Tuesday, 13 November 2012

New Tricks (what ever have they done with it?)


New Tricks is one of the BBC’s much loved programmes. It has for a number of years been top of all the drama series the corporation produces. The success it enjoyed in the first six to seven years came from having a truly splendid set of script writers who, bucking the trend of portraying every crime fiction with an often laughable veneer of grim realism, set about using powerful characterisation coupled with humour that far better defines real life in all its too often absurd glory.

The last two series have suffered though as new script writers have joined the show determined to add a darker flavour.  It has been in my opinion the worst thing they could have done. Not only have most of the cast left declaring that the spirit of the series has gone but the direction it is now heading makes for just another dull cop melodrama.

I like many of the more hard boiled TV cop shows even if I seldom watch them being busy doing other things but ‘New Tricks’ played another game, one as good, better in some cases than its rivals. Trying to copy reality is one of the hardest things to do for with reality, certainly anything involving police work, comes a tedious amount of paperwork, footwork, surveillance etc. What we are often given is a substitute reality, a fictional representation that still has to hold fast to the laws of drama.

The very idea of having retired policeman poodle about digging up cold cases needs suspension of belief.  So what? That shouldn't deny the positive side. The show itself allowed for some revelatory character developments to evolve. These revealed human traits that were both moving and funny much like real life.
The show has lost James Bolam who left saying the scripts had grown stale. Now Alun Armstrong and Amanda Redman have also resigned leaving Dennis Waterman to carry on with new boy Denis Lawson. The point of the drama was not to have yet another hard hitting cop show but to entertain us with witty dialogue and intelligent plots with great flashes of humour. What we are left with is a lukewarm, plodding facsimile of what was.
Bring back the old writers and the old crew for one last huzzah. At least let the show go out on a high.

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all words and art are copyright © of Russell 'C.J' Duffy.To view my books on Amazon/Kindle go here: https://www.amazon.com/author/russellduffy -- For another side of CJ go here: sOMeThiNg For tHE wEeKeND, SiR?

4 comments:

Roger Stevens said...

Have to agree. The writing's not as good. It's got too tricksy and new boy just doesn't seem as tough as his character's supposed to be. They miss James Bolam. That was the point - four fine actors having fun. If the others are leaving there doesn't seem to be much point watching it.

Russell 'C.J.' Duffy said...

Roger>>>Welcome back! Yes, James Bolam and crew made the show. I feel sorry for the new chap as I suspect he and Dennis Waterman will end up as the ‘retired New Sweeny.’

anonant said...

Hey CJ!
Hope you are well just visited Illyria and reread an old post of yours...
anonant
peace

Russell 'C.J.' Duffy said...

anonant>>>I miss that girl.