Monday, March 03, 2008
WORD! Murder Most Famous, BBC Two, 1.30pm
BIRD! Mrs In-Betweeny, BBC Three, 9.00pm
'They' say that everyone has a book inside them, and celebrities are apparently no exception. BBC Two gives its daytime schedule a bit of a shake every day this week with Murder Most Famous, in which "queen of the psychological thriller" (thanks Wikipedia, and wherever you got it from!) Minette Walters tutors six celebrities in the art of writing a crime fiction novel. The celebs complete daily writing assignments, research the police procedures (paperwork) behind the investigations and meet with "real criminals and victims" (presumably, if we're talking about murder, they mean the victims' families) along the way, and Minette uses her expert knowledge of the methods of murder to quite literally (not literally!) "bump off" the most mediocre writer at the end of each show.
As a species, it's fair to say that celebrities know as much about the tormented psyche and complicated psychological states of a potential murderer as anyone, so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. How many of them will create heroes with exactly the same personality traits, haunted by the memories of the same adolescent traumas, and of exactly the same physical type (or basically the same but two inches taller) as themselves? And how many of these heroes will have names just two vowels and a consonant away from their own? The hopeful-writer roster includes Sherrie 'Soap and chat' Hewson, Angela 'Soap and Postman Pat' Griffin, Matt 'Rogue Traders and leather' Allwright, Brendan 'Strictly Come Dancing' Cole, Diarmuid 'Gardens!' Gavin and Kelvin 'Twat, former Sun editor and no stranger to creating fiction' MacKenzie, with the most promising writer at the end of the week having the opportunity for their crime novel to be published by PanMacmillan as a 'Quick Read' (don't pull that face, they're busy people) for World Book Day. Authorly good!
Over on BBC Three (future! modern!) there's another one of those hour-long drama pilots that may or may not spawn a series - we simply DO NOT KNOW - with ridiculously talented TV goddess Amelia 'Coronation Street, Brass Eye, Big Train, Jam, I'm Alan Partridge and State of Play, amongst many others, and currently doing a very good job as Alex Drake's mother in Ashes to Ashes as well, thank you very much for asking' Bullmore starring as the uncle-turned-aunt-turned-saviour of the recently-orphaned Winslow children as they struggle to cope with the remnants of their embarrassing family in the aftermath of their parents' deaths.
The initial signs for Mrs In-Betweeny look promising, with other welcome and female names in the cast list including Rebekah 'Pulling' Staton, Adjoa 'Oooh, lots of things, but mainly Casualty and Doctor Who' Andoh and Lisa 'We still haven't forgotten she was in Grange Hill' Hammond. Most thrillingly of all, it's written by Caleb Ranson, creator of ITV's wonderful, hugely-underrated and ill-fated soaptacular gem Night and Day. Obviously by those standards this would appear to be pretty normal fare, but when you've had a lengthy spell working with ghosts, Geishas, time-stopping strangers and virginity fairies, sometimes gender realignment, cosmetically-enhanced grannies and death by falling frozen urine are as good as a rest.