactly that kind of person – and all the funnier for it. Seriously, Stephens gives such a great and convincing performance that I spent most of Vexed anticipating the next clanger to be dropped.

It’s a fairly standard setup – new DI Lucy Punch (from Hot Fuzz) is transferred in to be his new partner, and they hit it off like water and oil. But the rapport between the two leads coupled with a smart, very funny script (if a little far fetched) made this a winner for me. I’ve rarely seen what’s ostensibly a police procedural have so little police work in it, but in my view this is the best BBC attempt at funny and exciting in an adult-oriented show since the first series of Hustle. From the first scene – visiting a murder scene with an estate agent in tow to decide whether the new DI should move into the ‘recently available’ flat – I thought, ‘this is my kind of show’. It’s a short run – only three episodes, thrown away on BBC2 in August when it should really be on BBC1 on an autumn Monday night, so it makes me wonder if this has somehow pissed off someone high up at the Beeb, and they’re not expecting it to perform. Make More Please.

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