IN its latest desperate attempt to fill the void left by Britain’s Got Talent, ITV has spent the week trying to recreate the big-screen magic of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 masterpiece Rear Window.
With predictable enough results.
Noel Clarke, in the Jimmy Stewart role, as DC Martin Young, a pretty erratic member of a police surveillance unit in Manchester[/caption]
What the Master Of Suspense could do in one hour and 55 minutes, ITV fails to achieve over FIVE hours, on five consecutive nights.
Viewpoint is the name of the mini series and it stars Noel Clarke, in the Jimmy Stewart role, as DC Martin Young, a pretty erratic member of a police surveillance unit in Manchester, where they’re trying to trace a missing woman called (checks notes) Gemma Hillman.
If you’ve seen Noel acting in one drama then, frankly, you’ve already seen him act in this one and pretty much all of them.
It’s the Grace Kelly role where things literally start to fall down here, though, as it’s filled by a stumbling Welsh p***pot called Zoe, played by Alexandra Roach, who owns the surveillance flat and cannot stop sticking her beak into Martin’s business or spying on the neighbours.
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 masterpiece Rear Window[/caption]
There’s a reasonable amount for the pair of them to gawp at across the road, mind you.
Main focus of their attention (and therefore guaranteed not to be the murderer) is Gemma’s possessive partner, Greg. But there’s also an unconvincing East European builder (Carl) and a couple of ex-members of the Coronation Street cast, in the form of Catherine Tyldesley and Ian Puleston-Davies, floating around trying to hold the viewers’ attention as well.
Boy oh boy, they’ve got a job on their hands with this one, though.
Episode one, Noel/Martin took up his position by Zoe’s Venetian blinds and he was still sat there towards the end of episode four.
Yet, by the middle of episode two, even the patience of the writer, Ed Whitmore, had snapped via Zoe’s estranged husband Tim, who demanded to know: “Does he just hang about all day?”
It’s the Grace Kelly role where things literally start to fall down here, though, as it’s filled by a stumbling Welsh p***pot called Zoe, played by Alexandra Roach[/caption]
“Yeah, that’s his job,” replied Zoe.
Unfortunately, it’s also the entire point of this series and so viewers, if they have the stomach for the fight, are stuck in their own TV hall of mirrors.
We’re just sitting there watching someone else, who’s just sitting there, watching someone else, who’s just sitting there waiting for something to happen. For long periods of Viewpoint it doesn’t, which may give you the chance to reflect on just how much you miss Ant & Dec on Britain’s Got Talent or wonder if Manchester has ever gone as long without rain as it does on this show.
Then, almost without warning, at the end of last night’s episode, Martin and Zoe suddenly had it off. A development so unexpected and unwelcome I heard myself muttering: “What the f***?” If anyone imagines it was as overwhelmingly erotic as Grace Kelly’s seduction of Jimmy Stewart on Rear Window, though, I’m here to throw some cold water over your excitement.
Erin Shanagher as Fiona Baker, Catherine Tyldesley as Kate Tuckman and Sia Kiwa as Melissa[/caption]
You’ll see more sexual tension in your local Astra-Zeneca queue.
Far from being a turning point, it’s the last desperate act of a desperate show which I’d dismiss entirely if it wasn’t for one magical ingredient.
No one ever flags up the brilliant Phil Davis, who plays surveillance unit boss DI Liam Cox, as they’re usually getting too excited about Noel Clarke or distracted by the fact Viewpoint was created by the same bloke who directed Fleabag, Harry Bradbeer. But he is by far the best thing about this drama and, as he does quite often, acts every-one else into oblivion.
It’s a performance so good he’s guaranteed not to get any award nominations for his troubles.
As Hitchcock himself said: ‘Drama is life with the dull bits left out’[/caption]
Even Phil Davis, though, is not good enough to save Viewpoint from itself or the idea that the only thing Rear Window was missing was another three hours and five minutes.
As Hitchcock himself said: “Drama is life with the dull bits left out.”
Viewpoint is drama with the dull bits put back in.
GIVE HER A BREAK, HOLLY
MEANWHILE, on Tuesday’s This Morning, Holly Willoughby: “With the pink super moon at its brightest tonight, moon mentor Kirsty Gallagher is teaching us how to harness the power of the moon, after the break.”
So we all wish Kirsty a very speedy recovery.
HISLOP & CO DEAD WRONG
HAVE I Got News For You is dead. The BBC hasn’t formalised the arrangement yet, obviously.
On Friday it was author/broadcaster Emma Dabiri, who first came to my attention back in 2017, fronting a divisive piece of pseudo-intellectual Channel 4 b*****ks called Is Love Racist?[/caption]
But you know, I know, and even Ian Hislop knows the truth, which is why his chins wobble with theatrical rage every time he mentions accusations of political bias.
I’m 100 per cent sure, of course, shameless self-interest played no part in the equally furious reaction of his magazine, Private Eye, to the BBC axing another left-of-centre show, The Mash Report, recently.
If HIGNFY wanted to avoid the same fate, though, it should’ve ditched the right-on sermonising and concentrated on making people laugh a decade ago. Instead, it alienated most viewers by pitching everything at the London echo chamber and filling its guest slots with like-minded panellists.
On Friday it was Last Leg “comedian” Josh Widdicombe and author/broadcaster Emma Dabiri, who first came to my attention back in 2017, fronting a divisive piece of pseudo-intellectual Channel 4 b*ks called Is Love Racist?
A mad idea at the time, but part of the TV mainstream now, so Emma’s one of the gang and could not have sounded any more smug or right at home addressing the supporters’ reaction to the European Super League, on HIGNFY, when she said: “I actually found it all very inspiring. And I didn’t expect to be inspired by football fans.”
An opinion so over-flowing with snobbery and condescension I sat bolt upright in my armchair and waited for one of the regulars to rip her private school prejudices into tiny little shreds. But they didn’t, of course. And how could they, when Have I Got News For You is dead?
ANNA MAXWELL MARTIN’S master creation “Patricia bloody Carmichael” transforming Line Of Duty.
Sky Atlantic repeating telly’s greatest ever mini-series, Chernobyl (concludes tonight, 10:30pm).
BBC2’s Bent Coppers, featuring one of my television heroes, John Stapleton. And Goggleboxer Pete watching and reacting to the greeting the singer received, at Islamabad Zoo, on Cher And The Loneliest Elephant.
“Do you believe in miracles?”
“No, I believe in life after love, d***head. Next joke?”
UNEXPECTED MORONS IN THE BAGGING AREA
THE Chase, Bradley Walsh: “Helen Mirren received six Bafta nominations for what TV police drama?”
David: “The Bill.”
Tipping Point, Lucky Stars, Ben Shephard: “According to the common phrase, a person who speaks very quickly is sad to talk 19 to the what?”
Josie Gibson: “Miles an hour.”
And Bradley Walsh: “In the second century BC, troops from what city state destroyed Carthage?”
(Sent in by Jenine Moodie and Ray Woodford)
GREAT SPORTING INSIGHTS
LEE HENDRIE: “John Stones went into the tackle and literally took the kitchen sink.”
Michael Dawson: “Ryan Mason will be feeling proud. You can’t feel anything else. But he’ll be feeling excited.” Glenn Hoddle: “You can always pick out positives but there were no positives.”
(Compiled by Graham Wray)
RANDOM TV IRRITATIONS
THE self-destructively woke Bafta showcasing its utter loathing for the viewers by including Diversity’s much- complained-about George Floyd routine, on Britain’s Got Talent, in its “Must-see moments” shortlist, but conveniently ignoring: 1) Bill Bailey winning Strictly. 2) Phillip Schofield coming out on This Morning. 3) Diana skipping on to The Crown. 4) Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson emerging from The Masked Singer’s Pharaoh costume. 5) Matt Lucas introducing the new Bake Off series dressed as Boris. And 6) Scotland qualifying for Euro 2020
BY the way, history was made on Saturday’s edition of Celebrity Mastermind.
John Humphrys: “What word from the Greek words that mean ‘imitator of all’ is applied to a stage play mainly for children traditionally performed at Christmas, like Dick Whittington, Cinderella and Jack And The Beanstalk?”
Love Island’s Amber Gill, right: “Pass.”
The very last time she’ll be able to pass on a panto.
GREAT TV lies and delusions of the week.
This Morning, Kirsty Gallagher (not that one): “Moonlight will cleanse your crystals and release any energy stuck inside them.”
The One Show, Alex Jones: “You’re known as incredibly charismatic, Alastair (Campbell).”
And I Can See Your Voice, Alison Hammond: “I’m also good at martial arts.”
Unless that was her flattening all-comers at the 2018 Honbasho in Osaka.
lINCIDENTALLY, if you’re interested in watching a woman “stuffing a well-loved and well-worn-old pouffe”, then accessing Tuesday’s episode of The Repair Shop, on the BBC iPlayer, is probably your safest bet.
LOOKALIKE OF THE WEEK BOX
THIS week’s winner is Naked Attraction’s Anna Richardson and Noel Fielding.
Sent in by James Mould, West Molesey, Surrey.
Picture research: Reena Ratan
Most read in Ally Ross
lTV quiz. What was the name of the Channel 4 documentary that featured this commentary, earlier in the month: “When Lucy comes into oestrus and she’s ready to mate, she shows interest in any human male outside the family?”
A) Lucy the Human Chimp?
B) Lucy the ITV Weather Girl?
C) Lucy the BBC Historian?