Did we like it?
Of all the revivals dredged up by the BBC this Christmas, this was the worst. We thought it would never end; Alan Davies still can’t act very well; the mystery was far from gripping; the denoument was silly. There’s no clamour for a new series from us.
What was good about it?
• Judy Parfitt was again on form in the fearsome matriarch role (but not quite as scary as she was in Little Dorrit).
• Ciaran McMenamin still looks sexy.
• The cameo appearance by The Puppini Sisters.
What was bad about it?
• For decades, people have been disappearing from The Nightmare Room at a country pile called Metropolis. Surely exhausitive inquries have been made? Police have pored over every inch? It seems not. That dastardly killer bath tub has never discovered, despite being a rather obvious place to look.
• The sub-plot involving Adam Klaus (overacted by Stuart Milligan) and his investment in 3D porn was only a lame satire on the blue movie industry and rather tawdry for a detective drama that has a reputation for being charming and amusing. It could easily have been cut, (the “hilarious” explosion of one of the star’s boobs was particularly pathetic) thus saving us from having to endure two hours of a tale that could have been wrapped up in half an hour if Creek had shown his usual good sense.
• If the BBC can’t think of anything new to do, then just cut a few quid off our licence fees rather than coming up with expensive time fillers like this.
• They could have, at least, revived one of Jonathan’s spiky sidekicks but instead of Caroline Quentin as Maddie or Julia Sawalha as Carla, we had Sheridan Smith as the “sassy” Joey Ross. There was little chemistry and no sparks in her relationship with Creek (not helped by muddying the waters with a Creek girlfriend called Nicola played by The IT Crowd’s Katherine Parkinson).
• David Renwick’s script was largely mundane. In a rare attempt at humour, he threw in a gag guaranteed to go over most heads. When introduced to Joey, Creek pretends that she’s Joe E Ross. “I always loved you as Ritzik in Sergeant Bilko.” There was, however, a better joke later on when Nicola told Creek: “You don’t want to end up like Indiana Jones 30 years on chasing Nazis on your bus pass.”
• Why are the police never called to investigate? Why did Joey show not a jot of sadness about the death of her friend – the final victim claimed by the killer bathtub? Why did they bother?