Channel 4, various dates and times
Obviously sick and tired of BBC3 taking most of the credit for giving new writers a real shot at small screen glory, Channel 4 have taken up the cudgel big style with documentary strand First Cut and now Coming Up, a season of mini-dramas from emerging filmmakers. According to the channel’s website, their initial aim for Coming Up was to encourage dramas with ‘bold ideas’, ‘strong voices’, ‘originality’, ‘ambition’ and ‘wit’. Sad to say that boldness, strength, and those other three things are actually not vastly in evidence here.
In Imprints (Channel 4, Thu 29 Nov, 12.05am ••) Neve McIntosh and Neil Dudgeon play patient and doctor after the former wakes up in the rain with severe amnesia. The good doc’s technique to drag life back into her mind is to touch her up and pretend it didn’t happen. Or maybe he just wants to touch her up. Either way, he is caught with his pants down at the end and we are none the wiser. A Man in a Box (Mon 10 Dec, 12.20am ••) displays a modicum of wit in the true-ish tale of obsessive autograph hunters who go to inexplicable lengths to nab the signatures of Status Quo and David Essex.
99,100 (Thu 13 Dec, 12.05am •••) does at least leave some kind of impact on the senses with its story of two Irish kids who seek solace from their tough home lives in the shape of an abandoned ice cream van. Even then their idyll is shattered when they discover a mystery man trapped among the choc ices. While it’s hard to knock Channel 4 for trying, their reputation for bringing along new talent is on the line if Coming Up is the best they can do.