And so it begins… Hannah Dunleavy talks sandwich fillings, candle-gate and episode one of Unforgotten. Contains SPOILERS.
Time Team revisited
There’s no fucking around with Unforgotten, is there? One minute I was finding my notebook and wondering if I should turn the heating up and the next Cassie and Sunny are looking at a Walking Dead prosthetic at a well-loved picnic spot in the Cotswolds. (Not really the time for all those leftovers ads by Sainsbury’s, but there you have it.)
In that spirit of cutting to the chase, I love Nicola Walker, who’s experiencing a late bloom so full, that when the first series of Unforgotten was on you could also catch her on the BBC in River. And she’s not too shabby in Last Tango in Halifax either.
DCI Cassie Stuart is a woman much more in the vein of Sally Wainwright’s great female coppers, than the leads of the Danish dramas that Unforgotten was channelling in the early part of season one. She’s warm and funny and relates well to other people. It’s to Walker’s real credit that she feels like an actual person, given how little time we spend on her other life, in comparison to, say, Scott or Bailey.
In truth, the first series of Unforgotten was a triumph of performance over plot and, provided it doesn’t become afflicted with whatever second series-itis it was that did for Broadchurch (or so I hear, I never watched it), things are looking good.
While the first series boasted some drama stalwarts (including Sir Tom chuffing Courtenay, who won a Bafta for it), the second series has a fine array of British comedy stalwarts in its midst (hooray for Rosie Cavaliero, Nigel Lindsay and Wendy Craig, as well as Sanjeev Bhaskar, obvs). And the shoes of Tessa Nixon-not-Walker look like they fit Lorraine Ashbourne very well. Exciting.
“One minute I was finding my notebook and wondering if I should turn the heating up and the next Cassie and Sunny are looking at a Walking Dead prosthetic at a well-loved picnic spot in the Cotswolds.”
It’s obviously early days in terms of plot, so I’m not going to take a stab at (no pun intended) what links a prospective headteacher, a Scottish lawyer, an oncology nurse and the wife of the man stuffed in a suitcase, who we met on a particularly scenic tour of the south of England. Especially when the reveal of series one was so ‘oh, please’.
That said, they seem to be setting up ‘parenthood’ as the theme of the series, so I do expect the son of David Walker to be the key to the mystery. And that Macbeth lesson was a pretty hefty clue to something, right? Else why did I have to sit through that?
I quite enjoy the slow plod through the early stages of the investigation, and I loved the show of sisterly grating that was candle-gate. I have to say, though, there’s something off about (the ever-watchable) Mark Bonnar’s thread as the new dad/car keyer extraordinaire. I’m more than happy to be corrected by any lawyers/adoptive parents but none of it seemed particularly believable. Which is a shame. Especially as there’s five more hours of it.
How much do you reckon he paid for that pager?
Following the ‘tuna and sweetcorn’ debate of Happy Valley, we have egg and cress dilemmas here. If a British crime drama ain’t all about the sandwiches, I’m not interested.
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Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.