Alison Rowat's TV review: Holding; Joanna Lumley's Great Cities of the World; Bridge of Lies; Fame in the Family

·4-min read
Bridge of Lies. Picture shows: Ross Kemp (C) STV Studios. Photographer: Graeme Hunter
Bridge of Lies. Picture shows: Ross Kemp (C) STV Studios. Photographer: Graeme Hunter

It is not easy being a maverick cop when every schtick in the book, from gambling to writing poetry, has already been snapped up. Fair play, then, to Garda sergeant PJ Collins of Holding (STV, Monday), whose secret vice is comfort eating. When trouble arrives in PJ’s life it comes sandwiched between two slabs of white bread.

Why should there be trouble in this tiny Irish village with its candy coloured houses and wall-to-wall “characters”? Well, it would be a pretty dull comedy crime drama without a crime as its creator, Graham Norton, him off the chat show, knows. Holding also boasts her off Derry Girls, her off Father Ted, her off Casualty, and her off Peaky Blinders, with Kathy Burke, her off lots of things, as director.

So to the crime. Human remains have been found by builders (makes a nice change from dogs), which means PJ has to call in the big city detectives from Cork. PJ senses there are secrets to be unravelled and upsets coming: hence the mega sandwich.

Given the setting there was always a danger that Holding could have given in to whimsy. It may yet. I don’t think so, though. The affection for small town Ireland is accompanied by a beady eye to its failings, and a willingness to poke fun at comedy “Oirishness”, blarney included. The victim, for instance, is described as “so cute he could meet himself round the corner”, in response to which the young detective from Cork rightly inquires: “Eh?” Also moreish was the interview at the police station being interrupted by PJ bringing in a plate of sandwiches.

Give Holding a try. As Mrs Doyle would say, g’wan, g’wan, g’wan.

In Joanna Lumley’s Great Cities of the World (STV, Thursday) the great Dame wafted in to Paris. This was pitched as an insiders’ guide to the French capital, though I’m not sure how much of a secret the Moulin Rouge is.

No matter; with Lumley it’s all about the craic. Anyone who starts a sentence with, “When I used to come over to Paris in the 60s as a young model …” is worth hanging around with for an hour. She was on surer secret Paris ground when she called into a vintage clothes shop and picked up a long Chanel jacket. “This hides the granny bottom,” said Lumley, who is 75 according to the internet. Fake news surely.

Lumley also found time to have lunch with fashion maven Daphne Guinness, join a protest over pension rights (I always do that on holiday), watch an Aussi dancer execute a perfect jumping split, and interview a local about the art of the affair.

The latter involved a long, convoluted metaphor about a cake shop, how it was nice to have an eclair most of the time but occasionally it was good to try some apple pie, etc. Lumley was unconvinced. “I went to the pastry shop before I got married,” she purred. Fortnum & Mason or Greggs, I wonder?

Quiz shows are the new podcasts: every celebrity has one. Joining the quizmaster ranks this week were Dara O Briain with One and Six Zeros (Channel 4, Sunday), and Ross Kemp with Bridge of Lies (BBC1, daily). The former EastEnders hard man has the more accessible of the two formats, his game being a blend of hopscotch and true/false questions.

Kemp has faced some daunting tasks in his time, from meeting LA gangs to visiting war zones and being a guest on Loose Women. He’s personable enough, but making this quiz stand out from so many others could be his toughest gig yet.

I was going to hail the return of Kate and Koji (STV, Wednesday), the seaside sitcom that was a refreshing blend of old gags and modern sensibilities (Koji is an asylum seeker). Then I caught the first patchy episode. This one might need some time to warm up.

You can always rely on Craig Revel Horwood for a giggle, and so it proved in Fame in the Family (Channel 4, daily). The idea is that four civilians have dinner with a celebrity who might be related to them. Everyone, celeb included, has to identify the lucky person.

Craig had a mixed, likeable bunch. Did he share DNA with the contestant who liked to use tomato soup in spag bog (Craig had heard of someone on his side doing that)? Was it the one with the kinked nose? (“Although Craig’s had a new one,” someone pointed out). Maybe the little fingers were a clincher?

Won’t spoil the surprise, because I just know you’ll be sprinting to catch up on All4. Enough to say that CRW was pleased with the result. “Oh, my blood, my life, my soul!” he cried. Sometimes I fear our Craig is too reserved for this business.

Before you go, Coronation Street’s romantic history summed up in a Weatherfield minute. Widow to Coronation Street’s Gary Windass: “You’re the nicest guy in the world. Either that or you’re a serial killer.”

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