Review: BBC spy thriller The Capture may be hokum, but it's very entertaining hokum
The Capture (BBC1, Sun/Mon, 9pm) was back for a second series of You’ve Been Framed-style spy shenanigans, and this time it had the paranoia dialled up to 11.
There were no pratfalls in the back garden filmed on shonky camcorders here – this was hi-tech stuff, with assassins airbrushed out of CCTV and words put into Government ministers’ mouths, live on Newsnight.
Quite the step up from putting a Stalin-esque on Jeremy Corbyn’s head.
The first series of The Capture was a more conventional crime thriller, with Holliday Grainger’s DI Rachel Carey – a high-flyer in the Met – tracking down the apparent killer of a human rights lawyer and bumping up against the apparatus of the secret state, literally in the case of an affair with anti-terror big cheese Danny Hart (Ben Miles).
This series sees Carey operating within the system – although with her own agenda – and delves deeper into the spook stuff, with the Chinese mixed up in nefarious activities against the minister who is intent vetoing their involvement in the UK’s new border security system.
It’s the sort of show which stretches credulity, and stony-faced spymasters tell people “I assure you, you’re quite safe here minister”, moment before an armed attack, while it builds an Escher nightmare of conspiracies within conspiracies.
But despite the spy cliches, it rattles along at such a pace that you just hang on and enjoy the ride, especially thanks Lia Williams, who imbues her chief spook Gemma Garland with a nice line in black humour. Just a little bit more focus, and it would be a cut above.
The Capture was up against new drama The Suspect (ITV, Mon, 9pm) in which unshaven shrink Aidan Turner rescued a suicidal man from a window ledge and immediately became a suspect in a murder inquiry. Turner gets more and more sweaty as each secret is revealed, and you’re never sure if he is who he seems to be. Intriguing.
Blackpool’s Dance Fever (BBC1, Mon, 8pm) was an unexpectedly involving hour looking behind the scenes at the biggest ballroom competition on the Fylde coast – and the world. Yes, there was fake tan and sequins and plastered-on smiles, but the work, the effort was incredible. An eye-opener.