thu 20/06/2019

The Bay, ITV, review - Broadchurch goes north | reviews, news & interviews

The Bay, ITV, review - Broadchurch goes north

The Bay, ITV, review - Broadchurch goes north

Morven Christie plays a detective with a naughty secret in a Morecambe murder case

Morven Christie: karaoke detective in 'The Bay'

In the 1970s, the Mancunian stand-up Colin Crompton had a famous routine about Morecambe. He characterised Morecambe as “a sort of cemetery with lights” where “they don't bury their dead, they stand them up in bus shelters with a bingo ticket in their hand”.

You can tell it’s Morecambe that stars in The Bay (ITV) because there was a fleeting glimpse of its most famous son, who named himself after the place and is memorialised in a dancing statue on the front. In other respects it seems to have changed its spots. There are barely any retirees, and it’s all gone lively. In the opening scenes three women went out on the town, got drunk, did a karaoke version of “Walking on Sunshine” in a pub before one of them – Lisa – had a full vertical engagement with a stubbly admirer down a backstreet.

The next morning Lisa (Morven Christie) reported for work at – you’ve guessed it – the local nick. Full name DS Armstrong. She was soon out on the case of two teenagers who’d gone missing the night before. Their mother looked worried. Then their stepfather walked in and– you’ve guessed it again – it was last night’s Mr Stubble, also known as Sean Meredith (Jonas Armstrong). Oops. This must happen all the time in small towns.

So Morecambe may have livened up a bit. They’re redeveloping the amusement arcade, and the fishermen have lively date-sensitive conversations about Brexit. But it’s still a goldfish bowl. When Lisa is called to school after her daughter gets into a fight, the head teacher who suspends her is Lisa’s singing partner from last night’s karaoke. “Come on, we’re mates,” she pleads. Not a twist you’ll find in a metropolitan crime drama like Line of Duty. But you might in Broadchurch, of which this feels like a northern cousin.

The tension in The Bay is all around DS Armstrong’s failure to recuse herself from the investigation when she discovers she shagged a possible suspect. At one point she even asked Sean what he was up to at a certain point when the look on his face told him she knew perfectly well. This has the feel of a bog-standard procedural – Armstrong has even been given an annoying rookie sidekick who doesn’t know the ropes – but Morven Christie is never less than watchable. If anyone can make an outrageously implausible conflict-of-interest plot strand fly, she can.

This has the feel of a bog-standard procedural, but Morven Christie is never less than watchable

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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