SoHo Recruits New Ol’ Bill

Within a month of The Bill finally ending its run on UK TV, two new next-generation Blighty police dramas — Babylon (above) and series two of Line of Duty — will premiere on SoHo.

The former is a Danny Boyle-directed satirical drama relevant to NZ viewers — it tackles police PR — and is the movie-length pilot to a series starting later in the year from two of the writers of The Thick of It, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain.

It stars James Nesbitt, Peep Show’s Paterson Joseph and EastEnders’ Jill Halfpenny, and will screen for the first time on May 26.

The Guardian thought it “a successful example of what a comedy-drama should be.

“It ticks off its primary requirements with astounding certainty. For 90 minutes, I laughed and I despaired.

“The concept is tricky to pin down, because it aims to do so much. It’s a cop show, but its cops are also participating in the making of a cop show.

“It’s a political satire, but it is warm towards its main targets while still managing to criticise the system that contains them.

“Its jagged, withering dialogue is often very funny, but it left me with a residual feeling of hopelessness, rather than good humour.”

But The Telegraph argued Babylon “was not quite as great as the sum of its parts” and blamed Boyle’s direction.

“He may be Britain’s most-lauded director but his filter of coolness was at odds with the very British, rather dyspeptic dialogue of Bain and Armstrong.

“The forthcoming full series will no doubt benefit from a shortened running time (this pilot was 95 minutes), but it will also need a director who is sympathetic to the writers’ erudition in order for this clever, ambitious show to realise its potential.”

Starting June 8 is series two of Line of Duty, with Spooks’ Keeley Hawes joining the cast as the prime suspect in the ambushing of a police convoy.

“The police corruption thriller debuted two years ago and became, at the time, BBC Two’s best-performing new drama in a decade,” The Telegraph said.

“This second series is even better.”

“Anyone worrying that Line of Duty wouldn’t be able to repeat the success of its debut series, would hopefully have found their fears assuaged after, oh, about five minutes,” The Huffington Post predicted.

The Mail said it was the “brief glimpses into the private lives of the officers that makes the show so human and watchable.

“From the superintendent whose marriage is crumbling to the enthusiastic newcomer with a secret drink problem, it’s the characters the viewer becomes more interested in than the crime they are attempting to solve.

“There were plenty of twists and turns and some terrific performances, with a particularly fine one from Adrian Dunbar as a decidedly slippery superintendent.”

The BBC has commissioned Jed Mercurio (Bodies) to write two more series of Duty.

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One Response to “SoHo Recruits New Ol’ Bill”

  1. I enjoyed the 1st season of Line of Duty, so looking forward to the 2nd season.

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