Monday, February 16, 2009

Anyone watch New Town this Saturday? I want to know whodunnit!

I *really* enjoyed it! So much that I've sent out a plea on TV Scoop to get everyone to watch it on iPlayer....
We're big fans of BBC Four here on TV Scoop - loads of great documentaries, the odd cool comedy in the likes of Flight of the Conchords and We Need Answers, and classy drama aplenty. It's also the channel where lots of programmes get their first break, and this weekend a comedy drama (that actually had both comedy AND drama) called New Town sneaked into the schedules to see if anyone would bite. Well I bit, and it was, er, tasty. But this episode set up a murder mystery - and I want to know whodunnit!

The show is written and directed by Annie Griffin, whose work you may have seen in The Book Group or (also set in Edinburgh) the film Festival which starred Chris O'Dowd and Stephen Mangan. In New Town, she has created a beautiful-looking drama which combines humour with tragedy and a whole lot of oddness; in other words, really interesting and precisely the sort of thing we want BBC Four to show.

On Saturday we saw the first episode, and met a few residents of Edinburgh's desirable New Town - a "future-proof" area, even in this economic climate, according to the estate agents. Central to the murder mystery are the Gilbert and George-esque Purves and Pekkala, (spookily played by Mark Gatiss and Max Bremer), two identically-suited architects who dream of leaving kitchens and loft-extensions behind them. They get their break when an investor (Omid Djalili on top form) hires them to transform a listed church in the heart of the New Town into a shopping mall - the only person standing in their way is the head of Scottish Heritage. No prizes, then, for guessing where the finger is pointed when he falls/is pushed off the top of that very church to his death.

There's also a young, free-spirited and naive artist who manages to persuade a lovely old lady that she should be allowed to stay with her while she studies at Edinburgh's art college, Purves and Pekkala's imaginative but lonely son, an aspiring townhouse-owner and a cut-throat estate agent. How are all these people related and connected? At this point, it's hard to tell, and as this episode - the first of a possible six - was shown as a pilot, there's a chance we'll never know.

Hopefully, that won't be the case, because this was genuinely inventive, actually made me laugh out loud on several occasions, and has been made with real care. So please, give me the chance to find out whodunnit by giving it a watch on iPlayer and thereby persuading the powers that be that this series deserves to be seen in its entirety.

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