Murder, They Hope
- Brian Donaldson
- 8 May 2021
Silly crime capers with Johnny Vegas and Sian Gibson in gleeful form
Back in the hazy mists of showbiz history, Johnny Vegas once performed an elongated routine of despair and melancholy about a pet rabbit he had as a child. Blackie met a predictably gruesome fate involving a large pot on the stove with Vegas becoming more delirious as the tale ploughed on towards its finale, as the young Johnny settled down to dinner. Whether he would experience Vietnam Vet-style flashbacks on filming the latest series as unlikely sleuth Terry Bremmer alongside the equally unqualified private investigator Gemma Draper (Sian Gibson) is unclear: but there's an awful lot of bunny action in the opening case of three.
While we all obsess with catching the next slice of prestige TV, a show such as Murder, They Hope is always likely to operate way under the radar, being captured only by those with the ability to sniff out the silliest of crime capers. Appearing in regular roles beside Vegas and Gibson are Sarah Hadland, perfectly cast as Gemma's self-obsessed sister Monica, and Shobna Gulati as Gemma's sister-in-law Vicky, a proper cop who sneers at the lead pair's attempts to solve crime. Meanwhile, across the three separate stories is a galaxy of guest cameos from the likes of Paul Whitehouse as a possibly dastardly baker, Hannah Waddingham as a definitely cowardly police chief, and Lee Mack as a long-distance bus driver gone rogue, while James Lance, Phil Cornwell, and Jason Manford all make fleeting yet welcome appearances.
Murder, They Hope is not the kind of show that critics or award judges are inexorably drawn towards, but with daftness built into its DNA, it comes as blessed light relief from the high-end programming which tends to dominate critical thinking. Instead, the mind doesn't have to work too hard here with the puns and pratfalls coming thick and fast. If you're in the proper mood, this could have you hopping with glee.
Gold, Saturday 8 May, 9pm.