tue 23/07/2024

The Tunnel: Sabotage, Sky Atlantic | reviews, news & interviews

The Tunnel: Sabotage, Sky Atlantic

The Tunnel: Sabotage, Sky Atlantic

Franglais 'tecs battle baffling epidemic of Euro-crime

Karl (Stephen Dillane) and Elise (Clémence Poésy) probe more cross-Channel skulduggery

The pampered bureaucrats who commission television drama have suffered from tunnel vision for years. Today a thriller series must feature at least four of the following: a family in peril; a dysfunctional investigator; foreign baddies; terrorism; cybercrime; a Chinese connection; striking camera angles and colour filters; moody music; and, above all, a pervasive feeling of dread.

The Tunnel: Sabotage, which began on Sky Atlantic last night (with all episodes now available via Sky Box Sets), has the blooming lot. The first series, a cross-channel version of The Bridge, closely echoed its Swedish predecessor. This time, though, writer Ben Richards has been given a freer rein and he certainly comes flying out of the starting gate.

Thank people, praise good work and remember colleagues' birthdays

Passports, a university scroll and two people – still in their airline seats – are washed up on a chilly beach. A happy couple and their daughter are attacked in their car on board a tunnel train. The bride in a marriage of convenience is quickly gang-raped. Welcome to Britain.

Meanwhile, à travers la Manche, Elise (Clémence Poésy) is training to be Commander Wasserman since Olivier, her former boss, has gone off to Counter-Terrorism. Everyone would do well to remember the advice she is given: thank people, praise good work and remember colleagues’ birthdays. Her gaining of emotional intelligence may be an old telly trope by now but the way Poésy plays it – her blue eyes and blonde hair softening Elise’s verbal brutality – is sheer, um, poetry.

Back in Blighty, Karl Roebuck (Stephen Dillane or, if you prefer, Stannis Baratheon), still grief-stricken by the death of his son, is working in Child Protection. The discovery of the little girl – mute with shock – last seen in the back of her parents’ car reunites the odd couple, and the air is soon heavy with a sense of unfinished business. The high-ups are keen to entice Roebuck back to CID: “You’re a clever See You Next Tuesday.”

Further relief from the doom and gloom is provided by William Ash, a character actor who has long deserved greater recognition (Jack Stubbs from Soldier, Soldier now has grey in his hair!). He plays “real detective” Boleslaw Borowski, aka BB, a cheeky chappie with Polish blood and a glint in his eye, whose attempts to explain Cockney rhyming slang to Elise and Louise, her foxy female sidekick, are hilarious. “Will you fuck him?” Elise asks her lucky friend. “We’ll start with fish and chips…”

And so – spoiler alerts are for sissies – the passengers and crew of the plane destined to plunge into the channel – hijacked by hackers on the ground (led by the mute moppet’s father who has already shot his wife!) – are gradually assembled: a human rights lawyer, a kindly sex trafficker, a pair of honeymooners and a “beautiful boy”. Karl flips when he catches a rescuer taking pictures of the corpses with his mobile and nearly kills him. For a moment it’s as if we’re watching Game of Phones.

A very promising opener then. Shame the actual crashdown, coming after a sequence of genuine terror, was straight out of Thunderbirds.

The way Poésy plays it - her blue eyes and blonde hair softening Elise’s verbal brutality - is sheer, um, poetry


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Series one was relatively politically correct, but still enjoyable (because they stuck to the original story from 'The Bridge'. Series 2 has jumped the 'cultural marxist' shark, with every cliche of an Islington champagne socialist's world view inserted into the storyline. Hundreds of people are killed by evil 'racists' and 'islamophobics' in this guardianista world, rather than by islamist terror and hatred as in the real world (ironically series 2 was even delayed because of the very real islamist terrorist attacks in Brussels). Even the main character's (Karl's) wife is a 2 dimentional grievance spouting scientifically illiterate 'eco-activist' with anti-fracking posters displayed in the background scenes. The writer, who was previously a housing officer for Islington council (!), thus allows his far left political views destroy the credibility of the plot and render series 2 unwatchable. Shame.

I couldn't have put your comment better.  They are my thoughts too. I didn't know the credentials of the writer, but they fit perfectly. I have become increasingly annoyed by  Karl's wife and her cliched character. She is a real distraction and the PC angles re fracking, Islam etc make a potentially excellent series barely watchable

My thoughts as well.
Still enjoying it though but hate all the p.c. b******t.
This wasn't nearly as evident in the first series.

just watched the whole series. It was excellent. One of the best things I've seen in ages. Very exciting and well acted with a complex storyline. One of the things I struggle with when watching dramas these days is a lack of character development so I lose interest because I don't care about the characters. Not so with the tunnel. Absolutely brilliant.

I agree with Progressivemediabias.  I saw the Breivick copycat massacre coming a mile away. The wooden stereotypes at the youth interfaith gathering, spouting cliched polemic. The tokens from each of the Abrahamic religions selected for slaughter. I think I saw the Jewish token being gunned down, wearing full praying regalia of a Tallit. Why would he have been wearing it? Why would the Jewish youth earlier seen reading Jewish Socialist on the coach be wearing a kippa? And being given feeble lines to argue the case for Israel, which are put down with withering scorn by the Muslim girl. Who is the only one given full voice, in her address to the group, where she declaims that Islamist terror has nothing to do with the religion, just ignorance and poverty, while the Jewish socialist and the cheeky French girl in the audience look suitably remorseful.  The French girl who earlier dissed the hijab is left tearfully caressing the bloodstained hijab. And what was the mention of Norman Finkelstein all about? The assistant of the Human Rights judge was handed a book by him, to which he said: Good, I will read it and then go online to debate with him.

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