fri 24/02/2017

The Kettering Incident, Sky Atlantic | reviews, news & interviews

The Kettering Incident, Sky Atlantic

The Kettering Incident, Sky Atlantic

Noises off and incomprehensible goings-on Down Under

Deja vu all over again: Elizabeth Debicki as Dr Anna Macy

Tasmania, Down Under is like Canvey Island (although somewhat larger): everyone knows where it is but no one wants to go there. The Kettering Incident reveals why: the bleak but beautiful landscape is blasted by Antarctic gales and the natives, with few exceptions, are ugly devils, resentful of strangers and quarrelsome with their neighbours. And that’s just the humans.

This eight-part “supernatural” drama began with a shot of a column of rock thrusting out of the sea between a V-shaped cleft in cliffs. Alas, what followed was also a load of cock. We’ve seen it all before, many times.

This is TV made by stupid people

Back in 2000 a girl goes missing: instead of fleeing when she sees flashing lights in a forest – clearly a line of extras waving torches – she runs towards them. Seventeen years later the girl who was with her – young Cate Blanchett clone Elizabeth Debicki, fresh from The Night Manager – wakes up bruised and bemused in a Mile End alley, a very unconvincing oncologist at a very unconvincing London hospital. Nosebleeds. Frozen seagulls. Cronk car engines. Iffy wi-fi. Gigantic moths. Talk of UFOs.

There are no little green men, just “greenies”, eco-warriors determined to disrupt the local logging industry: once logged, forever lost! Banish all thoughts of Twin Peaks: this first part (and the second which followed immediately) evoked a dud episode of The X-Files. “What are you doing here?” asks her father when Anna Macy (Debicki) turns up on his doorstep. The soon-to-be ex-policeman is not pleased to see her. Nor is anyone else. They blame her for Gillian Baxter’s disappearance. Anna, determined that the truth is out there, sets off in her late mother’s Jag but she is no Inspector Morse. Flashbacks. Angry whispers on the soundtrack. A greyhound called Gracie. Mother Sullivans Ridge: it seems apostrophes are as rare as common sense in Kettering.

There is more action any night of the week in the Northants town of the same name. This is TV made by stupid people – dunces who don’t read, chuckle-headed clowns who derive their feeble inspiration from the moving image. The little girl is wearing a red coat, hood up, when she vanishes (Don’t Look Now). The local café-owner sells snow globes showing the scene of the crime (Citizen Kane). The list of references – Altered States, The Tempest (“This island is full of…ghosts”) – is endless, yet the nods and winks add nothing to the mix except that spotting them stops you falling asleep. The cast is full of vaguely familiar Aussie faces, only older and fatter. However, Henry Nixon, first glimpsed in a towel, is cute as Fergus the Friendly Cop (pictured above).

The second part – for those of a masochistic disposition – features crank calls, clog-dancing, cheesy CGI and wind-chimes. Enough already.

There is more action any night of the week in the Northants town of the same name

rating

Editor Rating: 
1
Average: 1 (1 vote)

Share this article

Comments

It's really good ignore this cynical revie

This is a pretty lazy, cynical and patronising review. Simply writing a list of events in a series does not amount to critique. Nor does calling the producers (and by extension the viewers) 'stupid'. I loved The Kettering Incident, it was atmospheric and sometimes really frightening. Yes there were a lot of cultural borrowings and references, but so what? Some of the references were unusual - how often do you find WB Yeats poems woven in to a drama? The acting was strong, the characters distinctive and believable. Also Tasmania looks extraordinarily beautiful and it is refreshing to see a drama set there, a place that we rarely think about here in Europe. Ignore this dreary review and enjoy it.

I may be cynical, darling, but I know shit from Shinola. If you want to watch a superlative Aussie drama I suggest you try Barracuda on BBC3 (one month left). Perhaps you are as thick as wood. Mark Sanderson

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters