CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Hooray for a dark and bamboozling thriller!

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Hooray for a dark, haunting and blissfully bamboozling thriller!



Absolutely India: Mancs In Mumbai


Let that be a lesson to all mechanics and grease monkeys who leave sprockets, flanges and gaskets lying around on workbenches. You’re liable to end up impaled on half a carburettor.

One minute the gipsy thug Kian, with more gold chains than Mr T, was cheerfully throttling the life out of bearded wimp Paul in the rural Gothic thriller Blood (C5).

The next, disgraced doctor Jim Hogan (Adrian Dunbar) had burst into his caravan and started throwing punches. It was inevitable that Kian (Darragh O’Toole) would stumble onto something razor-tipped and oily, and expire in a heap of scrap iron.

Darragh O’Toole as Kian gives orders to Desmond Eastwood as Owen in Gothic thriller Blood

This second series of writer Sophie Petzal’s suspenseful family mystery is even more baroque than the first. If you like your crime serials on the brink of wild-eyed madness, with skeletons crammed in every cupboard, Blood is bliss… all set to a haunting piano soundtrack by Ray Harman.

The dual timeline was hard to decode in the first episode, but by halfway through the week (Blood ends on Friday with a double bill) everything is clearer.

Both strands are wrapped around Jim’s daughter Fiona (the superbly haunted Grainne Keenan), who is dying, like her mother in the previous series, from motor neurone disease. Fiona shouldn’t be driving, especially at night and very especially with her husband’s corpse in the boot. Part of the story sees her interrogated by creepy detective Dez Breen (Sean Duggan), with more forehead than Bamber Gascoigne, after her car is fished out of a river.

The events leading up to this are told in flashback, starting with Jim’s return from exile with the stigma of killing his wife still clinging to him. Gradually it becomes clear that:

1) Fiona and weedy hubby Paul (Ian Lloyd Anderson) are living in a tied cottage on farmland owned by Paul’s brash millionaire boss . . . and Fiona is having a lesbian affair with the farmer’s wife;

2) The farmer’s half-witted son is mixed up with a murderous gang of drug dealers, headed by blingtastic Kian;

3) Paul will be killed if he doesn’t help Kian steal the farmer’s prize stud racehorse.

Cheeky casting of the night:


There, that wasn’t so complicated, was it? None of these arcane plot twists matters, of course, if you’re just tuning in to enjoy Dunbar’s stony-eyed performance as Jim — one of those patriarchal control freaks who wants to run his family the way Kim Jong-un runs North Korea.

Jong-un might be dead, if conspiracy theories are to be believed. So, apparently, are at least two of the characters in Blood. They won’t be the last.

Madly, deliriously overheated it may be, but I can’t wait to see who dies next.

For anyone who finds this too much of a mind-twister, or who feels mentally challenged when ordering a chicken biryani, there is Absolutely India: Mancs In Mumbai (ITV). This mostly consists of soap celebs Ryan, Scott and Adam Thomas leaning out of taxis in the city’s rush hour streets and screaming each other’s names. ‘Scott!’ yells Adam, before having hysterics. ‘Ryan!’ shrieks Scott, as the hilarity of the moment overwhelms him.

When the three brothers have exhausted this fine intellectual pursuit, they head to the street vendors and demand the hottest, spiciest food available. One cook obliges with a sauce-filled chapati that is literally on fire.

‘Adam!’ gasps Ryan, flames belching from his mouth. ‘Scott!’ chokes Adam with smoke drifting from his ears.

The boys are part Indian: their grandfather Nolan Thomas grew up in Mumbai, when it was Bombay. On this evidence, I bet the locals are glad he left.


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