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The Cleaner: The Writer
Episode 2, Season 1

The Writer
In the main The Cleaner is going to be a two hander with a guest star each week.

In the second episode. David Mitchell plays pompous author Terence Redford with writer's block.

Wicky has turned up at the wrong time for Terence. Even though his grandmother burnt to death in his living room.

Reluctantly Terence accepts he needs the Cleaner but Wicky needs to be really quiet.

Along the line they have a conversation about literature.

It's less blood splattered than the opener. There are farcical moments such as the shelves collapsing, a violent cat and that Dylan Thomas book dropping into the bucket.

Less darker than the first episode, it tries hard to be funnier as well but again it is just middling.

Smother: Episode #1.5
Episode 5, Season 1

Episode 5
I thought this episode was really treading water.

Dennis had financial issues and daughter Jenny help patch things up by loaning him some money.

It was pilfered from her business accounts and now her partner knows about it.

Heavily pregnant Jenny looks round to raise the missing money.

Anna and Rory come clean to the kids that Rory has terminal cancer.

Dennis's brother Frank tells Val that he is partly responsible for Dennis's financial difficulties.

The episode might have offered a few more suspects, gave a little more coverage on Dennis's business problems.

It really did not go forward much. Just a case of spinning some plates until the final episode.

The Graduate

The Graduate
Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) represents all the gawky young graduates who have left university and trying to figure out what is next for them in the big bad world.

Back home in Pasadena, California his parents friends tell Benjamin that the future is his and it's in plastics.

One middle aged sexually frustrated housewife knows just what Benjamin needs. One night Mrs Robinson (Anne Bancroft) asks Benjamin to drive her home and attempts to seduce Benjamin who is shocked.

Having a casual fling with Mrs Robinson gives Benjamin some sexual confidence. His father is concerned that Benjamin is too lax about his future.

Benjamin thinks he has found what he really desires when he takes Elaine Robinson (Katherine Ross) out one night. Mrs Robinson is horrified that the young man she seduced is now seeing her daughter.

The shocking thing about The Graduate is that it won only one Oscar, Best Director for Mike Nicholls.

It is another movie that represents the counterculture of the late 1960s. It takes a satirical swipe at the mores of middle aged wasps of post war America.

Benjamin is not a revolutionary. He is shy, naive, sexually inexperienced and just wants some 'me; time. You sense that when he bursts in to tell his parents that he is going to marry Elaine.

They are elated at first until they realise that Elaine has not been asked yet for her hand in marriage.

The movie is filled with iconic scenes and elevated by the renowned songs from Simon & Garfunkel. The highlight being The Sound of Silence.

The weak points are that Elaine and Benjamin's love affair is too rushed and feels underdeveloped. A political dimension is also missing. While Benjamin is sunning himself in the pool, there were young man being shipped off to Vietnam. It is only in the zoo scenes you glimpse some naval sailors.

Get Back: We Can Work It Out
Episode 2, Season 1

We Can Work It Out
The second episode sees Martin and Loretta adjusting to life in a council estate.

Although brother Albert is still enjoying the high life.

Despite his selfish exterior he is doing his bit for Martin. It's just that he does not tell Martin of his plans.

Albert throws a little dinner party where he plans to fix Martin a job as a regional director with a rival clothing retailer.

Later Albert sends someone to buy Martin's house at auction cheaply.

On both occasion Martin puts his foot in it. He upsets the rival retailer and later drives up the price of his own house at the auction.

Marks and Gran give Get Back an element of Shine on Harvey Moon. It really is Martin trying to tough out the recession but there are always setbacks.

Doctor Who: Carnival of Monsters: Episode One
Episode 5, Season 10

Carnival of Monsters: Episode One
Robert Holmes does what he does best. Double acts.

It starts off with a travelling showman Vorg and his assistant Shrina arriving in planet Inter Minor to amuse people with his miniscope. The humourless rulers of the planet deny them an entry visa.

Meanwhile the Doctor promised Jo an alien planet. They land on a cargo ship, the SS Bernice crossing the Indian Ocean in the 1920s.

The Doctor realises that the SS Bernice disappeared without trace and the inhabitants of the ship are trapped in some kind of a time loop.

More disconcertingly the ship is attacked by a plesiosaurus risen from the sea.

The episode ends with the reveal that the Tardis materialised inside the miniscope as a giant hand lifts the Tardis.

Vorg and Shirna are colourful and gaudy. In contrast with the bureaucratic rules of Inter Minor.

The mystery is that at first the Doctor's adventures are disconnected. It is nothing to do with Inter Minor.

They land on a ship in 1926 and it is loaded with atmosphere populated by a retired major, his young daughter and the ship's officer.

I cannot help noticing it that it is very much how the Big Finish audio adventures operate when it comes to imbuing a production with atmosphere.

Things take a turn when the sea monster emerges that all is not what it seems and the lifting of the Tardis is a startling cliffhanger.

Enemy at the Door: Treason
Episode 10, Season 1

The episode is more about the German war effort and events that would eventually lead to the botched attempt to overthrow Hitler.

General Von Wittke lands in Guernsey to inspect the troops and talk to Richter.

Von Wittke shares his concerns about the war effort with Richter. Germany is stretched during the war, attempting to expand too quickly.

German forces in North Africa are being reinforced with Rommel leading it. Richter would like to join Rommel.

Von Wittke wants to be taken to a special location in Guernsey. He wants to meet General Laidlaw (Joss Ackland) in secret. He is a retired British officer and the ex-husband of Von Wittke's sister, a famous German opera singer.

Von Wittke shares his war concerns with Laidlaw and wants Laidlaw to make overtures with the British government. That there could be an overthrow of Hitler.

Laidlaw sees himself back in the game. Martel tells him that he will fall on the first fence.

As for Von Wittke. A Gestapo officer is hot on his heels and arrives from Germany. His plan is exposed and his is in choppy waters.

There are lots of metaphors in this story of honorable men who might be doing dishonourable things.

For Laidlaw it ends as the episode began for him. Ending it all is the only way out.

Ruth Rendell Mysteries: Master of the Moor: Part 3
Episode 3, Season 7

Master of the Moor: Part 3
There are themes and ideas that would have been explored in Ruth Rendell's novel that just never comes across successfully in this television adaptation.

The whole Master of the Moor never gelled and the final episode really struggled to be coherent.

Stephen Whalby and DI Manciple both have a heart to heart after Lyn Whalby's body is discovered on the moors.

Both men had spouses that cheated on them. Whereas Stephen had never consummated his marriage in the first place.

DI Manciple realises that Stephen killed his wife in some kind of silent rage. He might not even remember killing his wife.

The body was placed on the moors to blame it on the same killer of the other women.

The strange man wandering around the moors turned out to be a childhood friend of Stephen, who had returned to the area. Is this random person the killer of the other women.

Of course the killer of the first two women was Stephen's dad. A habitual killer. Is that why his wife left him all those years ago? Did Stephen have suspicions about his father? Did his father also kill many years earlier. If yes where are the victims? Did Stephen marry Lyn to somehow protect her?

Lots of questions that this adaptation could not answer. Instead relying on contrivance and moody shots.

Crazy Like a Fox: Fox and Hounds
Episode 11, Season 1

Fox and Hounds
A lady dog trainer in the run sends a sniffer dog called Max to find Harry Fox.

I have no idea how Max sniffed out Harry's office.

Max is looked after by Harrison while Harry tries to trace the owner.

Only for some bad guys to go after Harrison.

Later Harry is arrested for the potential murder of the dog trainer.

It turns out that Max is a police dog who has been given a substance so it cannot sniff out drugs.

Harry and Harrison need to inform the police that a consignment of drugs will pass through a sniffer dog.

Worth seeing just for Jonathan Banks to appear as cop in drag throughout the episode.

Public Eye: The Fall Guy
Episode 5, Season 7

The Fall Guy
The Fall Guy looks likely to be Frank Marker in this story with a lesbian side plot.

He has been asked by Alison Bradley to spy on her husband Julian. He is a solicitor and serial philanderer of young women. One of them being Tuesday Simpson his latest secretary.

Frank thinks he is having an all expenses paid trip to a posh hotel, as he follows Julian Bradley and Tuesday.

Only to find that Julian is not married. So who is this Alison and what's her game?

Frank finds out that he did not even have her correct telephone number and address.

It is another episode that deals with contrasting approaches between Frank and Ron Gash.

Ron has no hesitation telling Julian Bradley as to who set Frank on him and profiting from it. He also puts Julian in his place when he gets a bit mouthy.

Frank does eventually trace Alison and gets his fees. By now she claims that she is Tuesday's aunt.

In fact Tuesday and the old Alison are in a lesbian relationship. Tuesday only went out with Julian as he tried to have his wicked ways with his previous lesbian secretary. When he failed he sacked her.

The two secretaries had planned an elaborate revenge plot against him. The controlling Alison who was not in the loop spoiled it.

The Adventures of Robin Hood: The May Queen
Episode 29, Season 1

The May Queen
With the death of Lord Donington in the crusades. His son Sir Walter (Ian Bannen) takes over the estate and his father's title.

Sir Walter is also engaged to marry the daughter of the neighbouring land baron, Lord Blackstone.

Blackstone is forming an alliance that could rival King Richard. When Sir Walter rebuffs such plans.

Blackstone conspires that Lord Donnington owed gambling debts to Count de Clifford. It's a false claim but he bribes the Sheriff of Nottingham to side with him.

Sir Walter challenges the Count to a duel but the Count sends in a champion to fight.

Robin Hood steps in for Sir Walter whether he likes it or not.

This is very much a Robin Hood lite episode. He really is there in the beginning and at the end.

For some reason there was almost no punishment to Blackstone for spinning lies. Sir Walter just asks him to fix a wedding date with his daughter. Where was the humiliation to force Sir Walter into destitution and possible death through his cheating.

Although Lord Donnington's estate was in the midlands. Sir Walter has a strong Scots accent.

An early role for renowned character actor Ian Bannen who went on to be an Oscar nominee.

The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre: Ricochet
Episode 6, Season 4

This is a very noir story but done in a British B movie setting.

Alan Phipps is a solicitor with a wealthy wife, Yvonne. At first he was financially reliant on her. Now he is doing well on his own account.

Just the right time to take revenge on his wife for being unfaithful to him. Phipps also will make sure that her former lover John Brodie will suffer. It helps that Brodie is financially struggling so goes along with Phipps plans.

The opening scenes has Yvonne fearing that she is being stalked. Phipps persuades Brodie to blackmail Yvonne over some incriminating letters he has.

At the same time he gives his wife a gun and some target practice in case someone is really stalking her.

When Yvonne and Brodie do meet, they end up having a tussle and she shoots Brodie dead.

Phipps now has his wife charged with murder, her ex lover dead.

Things seem to be going swimmingly for Phipps until it emerges that Brodie did smell a double cross and he had a partner.

Efficiently done, the wintry snow setting is a bonus. It's a convoluted plot by Phipps but he nearly got away with it. Brodie's partner got a better offer from Yvonne.

Gideon's Way: The Alibi Man
Episode 15, Season 1

The Alibi Man
Bruce Carroway might the best racing driver in the world as he wins yet another race.

He is also arrogant, a philanderer and his business partner Jeff Grant finds out, a crook who has been cooking the books.

Carroway accidentally kills Grant in a struggle. With the help of his loyal mechanic Eric Little, he covers it up as an opportunistic crime gone wrong.

It does not take long for Inspector Gideon that there was no break in. Even the time of death with a smashed clock was contrived.

Carroway keeps a cool head. Only his girlfriend knows he was due to meet Grant. He instructs Little to shut her up for good. At least Carroway has an alibi for her death.

Little was a former racing driver who Carroway saved when his car burst in flames. The reason why Little is very loyal.

This is a story where both Carroway and Little make more mistakes as they go along. Either someone overhears them or spots them as they carry out the next task. You just know Gideon will get them both.

The twist is Carroway does get away with it. Little confesses to everything thus making him and Carroway even.

After Henry: Security
Episode 4, Season 1

Eleanor should have realised the dangers of loose lips.

Sarah's house is burgled twice. After the first time she installs a burglar alarm.

Then there is the issue of whether she has house insurance. It was always something her late husband arranged.

However a burglar alarm is no deterrent when someone keeps leaving the door unlocked.

As for poor Russell, you just knew he was going to have a sore head from Eleanor when he offered to pop round the house.

Well it's genteel as a comedy, the only clever bit was the barman at the pub listening in.

Bernard Holley who played the policeman was a regular in Z Cars.

Heroes: Chapter Eighteen 'Parasite'
Episode 18, Season 1

Chapter Eighteen 'Parasite'
As the first series approaches the final run of episodes.

There are setbacks for many of the characters. Their opponents suddenly get the upper hand.

It was too much to expect that Suresh could really rein in Sylar's abilities.

As for Mr Bennet, you need to be doubly careful who you confide to when you travel with a shapeshifter.

On the other hand Hiro is reunited with his sword and Ando. It just the he sees a bleak future.

Nathan Petrelli should had realised just how dim those FBI agents were. At long last Mr Lindeman is introduced, maybe he should had been preparing Duck a l'orange.

From here the fightback should begin but can Peter Petrelli taken on Sylar?

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Disney/Marvel has been applauded for its ethnic diversity in their superhero movies.

There is a danger that it could evolve into a cookie cutter approach. Take the easy way out and follow the Black Panther formula.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings does ride that wave.

Shaun/Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is a slacker in San Francisco parking cars along with best friend Katy (Awkwafina.) Both live an easy lifestyle that involves hard partying. Their other friends have settled down and gone for career goals.

For Shaun everything changes when he is attacked one day on the bus. Katy discovers that Shaun has some whip smart martial arts moves.

Shaun believes that his father Wenwu a notorious gangster has sent the goons. His sister might also be in danger and flies off to find her.

Indeed Wenwu is an infamous and long lived immortal thanks to the Ten Rings. He changed his bad ways when he met and married a woman from a mystical land called Tal-Lo which is in another dimension.

Now Wenwu wants to be reunited with his children and go to Tal-Lo to free their mother who he believes is calling out to him. It might be a trap.

As in Black Widow, the Marvel Universe is building up to its next phase of superheroes and villains. You sense that there is more to come and again this feels low stakes.

Several characters pop in from previous Marvel movies. Liverpool FC is the soccer team of choice for Marvel.

There is some balletic martial arts sequences and some inspired Jackie Chan type moves.

However the shadow of Black Panther is not far away. The finale is too CGI heavy and it turns into a Godzilla monster on monster type bash with elements of Dune.

The Terror: Horrible from Supper
Episode 7, Season 1

Horrible from Supper
There is another monster emerging in the expedition. It's not the terrifying animal stalking the crew.

As the crew ready to prepare for their hazardous journey on foot taking whatever provisions they can carry.

Cornelius Hickey is already preparing to splointer off into a smaller group to increase their chances of survival. He has already gleaned that the tinned food is driving the men mad.

Captain Crozier senses that trouble might be afoot as one of the men wants more arms to protect the crew.

By the end it's Hickey who has gone on a rampage. It could be a race for survival for the rest of the crew.

You sense trouble ahead as the crew of both ships seem to underestimate just how treacherous their journey is going to be.

Flashbacks tell you that Hickey is actually someone else who infiltrated the crew. He definitely has his own agenda.

Rumpole of the Bailey: Rumpole and the Honourable Member
Episode 3, Season 1

Rumpole and the Honourable Member
It is 1974 and it would have meant a Labour government would have come to power in both elections held that year.

Rumpole is called into defend a high flying Labour MP Ken Aspen accused of raping party worker Bridget Evans.

After speaking to the MP, Rumpole is confident that he could get him off. The accuser defaced his poster beforehand, showing that she was angry at him.

At the trial Rumpole pummels the accuser during the cross examination. Something that horrifies Nick's American girlfriend who has come to see Rumpole in action.

Unfortunately Ken Aspen falls apart when giving evidence. Did he rape Bridget or was he in fear of the expectations of getting into government. Up to one point the trial judge was more sympathetic towards the politician.

It leaves Rumpole in a sore mood as his own client sabotaged the defence.

As for son Nick. You expected fireworks when Rumpole rather foolishly invited him and his girlfriend to the Old Bailey. It was tactless by Rumpole given the sensitive nature of rape and as a result Nick decides to take a job offer in America.

Worse still, Albert the chief clerk of the chambers is accused of embezzlement. Taking the petty cash and is asked to leave. Rumpole does not take it well. He and Albert have been together for 40 years and Albert always fought to get Rumpole good quality briefs.

It does mean that Rumpole has been at the bar since 1934. Something to think about as the final series went on until 1992. I did get the impression in the later years that Rumpole himself became a bit of a relic.

Special Branch: Alien
Episode 11, Season 4

Made in 1974. There was a scene where DS Mary Holmes now living with Craven is shocked that Unter Hellman, the alien in question is going through a byzantine special immigration appeal that seems to be at odds with rule of natural justice.

I wonder what Holmes would have made of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission brought in by New Labour for people who were a threat to National Security. Fairness and Justice were not even on talking terms by then.

Craven is tasked to look at German radical left with revolutionary Unter Hellman who is on a research trip to Britain.

Hellman has been allowed in with tight visa conditions. He is not meant to talk to students. The Home Secretary wants Hellman out of the UK and Craven needs to find the goods.

Hellman himself wants to behave. His eyesight is deteriorating and he is seeking medical treatment from a doctor in London.

Some of the revolutionary activities are left to his attractive wife, Gisela. She already attracted the amorous attention of trade unionist Red Ryman. Haggerty is also watching her and at one point gets involved in a car chase.

It's an episode where you sympathise with Craven. He just cannot find any dirt on Hellman. In a twist it's Haggerty who tells Craven what really is going on.

The king is dead, long live the queen. Hellman was sold out by his own wife, he is no longer relevant to the cause with his failing eyesight and feeling sorry for himself.

That revelation is made at the end, by which point the story meanders and goes round in circles.

Ruth Rendell Mysteries: Master of the Moor: Part 2
Episode 2, Season 7

Master of the Moor: Part 2
Two murders of young women in the first episode, both young and blonde.

Is there a reason why Stephen Whalby does not want his wife to be to blonde and wear makeup.

Why did he marry Lyn if he cannot even consummate the marriage.

Lyn and Nick have an intense affair but Lyn feels guilty.

DI Manciple regards both Stephen and his father persons of interest. It was notable how irascible his father was when talking to Manciple.

I still think the show is struggling with the psychological aspects of the drama, by default going to moody shots of the moors and Colin Firth.

Maybe Ruth Rendell's novel is difficult to adapt. Obviously there were reasons why Stephen's mother suddenly abandoned the family. When Stephen sees her at the hospital he notes that after 20 years she has gone old and not blonde anymore.

Stephen's mother looked like the recent victims once upon a time.

Zone 414

Zone 414
This is a low rent, cheapo knock off Blade Runner meet Westworld.

The Harrison Ford role goes to Guy Pearce. He plays David Carmichael, a no nonsense former cop. After being vetted by Joseph Veidt, a psychiatrist. David is hired to find the missing daughter of billionaire Marlon Veidt, the older brother of Joseph.

Melissa Veidt has been missing for several weeks in Zone 414. A place where lifelike androids created by Marlon Veidt can interact with humans. In many ways it's a seedy pleasure palace where humans pay a fortune to go and have sex with the androids.

Melissa was close to a very highly developed sentient android called Jane. She is the one who might know more about Zone 414 and Melissa's fate.

Zone 414 starts off interestingly enough but cannot hide its B movie roots and ultra low budget.

The prosthetics on the actor playing Marlon is poor. There is too much talking and a serious lack of action.

Even the neo noir mystery is a failure having to rely on a confession from the eventual murderer. A hackneyed uninspiring movie.

Ruth Rendell Mysteries: Master of the Moor: Part 1
Episode 1, Season 7

Master of the Moor: Part 1
Colin Firth was a rising star and this was filmed a year before his global breakout role in the BBC drama Pride and Prejudice.

Firth plays Stephen Whalby, a strange young man who was deserted by his mother when he was a child.

He works as a furniture restorer with his father who is a bitter angry man. Stephen is obsessed with the moors, always going there and writing about it in the local newspaper.

Stephen's wife Lyn hates the moors and never goes there. There also seems to be issues with their marriage. It has never been consummated and Lyn finds romance with Nick who works in a pet shop.

However when Stephen finds the body of a blonde female painter he had met the day before. Stephen becomes a suspect with the volatile DI Manciple (George Costigan.)

This Ruth Rendell Mystery is a psychological thriller that presents both Stephen and his father as unhinged. There is even a hint that Stephen is a closet homosexual.

Being the first of a three part drama, it already shows signs of being too flabby as a three parter with lots of moody shots. The best scenes are the interaction between Stephen and Manciple who also seems rather strange himself.

Last of the Summer Wine: Variations on a Theme of Road Rage
Episode 3, Season 28

Variations on a Theme of Road Rage
Howard buys a second car from a widow. It belonged to her late husband. She wants shot of it and it's a bargain too good to pass up.

It means he will have more time with Marina.

Only thing is the husband is alive and was meant to collect the car later from his estranged wife who he has split up with.

The man gives chase, before long even the dozy policemen are chasing Howard accompanied by the tune to Z Cars.

Pearl comes to her own as she gives the man a bit of what for and a thud with her handbag. Only she gets to mess with Howard.

No wonder Marina kept out of the way.

Interpol Calling: Mr. George
Episode 17, Season 1

Mr. George
Guy Rolfe is having a ball as the mysterious Mr George. He burns a warehouse in Germany. He makes demands of $280,000 from an insurance company in London or else there would be more fires started.

The insurance company pays up. The British police think they will catch Mr George when he picks the money up.

No chance. Mr George is too smart and Inspector Duval knew this.

Duval second guesses Mr George. That he will go to a non Interpol country to convert the marked notes by depositing them in various bank accounts.

Indeed Mr George goes to Iceland with a female accomplish. However courtesy of Duval who circulated the numbers of the marked bills to all banks.

Mr George now has to go to shady money exchange men in Tangiers. In turn he will now have to pay a huge commission.

This allows Duval to smoke out his prey and he will use a boy that Mr George himself used at the money pick up.

This was wonderfully done adventure in such a short time. It was a battle of cunning and ingenuity between a master criminal and a master cop.

It seems Duval made the other cops looks just a bit too dim.

The Adventures of Sir Lancelot: The Ugly Duckling
Episode 25, Season 1

The Ugly Duckling
Sybil is the ugly duckling of the title. The daughter of Sir Egbert and Lady Lamorak who always get overlooked for their other daughter.

King Arthur and Sir Lancelot accompany Merlin who is related to Lady Lamorak to their castle. They admire the stained glass window.

There is a threatening note received against Sybil. She wants Lancelot to protect him who she has taken a shine to.

It soon becomes clear to Lancelot and Merlin that the notes were from Sybil herself to gain attention. Her family ignore her or demean her every turn.

Something more sinister is afoot when Sybil disappears for real and a ransom demand is made. This time it's no hoax.

Well it was obvious that Sybil had planned the earlier notes. There is no doubt that the sinister servant was up to no good.

At least Sybil later spruces up and becomes the belle of the ball.

A perfunctory episode, the highlight being King Arthur getting involved in some swordplay with Lancelot.

Johnny Ringo: Soft Cargo
Episode 30, Season 1

Soft Cargo
The title is an euphemism of white cargo. It's people trafficking in the wild west.

Cully is excited that a troupe of showgirls are coming to town.

However when one dancer emerges in a dishevelled star. She has a story to tell that the rest of the women have been abducted, their manager killed and they are planned to be sold to the Comancheros.

Cully goes out to investigate but is soon captured. It's left to Johnny Ringo to come to the rescue.

Later the troupe of dancers join Johnny and Ringo to fight against the Comancheros.

A young Dyan Cannon shows early star quality. There is even a cat fight between two of the women.

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