Sunday, 10 June 2012

Hit & Miss gets better and better; crime events in Edinburgh and Harrogate

Hit & Miss: Ben, John, Eddie, Mia, Levi, Ryan, Riley and Leonie. Pics: Sky Atlantic
Ben (Jonas Armstrong) intervenes when the kids attack the hermit
• The fourth episode of Hit & Miss this Tuesday (12 June, Sky Atlantic, 10pm) continues to startle with its twists, brutality and tenderness. The hermit who's been spying on the smallholding finally comes out of hiding when little Leonie is home alone, Mia's penchant for violence and vengeance along with her novice parenting skills are exposed, and vile John is going off the rails in his craving to get Mia. The drama is bolder and brassier than anything else on TV right now. The northern setting is wild and stunning, instead of cloyingly twee as in so many mainstream UK crime shows, and the transsexual contract killer Mia (Chloe Sevigny) is a surreal combo of male/female, killer/parent, mum/dad. For all its chilling violence and nastiness (Vincent Regan as John can rarely have played such a brutal character), Hit & Miss has a big heart, with family and love as its core themes. And the performances have been excellent, particularly from the young actors – Jorden Bennie, Karla Crome, Reece Noi and Roma Christensen. Brilliant soundtrack too – a toe-tapping version of Beautiful Tomorrow by Beth Rowley kicks this episode off. Hats off to creator Paul Abbott, writer Sean Conway and to Sky Atlantic for making a series that's so distinctive and fresh.

• Nordic and Scottish crime fiction are being celebrated at the Edinburgh Festival this month. The event has been developed by Edinburgh University students, and is called Midnight Sun at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. It sounds like a convivial get-together, which will culminate in a screening of Erik Skjoldbjærg’s 1997 film Insomnia. On Thursday, 21st June, Midnight Sun will take  advantage of the summer solstice to delve into our fascination with Nordic noir within a Scottish context. Proceedings begin with a drinks reception at the Point Hotel’s Sky Bar at 8pm, where guests will be able to enjoy complimentary Scandinavian canapés surrounded by panoramic views of Edinburgh’s skyline. Then Scottish crime writer Lin Anderson will whet the audience’s appetite for the screening of the moody Norwegian noir Insomnia by drawing comparisons between Scottish and Scandinavian traditions. What's not to like?

Luther comes under the spotlight at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival on Saturday, 21 July. Neil Cross, who wrote the BBC1 crime series starring Idris Elba, will be discussing the drama alongside cast members Michael Smiley (Benny) and Warren Brown (Ripley), as well producer Claire Bennett and police adviser Simon Morgan.

• Euro 2012 is currently filling the TV schedules and sucking in audiences. While the channels are definitely not risking new dramas against all the sport this summer, they are wheeling out some old lags. Next week you can see repeats of Agatha Christie's Poirot (Cat Among the Pigeons, ITV1, Saturday, 16 June, 8pm); Inspector Lynley Mysteries (BBC1, Sunday, 17 June, 8.30pm); Inspector George Gently (BBC1, Tuesday 12 June, 8.30pm); and Midsomer Murders (ITV1, Wednesday 14 June, 8pm).

Pic right: ITV