Thursday, 24 January 2013

Gabriel Byrne as Quirke, Sherlock on iPlayer, Jonathan Creek

BBC1's new series Quirke, with Gabriel Byrne

• Here's Gabriel Byrne as Quirke, his leading role in the eagerly awaited BBC1 series, currently before the cameras in Ireland. The stories about a pathologist in 1950s Dublin are rich and atmospheric, but the whole series of three is just dripping with added quality. They are, of course, based on the novels of Benjamin Black (the secret identity of award-winning writer John Banville) and they've been adapted by Andrew Davies (Mr Selfridge, Pride and Prejudice) and Conor McPherson (The Actors). The three books that inspire these 90-minute dramas – Christine Falls, The Silver Swan and Elegy for April – promise crime stories with a lot more depth than your average procedural.

Sherlock may have missed out in one popularity vote – last night's National Television Awards on ITV – but it has shone in another. It came third for BBC iPlayer viewing requests in 2012 with 2.5million, behind the Olympic Opening Ceremony and just behind (believe it or not) Top Gear.

• The cast for Jonathan Creek: The Clue of the Savant's Thumb, a 90-minute special, will see Alan Davies and Sheridan Smith joined by Joanna Lumley (Ab Fab), Sarah Alexander (Me and Mrs Jones), Nigel Planer (I Give It a Year) and Hasina Haque (Casualty). Rik Mayall will also return as DI Pyke. In this yarn, Creek and Joey investigate a secret society and seemingly supernatural goings-on at a girls' boarding school.

• Must tip my hat to a cracking US blog The Rap Sheet, which is an entertaining exploration of crime books and TV, both classic and contemporary. It's just cited CrimeTimePreview as one of its Blogs of the Year. J Kingston Pierce is the mastermind behind The Rap Sheet, but he has a whole mob of quality writers chipping in. Check out the site – you'll have the crime of your life.