Abi Morgan, River BBC 1, 9pm

river

Rivers, the name of the psychiatrist in Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy so the name has some resonance for book lovers. It starts flowing here with seventies rock goddess, Tina Charles, I love to love and finished with Tina Charles. There’s a few scares in between but not of the hide behind the couch variety. Abi Morgan can do what she likes on BBC. She even tried to make Maggie Thatcher human in The Iron Lady. Something I couldn’t watch for obvious reasons that it wouldn’t be believable, unless you were an American. Nice touch though, with all those Scandinavian dramas dominating prime time telly to have Stellan Starsgard as lead. He’s perfect, with a face like a Basset hound. Nicola Walker, as the not long dead partner is good too.  Morgan’s the go-to writer for an update on white suit and Randal and Hopkirk deceased. The old ‘watch out Jeff, he’s got a gun and is hiding behind the door,’ has been replaced by up-to-date ghosts like Walker that like their grub and are continually munching on snacks. There’s a second tier story in this episode about a boy that admits to killing his girlfriend, but there’s no body. But the dead girlfriend keeps popping up and chatting to good old River. He even carries her bag down so that she can take her place at some unnamed university. I got a bit confused here, initially, I thought this was River’s daughter, but then I got it. He sees ghosts. Even story-book ghosts. Eddie Marsden, the multiple Bafta winning man, appears as a long dead killer. River fights with him in an empty police cell. Rivers is also allowed to run unchallenged through a prison. I guess that’s what happens when you’re the lead. He’s still to finger the guy that killed his police partner. That will come. Five other episodes. Scandinavian drama. Beck is my favourite. This isn’t a good, nor is it up there with Sunday night Ann-Marie Duff and From Darkness, but worth a look.  He’s behind the door Jeff. Have a sandwich Jeff.

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