When it comes to Sunday night television viewing you really can’t beat a good bit of escapism laced with a good dose of nostalgia, especially if there are one or two chesterfield sofas thrown in for good measure. They give you the feel-good factor, and let you can lose yourself – albeit temporarily – and forget about the working week that looms ahead. That’s why series like ‘Call the Midwife’ were so successful. For a brief time they let you suspend belief and forget about real life. Unfortunately the BBC’s latest offering, ‘Partners in Crime’ singularly fails to hit the spot. Still, there are plenty of chesterfield sofas and club chairs to ogle, so we can at least draw some comfort from that.
So what’s the plot? Well, it’s basically a mystery/suspense drama about amateur sleuths who occasionally get a little out of their depth. It takes traditional Miss Marple detective story plots and gives them a Fifties twist. It should work as it’s got all the necessary ingredients; Agatha Christie story lines, great sets, slick filming, chesterfield sofas and David Walliams and Jessica Raine too. With that sort of pedigree it should be a sure-fire winner.
The problem is it just doesn’t seem to cut the mustard and resonate like other Sunday night dramas. Why? Well, maybe it’s the austere Fifties setting, maybe it’s the tension- free script; maybe it’s simply down to the fact that the direction and acting dither between suspense and comedy, and ultimately end up delivering neither. Who really knows? Still, if you haven’t watched it yet, don’t let these reservations put you off. You still might enjoy the jolly japes and capers of Tommy and Tuppence Beresford.
Anyway, it’s not all doom and gloom. ‘Partners in Crime’ does have two particularly appealing points; a beautiful 1950s maroon Morris Minor Traveller which even when badly damaged miraculously emerges unscathed minutes later, and more chesterfield sofas than you could shake a stick at. That’s more than enough for us, so we’ll quite happily grin and bear it.
Whatever caper the intrepid duo get up to next week, just keep your eyes on the stars of the show. Forget the thin and often muddled plots, and concentrate your full attention on two pieces of classic British craftsmanship: the Morris Minor Traveller and the elegant leather chesterfield sofas. They ooze class and sophistication, and look just as good today as they did then. Agatha Christie might have reservations about the way her plots have been handled and manipulated, but we’re pretty sure she’d be perfectly satisfied with way the other two leading characters are portrayed.