It's the 10th anniversary week of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's series finale, Chosen. We celebrate Sarah Michelle Gellar's show.
TV review: Silk starring Maxine Peake and Rupert Penry-Jones
Silk's Neil Stuke, Maxine Peake and Rupert Penry-Jones
Series two of Silk returned to BBC1 with its highest overnight average; a whopping 5.6m viewers. It continues to entertain with gripping courtroom scenes that follow the career of newly appointed QC Martha Costello (played by Maxine Peake).
Quite a lot to choose from, but the look on the face of prosecutor Caroline Warwick (the superb Frances Barber) face when she realised she'd handed Brendan a chance to demonstrate his compassion (instead of unearthing a guilty secret) was priceless. She looked like someone trying to eat a barbed wire and vinegar sandwich.
The lengthy explanation from solicitor Micky Joy (Whitechapel's Phil Davis) detailing exactly how one goes about removing someone's eyeballs was a bit gruesome. Perhaps that could be replaced by footage of a cute kitten in the repeats?
In the first series of Silk, we watched feisty, principled, northern lawyer Martha Costello navigate her way through more backstabbing, deceit and trickery than you'd find in an EastEnders Christmas special. And for what?
Within the first five minutes of last night's second series opener, it all became clear. Martha and her smooth-talking colleague Clive had been fighting each other for the right to dress as a pirate in court. OK, fine. Not a pirate; the QC robes are a bit more stylish than that. Also, pirates don't wear wigs. It was clearly a Highwayman costume.
But whether you think she looks like Dick Turpin or Harry Potter, the robes signify a very important fact: the striving of last series is over and Martha is now a Queen's Counsel, the crème de le crème of barristers. Basically, she's won the lawyer version of The X Factor.
"Basically, she's won the lawyer version of The X Factor"
Martha was a bit one-note last time around; everyone who crossed her was 'patronising' and the class issue was brought up more times than a five-day old prawn vol-au-vent.
However, her character's newfound success seems to be a game changer. It means Marsha has a new direction and outlook, and it gives the excellent Maxine Peake a chance to stretch her (previously under-utilised) acting talents.
The case of the week
But what we still need is a reason to continue to root for her now she's reached her goal. We were given that in the form of Brendan Kay (a great performance by Paul Kynman). A childlike, vulnerable man, he was up on an attempted murder charge after gouging out the eyes of an attendant at King's Cross.
Initially described as a friend of the criminal Farr family, it soon became clear that they - and his shady solicitor - were setting Brendan up for a fall.
"a bit over the top at times"
Martha's refusal to follow the dodgy deal set up by senior clerk Billy and the Farrs' solicitor Micky led to courtroom scenes that were a bit over the top at times.
However, they were rescued from sensationalism by a great performance by Paul Kynman as Brendan.
He told the jury that despite being bullied and abused by the Farrs, he'd refused to follow their orders to the letter and even dialled 999 to help the man he'd gruesomely de-eyeballed. It was all quite tear jerking... unless you were the victim, of course.
Frances Barber was also fantastic as sharp-tongued, emotion-suppressing QC Caroline Warwick, who apparently occasionally "likes to swim in the ladies' pool". Either that's a euphemism for lesbianism, or London gyms are still practicing turn of the century segregation.
Before I get carried away, I must admit the episode was perfect: Brendan's subsequent murder at the hands of the Farrs was a tad predictable (it seems they don't teach QCs about such lowly things as witness protection).
On the other hand, it does set up a potentially gripping story arc for the series; I can't see Marsha letting his death go without some form of payback; she's got a memory longer than the M1.
- A solid return for the legal drama which entertained in huge measure.
TV quotes of the week - Silk
"You're a brilliant clerk, Billy, but being a brilliant clerk means you forfeit some qualities, and one of them is innocence." - Oh, the wise words abundant in this drama.
"Juries tell us about the space between the rules, and that space is filled with common sense... and humanity." - I'm filling up already.
"They call you Lady Macbeth." - Of course they do. She's Caroline Warwick!
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