...as New Tricks has tottered to its fifth series, adding roughly one million viewers each time - with most of the newcomers in their 30s or younger - it has become correspondingly darker and more unsettling. Lane has obsessive-compulsive disorder and is a recovering alcoholic. Halford spent series one to four pursuing the man who murdered his wife only to see the crook walk free. Plots have revolved around pension-fund rip-offs, incest, corruption and MI5 assassinations of 1970s trade-union leaders. And this can upset commissioners. A forthcoming episode exploring racism was nearly canned by a nervous BBC until the cast mutinied.
Executive producer Tom Sherry says the show is designed to subvert expectations, pricking the conscience of viewers through drama where documentaries might struggle. It may not have CSI's $3m-an-hour budget, but New Tricks isn't just our most popular show - it's proper genre-mashing cutting-edge Brit TV. Of the old school.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
In The Guardian, Stephen Armstrong sings the praises of BBC TV drama series New Tricks (created by Roy Mitchell and Nigel McCrery).