TV listings | Enjoy a Drood to a kill


The makers of Lost quickly ran out of excuses for why the final season was anticlimactic. But in the case of Charles Dickens and his last novel, a whodunit entitled The Mystery of Edwin Drood, he had a valid excuse: he snuffed it writing it.

Indeed, a 1980s Broadway musical version actually ended by asking the audience to decide who the killer was, so it will please you to know that the BBC’s two-episode miniseries, which the Guardian praised as “so very, very good”,  has endeavoured not to leave you hanging in a ‘what happened to the Marie Celeste’ kind of suspense.

It commended a “lovely, supple, sinewy script moving everything smoothly, relentlessly into murkier and eventually murderous waters” and “uniformly brilliant performances”. Freddie Fox, it concluded, played the title character to “such perfection that the mystery first promised to be why no one had offed the little shit long before now”, while Matthew Rhys as John Jasper “made you feel every throb of his suffering, from the beaten-down ambition in his breast to his bloody great boner” for the heroine.

The Independent also liked it, but felt it had the advantage that Rhys and co aren’t taking on “a distinguished line of predecessors, as anybody playing Micawber would be”, while the Daily Telegraph found it “absorbing”.  

The only absorbing element of The Mob Doctor (DR1, Wed 22:30) are the swabs the protagonist uses to stem the bleeding of mobster patients she has to tend to settle a debt. As its 42 score on Metacritic suggests, the 2012 series is not popular. “It has ridiculous dialogue and ludicrous situations that the best actors in the world couldn’t salvage,” sneered the St Louis Post Dispatch. 

Maybe her patients should enlist the services of Fidelis Cloer, a supplier of armoured vehicles in Iraq, a modern day war profiteer who is the central character in the compelling feature-length doc The Bulletproof Salesman (DR2, Tue 20:30). But is he all bad?

Elsewhere, Seven Ages of Starlight (DR2, Fri 19:10) tells the stories of the stars (celestial not celebrity); Above Suspicion (SVT1, Wed 21:00) is back for a third series; and The Pranker (BBC Ent, Wed 22:35) is hit and miss and juvenile.