September television and films

Vigil BBC1 and iPlayer***** Quoting from a review in The Guardian: Vigil has been a rich and sometimes sickly meal. Just one of its anxiety-inducing scenarios would be enough for most dramas, but this had international conflict, political intrigue, claustrophobic horror, psychological trauma, murder, cops, romance and nerve agents thrown in and set to various clock-ticking countdowns. I loved it but was a bit sorry they chose such a low key ending with the last few moments taken up by a press conference rather than the further activities of various characters.  

The Crimson Rivers ***** Excellent French cop show, first watched while husband was away and now rewatched with him on All4. There’s at least one episode that wasn’t previously shown or that I missed.  

Wild Swimming with Alice Roberts**** BBC4. Her enthusiasm is almost infectious and the photography is lovely, but it made me cold even to watch it!  

Vera***** Season 11 Eps 1 and 2 on ITV (and itv hub) The rest of the season is delayed and I gather they had problems with both filming and scheduling due to the pandemic. Good as usual.  

Help***** (Ch4) Superb acting by Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham in a chilling tale of a care home at the height of the pandemic. The ending is strange but again, very well acted.

9/11: Life under Attack (ITV).**** Chilling reconstruction with lots of video footage I hadn’t seen. Obviously shown to remember the twentieth anniversary of the date. Plus 9/11: Inside the President’s War Room (BBC) **** Similar programme but from the p.o.v. of Bush and his staff.  
Death on the common**** Ch4 The Rachel Nickell murder from the point of view of her boyfriend and her son (the toddler left clutching her body). They recently returned to UK and talk about their experience. A good addition to the Deceit series I watched last month.  

Gunda: Mother, Pig**** (BBC4) 90 minutes of black and white photography with no sound track other than the animal noises.  In comparatively slow motion we watched a mother pig, some chickens (one with one leg) and some cattle. Strange but compelling. I might watch it again, just as a moving background.  

The Hunt for a Killer – abandoned. (BBC iPlayer) Scandi noir based on a true story. They could have watched the Scandi dramas for direction and acting, and the Brit reconstructions for script and continuity hints. Billed as nail-biting… My nails were intact.

4 thoughts on “September television and films

  1. Jay, I lose track of Vera as it’s repeated so often on ITV3, so I take it this is the start of a new series?
    ‘Help’ was always going to be a winner with its leading cast. My neighbour was working in a care home during those dark days and I now more greatly appreciate the way she had to live her life at the time.
    I MUST start watching ‘Vigil’, having decided to binge it once the series had ended which I assume it now has. Sorry to hear the ending was as mediocre as many of the ‘Line of Duty’ series were.
    Thanks as ever, for the recs and reviews.

  2. Yes, there’s a new Vera series. Radio Times made a big thing of it so I knew… Two eps already shown and available, and two to come later. And yes, Help was great television. That’s not always a given with great actors. I watched a film the other night that was dire despite having some of my favourites in it! (Review next time.) Vigil was absolutely gripping and yes, it has ended. The bit that annoyed me was only the final minute or so – I’m not sure why the writer and screenwriters do that. Maybe they’re summing up for viewers who haven’t been paying attention?

    My daughter’s mother in law manages a care home for younger disabled people so we knew how difficult it all was.

  3. We loved the early episodes of Vigil and thought Suranne Jones and Shaun Evans were especially good, but we went off it towards the end as it got very unrealistic and was littered with continuity errors and general silliness! Like you we were very disappointed with the last episode and felt the whole series could have been cut by at least one, possibly 2 episodes without losing much (there was another ep that was padded out with love-story flashbacks, for instance). A shame – it could have been so much better than it was.

  4. I enjoyed it despite the trashy aspects. The acting was superb throughout. I wondered if some of the ‘padding’ came about because of the problems they had filming during lockdown. I also loved the entire Line of Duty despite equally unrealistic episodes, and The Bodyguard. All from the same imagination! I saw the final episode of Vigil as it aired then re-watched with husband when he came home from Cornwall. I was less disappointed second time around. Somehow the press conference had overridden the love story in my perceptions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.