Sunday, June 24, 2007

Day Of The Jekyll

James Nesbitt and Michelle RyanSaturday nights have become a rare televisual jewel.

I suspect it won’t last long but for the time being at least Saturday nights are a night of perfectly pristine telly.

Doctor Who, Doctor Who Confidential, Jekyll and Would I Lie To You? One after the other. Wow. The Beeb has got my bland demographic neatly tucked up in the dry heart of its performance indicators and I’m more than happy for it to be there.

Doctor Who I will gloss over as I know some of my fellow bloggers will analyse and probe last night’s episode to within an inch of shattering the head of its bulbously glowing laser screwdriver. But suffice to say, the thought that the Master’s screwdriver is much bigger than the Doctor’s causes me much mirth. However, I’m sure it’s what you do with it that counts, eh, Doctor?

Would I Lie To You? sees Angus Deayton back on TV and about time too I say. Yes he’s smug. Yes he’s superior and personally unlikeable but he is funny, professional and polished and is the perfect front man for any satire-based comedy quiz. Who gives a toss who he was screwing or what he was sniffing? He was caught with his pants down, didn’t deny it, apologized and that should have been the end of it. The BBC seems to view its employees the same way that a headmistress at an all girls’ school regards its adolescently burgeoning charges. I’m not sure that’s entirely appropriate.

Hmm. Angus Deayton in a St. Trinian’s uniform…?

No. Let’s not go there.

For me the crowning glory of last night was Jekyll. James Nesbitt, though physically too slight to fill the role of Hyde properly, does however compensate for most of the missing girth with a truly mesmerizing performance. Things got much darker last night – a tangle of sub plots is slowly unravelling itself and Steven Moffat is expert enough to keep the viewer hungrily focused by constantly supplying tiny but elegantly juicy titbits. Just enough to feed the hunger but not quite to sate it… not yet at any rate… not till he’s ready.

Hyde had more screen time last night – which is, of course, exactly what we want. Nesbitt is pacing his portrayal of this enigma just right… animalising and unhinging him more and more by slow degrees as the plot unfolds… but also allowing him to be startlingly intelligent, both instinctively and emotionally. That for me is far more terrifying that the quick cuts of slavering canines protruding from his jaws that the show frequently peppers itself with.

Michelle Ryan is also giving good service as Katherine Reimer – she’s pitched her performance well; a university post-grad vulnerability mixed with a haughty professionalism. She’s a good foil for both Hyde’s mania and Jackman’s victimization… and her good looks add an extra frisson, I’m sure, as most of the male viewers will be half desiring Hyde to get to grips with her just so they can indulge themselves in a spot of vicarious wantonness. Dirty bleeders. This is art for God’s sake. Kindly reign yourselves in, boys. She’s not that kind of girl though Hyde is definitely that kind of boy.

The only disappointment for me is Paterson Joseph playing the part of high rolling business man Benjamin. His American accent is lame and his constant grinning makes him look like Prince’s sidekick, Jerome Benton, from Under The Cherry Moon.

That’s not good. Not good at all.

I really wish he’d just Kiss off.

4 comments:

TimeWarden said...

Not sure what to make of "Jekyll"! I read the novel some years ago and, to be honest, found it a bit hard going but like the two best-known movie adaptations. The Teletext preview of episode two said some of the dialogue was a bit clunky which I couldn't help noticing whilst watching. Maybe if I hadn't read that, I wouldn't have noticed!!

I can't even decide whether or not I find Michelle Ryan attractive, though the Americans obviously think she is having cast her as the new Bionic Woman! I'm not sure she's quite Bionic enough for me!! I expect she knows how to "shatter the head of a bulbously glowing laser screwdriver" though!!! Funnily enough, I just happen to have one of those in my pocket...

PS The Doctor's screwdriver is probably bigger on the inside!

Steve said...

Michelle Ryan as the new bionic woman? Hmm... I guess we'll have to wait and see though it's nice that they've moved away from the traditional perfect blonde image. I just hope her accent will be better than Paterson Joseph's (I#m assuming her character will be American).

Bigger on the inside, eh? You might be right there... I'm sure the Doctor has got something hidden away up a sleeve or two...

MOTHER OF MANY said...

I too think that Angus Deyton may be a bit of a plonker but he is a very good presenter.
I have never been happy with the double standards of the BBC,they 'made' Janet Ellis leave because she was pregnant and not married to the father of her baby but do they really think that all the other Blue Peter presenters were celibate?

Steve said...

I always preferred presenters like Janet Ellis and Richard Bacon - they always seemed more human and real precisely because they made mistakes or went against the "fake righteousness" of the show's ethos(not that I think Janet Ellis's personal decisions should in any way be seen as mistakes). Janet Ellis's private life in no way impinged on her presenting skills and had nothing at all to do with Blue Peter. I think I'd be pretty miffed if my boss started offering opinions on my private life... though I've been led to believe that while the BBC might have been grimacing behind her back her Blue Peter colleagues were very supportive and I have memories of the baby even featuring on the show at one point not long after the birth.