Thorne: Sleepyhead is a three-part crime show introducing Mark Billingham's cop Tom Thorne to the small screen. This was Billingham's first book, and it's a striking start to a TV series, just as it was a striking fictional debut.
David Morrisey, whom I best remember as the dodgy politician in State of Play (TV version, not the film) plays Thorne. He's confronted with a serial killer, who specialises in giving his luckless victims strokes. One young woman who succumbs does not die, though, and as she lies helplessly in hospital, Thorne tries to communicate with her. But is he playing the killer's game?
The episode ended in dramatic fashion, and I'll certainly be tuning in next week. Mark Billingham has not had as long to wait for TV success as Peter Robinson, but there are some similarities with DCI Banks. A tall, moody cop with a troubled private life, falling for a glamorous blonde professional. A series of savage murders. And so on. It really is quite hard to do something new in television crime, but Thorne made a good stab at it.
I first met Mark Billingham about ten years ago, at a crime convention in Manchester, when we sat next to each other at a gala dinner. He was charming and witty and very keen on the genre - I recall he collected Ian Rankin first editions. At that time, he was still unpublished, but he struck me as someone determined, and likely, to succeed. He's certainly done that, and I am sure he must be delighted to see Thorne on the box.