Monday 11 May 2009

Gently in the Night

The second episode of the current series of Inspector George Gently offered an urban setting in contrast to last week’s story centred around a lonely old building in the countryside. Gently in the Night featured the murder of a young woman called Audrey, who told her parents she was a nurse, but in fact worked as a ‘fox’ in a seedy night club under the name of Blaise.

Martin Shaw, as the eponymous cop, had a nice variety of suspects to question, including three couples. There was the husband and wife duo who ran the club, the parents of the deceased, and a religious campaigner, married to a solicitor with links to the club. Gently’s sidekick, Bacchus, turns out to have been a patron of the club, and he fancies another ‘fox’, who disappears after being questioned.

Setting the series in the early 60s has given script writer Peter Flannery the chance to give modern audiences a flavour of long-gone times. This was the era just before the legalisation of abortion, but something I had not known (and found truly startling) was that prescribing the Pill to an unmarried woman was actually illegal.

The show was worth watching, but I have to say that Bacchus is shaping up to be the stupidest detective sidekick since Captain Arthur Hastings was banished to the Argentine. He lied to his boss, became improperly involved with a witness, and foolishly taunted Gently about his boxing prowess. When challenged to a charity boxing match, he was, predictably, knocked out by a single blow from Gently’s fist. That will teach him.


Anonymous said...

And his hair is too long. Not even the Beatles had that much hair that long ago. The other hairstyles were very nice, but were also a little too wrong for their characters.

And don't get me started on the 1970s wallpaper.

Uriah Robinson said...

Obviously Bacchus, the haircut might be accurate for a pop star circa 1963 but surely not for any policeman I remember, had not seen Martin Shaw as Doyle in The Professionals or he would never have challenged him.
Is there a shortage of older actors because Shaw seems to be on the TV all the time as Dalgleish, Deed and now Gently?
Perhaps I don't like being reminded of how long ago he was Doyle?

Lauren said...

Or the fact that major characters have locale-appropriate accents, but the minor ones are all Irish!

I do like the show, but Bacchus is a blockhead. Hastings may have failed to see the light on a number of occasions, but I don't think he ever blocked it!

Unknown said...

I didn't realise the Pill couldn't be prescribed to unmarried women, either. And it's not *that* long ago.

Bacchus is becoming increasingly ridiculous, but I still found it well worth watching.

Martin Edwards said...

Hello Lauren - thanks to you and everyone else for these comments. The shows are interesting, because they have flaws yet also possess a certain appeal - maybe, for me, it's partly nostalgia.

Lauren said...

Oops - yes, indeed, it would have been polite to introduce myself! I'm a regular-ish commenter on some other crime fiction blogs, and I've recently discovered yours. Will hope to be around as time and the ticking clock on my doctoral funding allows.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Lauren - good to be in touch and I hope you return to the blog soon.