I dipped in and out of last night’s Mayday on BBC One, and I’m staying out. It’s not that it was a terrible idea (though it was a bit) or badly written (ditto), more that it tried SO HARD to rack up tension within the first two seconds and keep it there during the whole hour that the whole thing backfired spectacularly.
Now, I’m a sucker for a teatime whodunnit, and I’ll even forgive the odd repetitive element or cliché if I’m half-watching while doing the ironing, but I have to enjoy spending time with at least one character (be it detective, suspect, victim or – in the case of Lewis – city) between dramatic genre plot twists in order to fully invest.
Mayday tried SO HARD for thriller that nearly the entire cast came off as unsympathetic, scenery-chewingly suspicious and bewilderingly deranged. Why would anyone want to live near any of these crazies? Shouldn’t we just cordon the whole place off and have done with it? By the third time Harry Pearce – sorry, Peter Firth – simmered menacingly over a ‘symbolic’ model town accompanied by scoring heavy with FEELINGS while Leslie Manville screeched at him about her dog-walking doll-strewn-forest conspiracy theories, I just couldn’t take it anymore.
The good news? That’s five hours of my life saved. More time for House of Cards.