CHARLES GRAHAM - Girl power doesn’t need to be at expense of men

The three lead characters in Scott and Bailey
The three lead characters in Scott and Bailey

WHO-DUNNITS and detective dramas have always been popular fare in the Graham household.

We’re equally happy whether watching the benign Miss Marple or the gory Wire in the Blood; if there’s foul play afoot and a complex web of false trails leading to a dramatic denouement, we’ll be glued to the set.

And I am certainly not of the dinosaur breed who thinks that all the best cop shows have to have male leads (although my favourite of all, Inspector Morse, happens to have one).

In fact I was delighted to see Vera, as played by the wonderful Brenda Blethyn, return for a new series this week. And I rate the three lead female characters in Scott and Bailey (pictured) as among the most realistic and rounded of any show. It is partly the scripts, partly the fantastic performances of Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones and Amanda Bullmore and it makes for compulsive viewing.

But while it is one of the best programmes on telly at the moment I would like, rather timidly, to raise one little issue I have with it.

I should say that after decades of women being given drab, subservient or superficially titivating parts in all manner of TV dramas, I feel a tad guilty about accusing the programme makers of sexual discrimination.

But it is difficult not to notice the complete lack of sympathetic male characters in Scott and Bailey. Just one now and again would be nice. The nearest thing to it is DC Kevin Lumb, played by Wigan’s own Ben Batt, but he is dim and tactless. Other male officers and, indeed relatives of the female leads, have even less endearing characteristics, such as obsessiveness, incompetence and boorish infidelity. And that’s before we get onto the criminals!

And all of the women’s faults/problems can be sure to have been caused by a bloke. I know this must be how women viewers have felt for years but two wrongs don’t make a right and if the aim of Scott and Bailey’s writers is to get as close to real policing and relationships as possible, through three excellence female portrayals it doesn’t need to do so at the expense of the entire other gender!