ITV 2005
A Pair Of Ragged Claws
TX : 16th October 2005
Director : Nick Renton
Script : Stewart Harcourt

Cast : Paterson Joseph (Shorty), Duane Henry (Roy Marlowe), Alfie Allan (Albert Hall), Brooke Kinsella (Dawn Masters), Michael Fenner (Sir Nicholas Wellesley), Francesca Annis (Lady Claire Wellesley), Jospeh Marcell (Clive Marlowe), N'Deaye Ba (Martha Sorin), Fiona Glascott (Mary), Nathalie Lunghi (Anne Wellesley), Lydia Leonard (Angela), Julian Kerridge (Ian Shaw), Tom Burke (Edward Wellesley), Kellie Bright (WPC Penny Collins), Rupert Farley (Detective Inspector Keegan), Lee Ross (Louis), Eve Matheson (Rita Harvey), Zoe Colton (Jenny Harvey), Aurelie Bargeme (Juliette), Andrew Thorpe (Young Jericho), Patrick Ryecart (Lord Masefield) and Aran Bell (Jericho's Father).

Publicity :
Given the success of Foyle's War, ITV can be forgiven for trying to pull off a similar trick again: a period setting, a murder or three, a loner detective who's a beacon of hope in a dirty world. It's a hard proposition to resist when the period is a lavishly decked out as it is here. We're in 1958 and Soho-based Michael Jericho (Robert Lindsay) is the most famous policeman in London. Two very different crimes fall into his lap: the murder of a young Jamaican in Notting Hill, and the kidnapping of a wealthy businessman. The two are, of course, intertwined, though discovering how involves a tortuous storyline full of wrong turns and false connections, all played out against the dark underbelly of London. If that summary sounds enticing, then Jericho's for you. But for my money there's a blank at the heart of it: Jericho himself is a two-dimensional version of a film noir hero, and Robert Lindsay looks less a man of action than a man adrift. Maybe we'll come to love him in time. In the meantime, why grumble when there are plenty of good guest stars, a period setting to die for, and a whondunnit that keeps us guessing for two hours? (Radio Times, October 15, 2005).

Synopsis : Atmospheric 1950s-set crime drama starring Robert Lindsay as Scotland Yard's renegade Detective Inspector Michael Jericho. Jericho tries to forge a link between the murder of a young black man and the kidnapping of a high-flying businessman.

Notes : Episodes were transmitted 9:00pm to 11:00pm on ITV 1.

The Killing Of Johnny Swan
TX : 23rd October 2005
Director : Nick Renton
Script : Stewart Harcourt

Cast : William Ash (Johnny Swan), Laurence Fox (Peter Bridgewater), Lee Ross (Louis), Brendan Coyle (Christie), Michael Feast (Christopher Weaver), Auelie Bargeme (Juliette), Kellie Bright (WPC Penny Collins), Lydia Leonard (Angela), Eve Matheson (Rita Harvey), Amy Marston (Annie Wilson), Mary Stockley (Gina Way), Peter Bowles (Fleming), Jemma Abey (Esther), Matthew Barker (Brian Kellett), Constantine Gregory (Tomas Kotov), Mark Wells (Tony Weaver), Lisa Eichhorn (Mrs Redford), Alexi Kaye Campbell (Jules), Zoe Colton (Jenny Harvey), Andrew Thorpe (Young Jericho), Annabelle Wallis (Lizzie Way) and Tim Wallers (The Sports Commentator).

Publicity : Fifties London cop Jericho (Robert Lindsay) investigates the double murder of a gifted young athlete and his new bride in the second episode of this atmospheric, but strangely empty, new detective series. Jericho is a blank, unknowable figure who never quite comes to life on screen. And involving him in a baffling, tentative relationship with a French prostitute who lives in his block of flats doesn't add to our understanding. It's all very murky, in every possible sense, thanks to myriad dirty dealings and lots of fag smoke, but a stand-out performance from the fabulous Pedter Bowles, who ditches his posh-bloke persona to deliver a terrific turn as a shifty geezer, is worth the price of admission alone. (Radio Times, October 22, 2005).

Synopsis : The renegade detective investigates when an athletics star and his bride are found murdered in their honeymoon suite.

To Murder And Create
TX : 30th October 2005
Director : Diarmuid Lawrence
Script :
Stewart Harcourt

Cast : Lee Ross (Louis), Aurelie Bargeme (Juliette), Brendan Coyle (Christie), Lydia Leonard (Angela), Eve Matheson (Rita Harvey), Kellie Bright (WPC Penny Collins), Zoe Colton (Jenny Harvey), Jane Horrocks (Sadie Swettenham), Glyn Grimshaw (Tom Eliot), Nicholas Farrell (Charles Hewitt), Claire Bloom (Marie Hewitt), Daniel Lapaine (Alex Gadd), Geraldine Somerville (Fiona Hewitt), Grant Davis (Grace), Victoria Hamilton (Miss Greenaway), Sally Dexter (Margaret Epsom), Daniella Byrne (Sarah Swettenham) and Rory Jennings (Edmund Swettenham).

Synopsis : A distinguished scientist involved in weapons research is found dead.

The Hollow Men
TX : 6th November 2005
Director : Tom Shankland
Script :
Stewart Harcourt

Cast : Brendan Coyle (Christie), Lydia Leonard (Angela), Lee Ross (Louis), Kellie Bright (WPC Penny Collins), Aurelie Bargeme (Juliette), Eve Matheson (Rita Harvey), James Coombes (Robin Hood), Dominic Cooper (Marcus Hare), Amy Shiels (Diana Hunter), Peter Egan (Philip Pickering), Elizabeth Spriggs (Ellen Jericho), Peter Bowles (Fleming), Zoe Tapper (Karen Gower), Lucy Speed (Bette Dadley), Jonathan Firth (Ben Loach), James Wilby (Alan Mills), Dudley Sutton (John Bull) and Aran Bell (Jericho's Father).

Synopsis : As a great smog envelops London, a serial killer is targeting courting couples.

Portrayed By
Detective Inspector Michael Jericho
Robert Lindsay
Sergeant Clive Harvey
David Troughton
Assistant Commissioner Cherry
Nicholas Jones
Detective Constable John Caldicott
Ciaran McMenamin

The series was created by Stewart Harcourt.

The series was produced by Cameron McAllister.

Axiomatic of ITV's pursuit for the ideal replacement for Inspector Morse, a raft of detective serials have been produced of late which have, for the most part, crashed and burned. With the possible exception of the exemplary Foyle's War and the largely overlooked Rosemary and Thyme, the search for a regular on-going series of murder mysteries has been a troublesome thorn in the corporation's side.

Thus, into the fray was launched what, on paper at least, appeared to be the ideal dramatic vehicle for Robert Lindsay in Jericho, a 1950s-set drama series harking back to the days of No Hiding Place and Dixon Of Dock Green. Centred on Scotland Yard hero Michael Jericho (Lindsay), the series was essentially a straightforward "crime is committed and police plod along, find the clues and crack the case" drama production gently sprinkled with a few character pieces to sustain audiences (Jericho's passion for jazz music being one of the more obvious Morse-isms employed on the series).

Paired alongside David Troughton as Sergeant Clive Harvey (the more settled, family man of the duo), Lindsay portrayed Jericho (somewhat strangely) more as a well-worn gumshoe rather than a detective, becoming so swept up in the production unit's obsession with establishing the 1950s mood and tone that he became a shadow of a New York private detective, complete with clouds of cigarette smoke, ratty apartment and seedy prostitute girlfriend.

Part of the problem of the short-lived series (spanning four seventy-five-minute episodes) lay in the fact that the leading actor was employed to portray a shallow, empty character in which Lindsay was never able to inject the substantial gravitas or personality of, say, John Thaw as Inspector Morse, George Baker as Inspector Wexford or David Jason as Inspector Frost, into the role. Audiences were unable to get to grips with the character (who was plagued with flashbacks surrounding the death of his father at the hands of a London gangland villain who later crossed Jericho's path in the course of his duties - a wonderful turn from the memorable Peter Bowles, playing against type here) and thus the programme failed to cultivate the sort of viewing figures which would have ensured a second run.

The stories themselves were fairly run of the mill, with the cases being somewhat overshadowed by the obvious casting choices made (for instance, Francesca Annis' casting in A Pair Of Ragged Claws was nothing if a dead giveaway), and whilst Stewart Harcourt delivered some diverting content (including a homosexual storyline in the second episode and a 1950s serial killer in the final part), the programme itself proved to be popcorn television for the popcorn culture of contemporary ITV television - readily consumable viewing with no after-taste and scarcely memorable thereafter. This is not to say that Robert Lindsay, David Troughton and Ciaran McMenamin (as the somewhat wet-behind-the-years rookie Detective Constable John Caldicott) weren't entirely workmanlike in their performances: the series was entertaining viewing courtesy of their likeable turns, but with precious little character to get to grips with, it is a case of watching actors reading lines as opposed to viewing characters one has become keenly acquainted with.

Producer Cameron McAllister worked alongside directors Nick Renton, Diarmuid Lawrence and Tom Shankland on this brief Sunday night fixture. Somewhat surprisingly ITV are releasing the series on Region 2 DVD on
April 10th, 2006.

Text © Matthew Lee, 2006.