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Why Are All British Crime Series The Same?

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  • Why Are All British Crime Series The Same?

    I was reading TV critic Deborah Ross in the Times or Mail the other week, when she mentioned how formulaic TV crime shows had become, particularly those on ITV.
    She is right, it seems all you need is

    A pretty location
    A classic car
    The chief detective must be female and preferably stroppy
    The Superintendent must be male and unhelpful.
    The junior Detective must appear to be a bit dim, but usually come up with a vital clue.
    The villain should be rich and corrupt and right wing.

    I watched ITV's latest McDonald & Dodd's last night, it seemed to fit most of the above criteria, except for the classic car, but I'm sure that will be resolved..
    What other vital ingredients should make up an ITV crime show or 'drama special'

  • #2
    They must be a maverick, be separated/divorced or in the process of, if female alway attracted to the wrong person (often the criminal), and have some past trauma.

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    • #3
      True Agutter fan.
      Or if the Detective is female, in addition to being separated/divorced, there must also be a bad mannered teenage offspring, about to go off of the rails.
      Also any cop show these days, must be psychological, therefore no action sequences and run for two hours, half of which will be commercials.

      Comment


      • agutterfan
        agutterfan commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank God for "Line of Duty" I say. Proper coppering.

    • #4
      Nothing whatsoever to do with British crime shows, but you reminded me of a time when I used to buy film magazines years back, and a critic on one of them described the modern horror movie as being rather formulaic. It went something like this:

      For example, there would be the slasher/killer who wears a mask or some other disguise
      The usual group of teenagers or youngsters would nearly always be inappropriately dressed for their circumstances
      Then there would always be the annoying brat who spoils things
      This group of teenagers would always venture into a house despite being advised not to
      They would wander around in the dark without seeing if the lights work
      They always turned their back on the villain/killer just as he is about to attack them
      Despite being terrified, they continued to stick their noses into everything

      I can't recall word for word, but this is pretty much how the critic described the films, and I have to say, out of several horror films I've seen over the years, he wasn't far wrong.

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      • #5
        That's hilarious, Tigon Man. It seems every good tec needs a gimmick. Remember that spate a good few years ago on American TV? I cannot remember their names, but one had a pet parrot, one was blind, one was too fat to chase anyone, and another was building a house in between detective work. I personally found Rosemary & Thyme difficult to watch, simply because of the contrived programme title. Perhaps all you need to do is think of a catchy title first, and then the rest will follow. Ian Hyland, the TV critic mad me laugh when he once suggested Codd and Chips, in which Inspector Codd and Sergeant Chips were wrongly drummed out of the force and then bought a chip shop, in which they solved crimes in between frying times. LOL I think that's got legs, actually.

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        • agutterfan
          agutterfan commented
          Editing a comment
          Netflix have just commissioned it!

      • #6
        Did this formula start with the Killing? Because I think the Killing was good and seemed like a unique format in 2007, but obviously when everyone copies it it gets tired.

        Are there any crime shows where they stop terrorists other than far-right terrorists? It seems like these crime shows, whether British or Scandi or whatever, love far-right terrorists. I've never seen one where it's another kind of terrorist except as a red herring. There's been several where it starts out interesting, and then inevitably they start investigating the far-right, and I think "not again, they were the baddies in the last one!" and switch off.

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        • #7
          I like the idea of Codd and Chips!

          What I find really ho-hum are the series which have crimes being solved by characters who are not detectives or policemen, such as Grantchester, Father Brown, Rosemary and Thyme and Marple. A clergyman, a priest, two professional gardeners and a pesky old biddy. Really!
          Last edited by Shirley Brahms; 3rd March 2020, 02:05 PM.

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          • #8
            Oh yeah, those crime shows where the proper police are lazy, inept and bigoted so the enlightened amateur solves it.

            Not a crime show, but I remember noticing that when I dabbled in Coro for a few years, none of the murders were ever solved by police.

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            • #9
              Originally posted by Carl V View Post
              Nothing whatsoever to do with British crime shows, but you reminded me of a time when I used to buy film magazines years back, and a critic on one of them described the modern horror movie as being rather formulaic.
              I'm with that critic, whoever they were
              I think that all horror films are formulaic & a waste of time.

              Except Peeping Tom of course which, as I've often said on here, isn't a horror film

              BTW Peeping Tom is being shown on TPTV next Monday (9 March)

              Steve

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              • #10
                Originally posted by Shirley Brahms View Post
                I like the idea of Codd and Chips!

                What I find really ho-hum are the series which have crimes being solved by characters who are not detectives or policemen, such as Grantchester, Father Brown, Rosemary and Thyme and Marple. A clergyman, a priest, two professional gardeners and a pesky old biddy. Really!
                Speaking of ludicrous Detective's Shirl, one of the worst was Pie in the Sky with Richard Griffiths, as a cop cum restauranteur, who was more interested in whether the soufflé was rising than catching crime.
                Completely ridiculous, not to mention the fact that Richards Griffiths must have then been at his heaviest at around 300 pounds. How he ever passed the police fitness test is anyone's guess..

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                • #11
                  Originally posted by Steve Crook View Post
                  I'm with that critic, whoever they were
                  I think that all horror films are formulaic & a waste of time.
                  I stopped buying monthly film magazines back in the early 2000's, so I can't remember his name but he was often fairly acerbic with his comments. Many of the horror films particularly from the 80's and 90's were the kind of "seen one seen them all" type of films, so he certainly did have a point.

                  At the risk of embarrassing myself, I don't recall watching Peeping Tom. I think Film Four did show it way back in its early years when it used to be a subscription channel, but I have to watch this film as soon as possible.

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                  • #12
                    Remember that spate a good few years ago on American TV? I cannot remember their names, but one had a pet parrot, one was blind, one was too fat to chase anyone, and another was building a house in between detective work.

                    Parrot was Banachek, blind was Longstreet, Fat fk was Cannon and the eternal house builder and lawyer was Petrocelli.

                    I still want to see Norfolk's finest, Swallow. Lives on the right side of the law, but is a bit of a maverick. Would not be averse to doing 65 in a built up area if need be. Failing that, some monkey tennis, youth hosteling with Chris Eubank or celebrity arm wrestling with Dave and Chas (deceased). Edit pxy tiny keyboard typos
                    Last edited by Duffy Moon; 3rd March 2020, 05:09 PM.

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                    • #13
                      Well remembered, Duffy Moon. It's like you're in the room with them tecs. And then, of course, there was Adrian Monk who was so compulsive-something-or-other that he couldn't handle the clues, let alone even blow his nose on a hanky. You'd think he would have made an exception and kissed the wonderful Sharona a time or two, though. LOL. You've got me with Swallow, though; I cannot recall him.

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                      • #14
                        Originally posted by Carl V View Post
                        At the risk of embarrassing myself, I don't recall watching Peeping Tom. I think Film Four did show it way back in its early years when it used to be a subscription channel, but I have to watch this film as soon as possible.
                        No need to be embarrassed, not everyone has seen every available film by the great Michael Powell.

                        There are are some haters on this forum who seem to think that it’s a horror film. But it isn’t, by any measure. Although it’s a film about a serial killer you never see any of the killings in any detail. There’s only one death seen. I won’t say who dies here.

                        Although it it is about a serial killer, most people find themselves feeling some sympathy for him. But there are a few smiles, if not outright laughs as well.

                        If if you do watch it, I’d be interested what you think of it.

                        Steve

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Duffy Moon View Post
                          Remember that spate a good few years ago on American TV? I cannot remember their names, but one had a pet parrot, one was blind, one was too fat to chase anyone, and another was building a house in between detective work.

                          Parrot was Banachek, blind was Longstreet, Fat fk was Cannon and the eternal house builder and lawyer was Petrocelli.

                          I still want to see Norfolk's finest, Swallow. Lives on the right side of the law, but is a bit of a maverick. Would not be averse to doing 65 in a built up area if need be. Failing that, some monkey tennis, youth hosteling with Chris Eubank or celebrity arm wrestling with Dave and Chas (deceased). Edit pxy tiny keyboard typos
                          Yes those American TV cop shows of the 70's.
                          I thought the weirdest one was "The Snoop Sisters". Two 90 something mystery novelists going around solving crimes!

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