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Monthly Archives: March 2008

Harry’s Game (E2)

All I knew about Norn Ireland spook drama Harry’s Game was that Clannad did the theme tune. Anyway, it’s pretty decent. Ray Lonnen (Willie Caine from The Sandbaggers) is Harry Brown, a Brit soldier sent undercover into the Falls to track down and kill the Provo responsible for killing a cabinet minister on his London doorstep; Derek Casualty Thompson is Billy Downes, his rather ordinary prey.

There’s more than a hint of the Nairacs about Brown, with his flimsy cover and wandering accent, whilst Billy Downes recalls James Frain’s Kenny in Nothing Personal, a footsoldier on the other side of the war. The ending’s damn solid too; not sure whether it’s faithful to the Gerald Seymour novel, but it works well as a punchy TV three-parter.

So, Piss & Vinegar: Whilst Billy makes his way back home, he stops off at a safehouse, where precocious young Theresa (Linda Robson from Birds Of A Feather!) takes a shine to him. Unfortunately for the pair of them, she opens her mouth about her encounter with a wanted man, and word filters back to Harry’s controllers, who get the local Special Branch to put the squeeze on her. She can’t take it, and hangs herself in her cell. Hence dangling legs and urine dripping on a cold cement floor. And they say espionage isn’t sexy.

(PS It’s my first blog in ages – pootie’s been at the vets, but she’s all better now!)

HonkWatch #035: Blue Murder (E2)My enjoyment of Underbelly has been somewhat curtailed by unpredictable weather in the torrentosphere. Having tasted all that episodes 1-10 could shower me with, the preview disc precipitation dried up, and I find myself languishing in the barren, empty weeks before broadcast catches up with internet. At least until somebody ups E11-13.

So in the meantime I’ve been trying to satiate my hunger for sweary antipodean crime drama with other stuff. Several of the news reports about Underbelly mentioned Blue Murder, often in most complimentary terms, so I got me a copy of that.

It’s about the relationship between corrupt New South Wales cop Roger ‘The Dodger’ Rogerson and violent crim Neddy Smith, and intersects at various points with some of the Victorian underworld stuff which Underbelly is about. It’s much less glossy, though, and focuses more on sweaty beer halls and downmarket Chinese restaurants rather than on titty bars and clubs (as noted elsewhere).

The leads are played by Tony Martin (no, not that one) and Richard Roxburgh. The former is most convincing as the brutal Neddy, looking like he’s been assembled from cheap cuts out the butcher’s window, whilst the latter, transmitting hardness through his eyes, is better known to UK audiences as the distinctly non-Australian Sherlock Holmes in recent Beeb remakes.

Meanwhile, bridging the gap between 1995’s Blue Murder (blocked from broadcast in NSW till 2001) and 2008’s Underbelly (blocked from broadcast in Victoria for the foreseeable future) is none other than Alex Dimitriades. You know, Nick from The Heartbreak Kid and Heartbreak High. Moody Greek heart throb type chap. Hint of a lisp, masked with broodiness. Anyway, in BM he plays Warren Lanfranchi, a crook whom Neddy must betray in order to earn his free pass from The Dodger; whilst in Underbelly he gets to proper gurn as unhinged hitman ‘The Runner’.

Anyway, after enjoying Blue Murder I went off in search of yet more dirty detectives down under. I’ve still not found me a copy of The Clean Machine (starring Steve Bisley), which I remember watching years back and enjoying, but I’m hopeful. I’ve also got my ears out for Police State, Joh’s Jury and Police Crop (all Ian David-penned TV movies, like BM), and also Scales Of Justice (which was helmed by BM director Michael Jenkins). If you can help, please let I know 🙂

Back to the HonkWatch pic: Neddy loses his guts after going mental and battering shit out of a truck driver. Diamond geezers indeed, those old school villains. You could leave your front door unlocked, they loved their mothers, never grassed, only hurt their own, blah blah blah…

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Watched The Krays for the first time in ages the other day. It wasn’t as good as I remembered it – bit flabby – but still watchable. Kate Hardie doesn’t really get enough to do, except look well nervous and wide-eyed. Never mind.

Here’s Père Kray, Charlie Snr (Alfred Lynch), getting the candy floss and hotdogs knocked out of him in a fairground boxing tent. The emetus is a little elusive, so I have helpfully encircled it.