Thursday, 20 October 2011

Crime latest – Jamie Bamber to return? Spooks and Morton, In the Line of Duty, The Scapegoat

• Is this the end for Jamie Bamber in Law & Order: UK? His character, DS Matt Devlin, the show's heart-throb, was shot at the end of series five earlier this year. It's just been announced that Paul Nicholls will be joining the cast as DS Sam Casey alongside Bradley Walsh (DS Ronnie Brooks). Casey is described as 'headstrong' and will help with the investigation into Devlin's cliffhanger shooting. Stories in series six, to be shown in 2012, will include a shocking crime captured on video, a hostage hunt, cases re-opened and the past catching up with Brooks. Guests will include Tamzin Outhwaite, Toby Stephens, Eva Pope, Luke Roberts and Tim McInnerny. But does Devlin (pictured) survive the shooting? Pic: ITV

• So, Matthew Macfadyen is reprising his role as Tom Quinn in the very last episode of Spooks, which is fast approaching (Sunday, 23 October, 9pm). He left his role as head of counter-terrorism seven years ago (left), but this final series of Spooks could do with an injection of excitement. It's been trounced in the ratings by the Beeb's silly decision to schedule it on Sunday nights against Downton Abbey, traditionally the evening when costumes, not action, rule. And the plots, which are always a bit harebrained, have gone totally haywire, with Harry abducting the man from the CIA. So maybe it is time for him to go off with Ruth and have a rest. Meanwhile, it'll be interesting to see whether the BBC's next spy series from Kudos, called Morton, which was announced back in January, will be a decent replacement. This was about a female spy called Sam who is running for her life. The script is by X Files writer Frank Spotnitz. Gillian Anderson as a spy, anyone? It's all very secret, as you'd expect from this genre. Pic: BBC

• Vicky McClure, who stood out for her performances in This Is England and Five Daughters, has been cast in Line of Duty, a thriller about modern coppering. Alongside her will be Neil Morrissey (Men Behaving Badly), Martin Compston (Sweet Sixteen), Lennie James (The Walking Dead) and Gina McKee (In the Loop). The theme is corruption and the five-hour drama will be shown in 2012.

• It's great news that Garrow's Law is returning for a third series this autumn. The idea of dramatising fascinating cases from the Old Bailey records involving the pioneering barrister William Garrow was inspired. Andrew Buchan as Garrow along with Alun Armstrong, Rupert Graves and Lyndsey Marshal have taken us a totally captivating tour back in time to the brutal 18th century, exploring the era's attitude to slavery, homosexuality and corruption. The last series ended with Garrow wrongly convicted of 'criminal conversation' – or having sex with another man's wife. As revolution sweeps France in series three, attempted regicide, industrial sabotage, election rigging and police intimidation test Garrow anew. For a terrific blog about Garrow and the series, click here.

• ITV has commissioned a period dramatisation of Daphne du Maurier's The Scapegoat, starring Matthew Rhys (Brothers and Sisters) and Eileen Atkins. Rhys will play the double roles of John Standing and Johnny Spence, and Atkins will play his mother. Spence and Standing are very different men with one thing in common – their face. When they meet by chance at a station bar, their lives are changed drastically. Coming from the author of Rebecca, The Birds and Don't Look Now, this could be a cracker of a film if it has Du Maurier's trademark levels of suspense and twists. Producer Sarah Beardsall says, 'The Scapegoat will take viewers on a suspenseful journey with the character of John, from friendless anonymity, to the glamour of the big house, and then to the dark reality behind it.' Director and adapter Charles Sturridge (Handful of Dust, Shackleton) says, 'It is a daunting challenge to follow in the footsteps of Hitchcock and Roeg in adapting this thrilling and provocative writer for the screen. I loved the story from the moment I first read it and the extraordinary mix of brilliant characters surrounding these mirror image men.' Filming starts next month in London.

• Watch out for The Case on weekdays next week during daytime (starts Monday, 31 October, 2.15pm). Tony Powell is accused of murdering his terminally ill partner, Saskia, in this courtroom drama. He claims it was not murder, but assisted suicide. However, a video tape he and Saskia made together is missing. It stars Dean Andrews as Tony (pictured), Caroline Langrishe, Ruthie Henshall and Chanel Cresswell. Pic: BBC

• Finally, a treat on BBC Radio 2 for music and crime lovers. Friday Night Is Music Night on 4 November (8pm) is devoted to crime and police themes. The 70-piece BBC Concert Orchestra will be knocking out themes to Van Der Valk, Kojak, Hawaii 5-O, The Sweeney, The Pink Panther and more.