Tag Archives: Darren Boyd


When we last saw Sarah Lund, she and her jumper were on the way to Iceland. Whatever else you might say about Sky’s Fortitude, we now know they have arrived, in some kind of Ice Land. Actually, not the jumper. There appears to be a jumper embargo for Sofie Gråbøl this time round.

As Governor of Fortitude, the strangest fantasy Nordic outpost you could imagine, she is a little disappointing. Though not as disappointing as many of the others. I suppose it’s what you get when Americans jump on a bandwagon that has already left, and mostly also arrived. They write what they admire, or at least what they hope will win them viewers, but which they know very little about. They seem to know the Nordic countries and their peoples much like fans of The Killing and Borgen reckon themselves to be fluent in Danish.


It was beautifully filmed, and they have an interesting collection of actors, ready to pretend – or not – to be Nordics. Some are, and are acting in their non-native English. Most of the others are native English speakers, but not in the slightest Scandinavian. There is sex, and drinking, and saunas. We ‘know’ this is the way of us Scandis. And it is, but perhaps not quite like this.

I almost liked the detective from the Met in London, American though he was. Can’t say I liked any of the other characters. It is possible to like both criminals and stupid people; just not these ones. Michael Gambon’s old and drunken cancer sufferer was perhaps the closest to feeling real, which I put down to Michael being a terrific actor.

When I wasn’t wincing, I found I couldn’t get Virus au Paradis out of my head. I do hope it’s not bird flu, or mammoth flu. With a bit of luck all the gruesomeness will be mere crime and human greed, with a bit of stupidity thrown in.

I don’t know whether I want to watch more of Fortitude. I have no curiosity regarding the what or the why or the who, and because I didn’t like them much, I won’t even want to visit an old friend, even one who is boring. But we’ll see how I feel next week.

(Actually, a few brownie points to Richard Dormer for being more of an obnoxious Danish policeman than most Danes.)

Dirk Gently

While three episodes rarely constitute a series to me, it was nevertheless good to have Dirk Gently back on television after the pilot over a year ago.

I remember thinking when the books first appeared that they couldn’t be as good as Hitchhiker. And they weren’t, quite, but when you’re desperate for more Douglas Adams, as I was, you take what you get. And then I wasn’t sure how they would translate to the screen, but I’d say it works.

I have a soft spot for Darren Boyd, who is very sweet and sometimes surprisingly astute as Dirk Gently’s sidekick. Less keen on Stephen Mangan, but then I suppose someone being a holistic detective needs to be weird.

Dirk Gently and MacDuff

As other reviewers have said, the plots barely make sense. But who wants things that make sense? Some amusing dialogue and some madcap adventure will do. Sneaking out over the rooftops, or having a hole in your floor to trap unwary baddies with, is always satisfying.

It was a pity they killed off Bill Paterson so early on in the second episode, but these things happen. The first episode left the Resident IT Consultant saying that not everything had been solved by the end, but I worked out that it had. It was just that the mysteries were unremarkable, and so were the solutions. As for the third episode, I felt right at home in that cell. I think it’s been in most shows I’ve watched recently.

It’s the chairs I will remember best; Dirk in his chair in an otherwise empty office, and poor MacDuff in his half mutilated chair, which he had to buy himself.

And now I suppose we have to wait some more, for more…

Case Sensitive

They don’t always get things right when dramatising books for television, do they? Especially not the books you’ve actually read. To watch, or not to watch?

I didn’t have time to catch Sophie Hannah’s Point of Rescue under its new title Case Sensitive over the recent Bank Holiday, but we watched at our earliest convenience the other night. That way we also got both parts at the same time.

Sophie writes long books, so I had concerns that two hours minus commercials wouldn’t be long enough. Needn’t have worried. This was perfect. Probably one of the more successfully dramatised crime novels I’ve seen. The plot had obviously been boiled down somewhat, but not so anything vital went missing. And at first I had looked at pictures of the two detectives and thought they didn’t look a bit like they do in my head. But they did act like them.

Sophie Hannah, Point of Rescue

I’ll want to see more of them. The only problem with Charlie and Simon were that they didn’t get to begin at the beginning. This is Sophie’s third novel, and the socially awkward event they are both skirting round happened after the first book (I think) and is referred to in the second story. So we can’t very well go back. Or maybe we can? It would have been so easy to have them fall in love, whereas they are both so prickly and wounded and it’s hard to see them ever getting close again. Darren Boyd played Simon Waterhouse better than I could have imagined possible.

The plot is one I first heard Sophie describe at an event, before the book was published, and it’s as chilling as all her crime plots. I’d be scared to be inside her head, but at the same time she is spot-on with her observations on the lives we lead. Not that I go round murdering all day long, but you know what I mean.

More than one husband with more than one dead wife and daughter, and a general confusion of who is really who, all the while there might be an insane murderer out there. Rupert Graves looked suitably suffering as one of the bereaved husbands.

I hope there will be more. Although I have to admit to having read only the first three books. On the other hand I bought the fourth book twice, which might make up for things.