Channel 5, Monday-Thursday
Trip Hazard: My Great British Adventure
Channel 4, Friday
The latest stripped-across-the-week thriller from Channel 5, Intruder, achieves one star, and also five stars, because it possesses the kind of one-star stupidness that, if properly embraced, can take you to a place of five-star wonder and amusement.
I am still, for example, wondering about the rug where a bleeding-out dead teenager was laid that appeared spotless after the body was removed. Do you know where I might purchase such a self-cleaning rug? Does John Lewis do them?
There are no spoilers here, although I will lay out the premise, which happens in the first ten minutes. This opens in an expensive, architect-designed house that is, of course, beautifully located by the sea.
After the friends have snorted cocaine, the guests all leave, apart from their friend Angela (Helen Behan, above), who’s conked out in the spare room
I don’t know if, since Broadchurch, any TV murders are even committed inland any more. (If you are worried about becoming a victim of a TV murder, I would move to Coton in the Elms, Derbyshire. It’s the most inland place in Britain, so you’ll be safe there.)
It opens at the end of a dinner party hosted by a married media couple, Becca (Elaine Cassidy) and Sam (Tom Meeten, a shoo-in for Overacting Actor Of The Year, although the rest of the cast do give him competition, even Cassidy, who is usually excellent).
They are drinking wine that is probably two notches up from Jacob’s Creek and arguing about Brexit, and they are so smug and awful you already want bad things to happen to them, which is why they are so implausible.
After they’ve snorted cocaine, the guests all leave, apart from their friend Angela (Helen Behan), who’s conked out in the spare room, but Sam’s still up when a couple of teenagers break in.
He confronts one and, as the unarmed boy is fleeing from a window, fatally stabs him in the back. This is witnessed by Becca, who does not say: ‘My God, who is this monster I married?’
This is also witnessed by Angela, who does not say: ‘My God, Becca, who is this monster you married?’
At no point does Sam express regret. Instead, they quickly come up with a plan that’ll make it look like self-defence. Becca will say she stabbed the boy as he was trying to stab Sam.
They drag the corpse to the miraculously self-cleaning rug (Heal’s? Do they do them?) – and call the police, who swallow their story.
Perhaps they might not have swallowed the story if forensics had been involved, or there’d been a post-mortem and inquest but, luckily for Sam and Becca, none of these procedures happens in this place by the sea.
If you are a murderer in a TV thriller, this is where you should live.
The ensuing twists and turns were so hilariously ludicrous – I kept laughing out loud –that not even lovely Sally Lindsay, as the police family liaison officer with her own suspicions, could make it feel real.
And her character turned out to be pointless anyway.
Meanwhile there were caves and drug rings and bland characters suddenly turning psychotic. My favourite part? Becca and Angela’s workplace. They both worked as journalists for the local paper, which had the offices of Vogue and a full-time reception and was populated by a workforce of expensively dressed women with designer handbags.
When I worked on a local newspaper, it was from a Portakabin that was boiling hot in summer and freezing cold in winter and leaked all year round. Also, neither of them was called on to report on the local man who had grown a very big marrow – there is always one – as neither was called on to do any work whatsoever.
And now I must leave it there as a I have a self-cleaning rug to track down. I am hoping to find one in blue.
Finally, finally, finally, a travelogue that is warm and funny and a delight. Trip Hazard: My Great British Adventure is presented by comedian Rosie Jones with a different guest every week.
Trip Hazard: My Great British Adventure is presented by comedian Rosie Jones (above, with Scarlett Moffatt) with a different guest every week
It is narrated by Olivia Colman, who says Great Britain is ‘fit’ and introduced this week’s guest, Scarlett Moffatt, who ‘has bravely agreed to join Rosie on a trip to the Lake District, which sits its wet bum in the north-west of England’.
The pair began with ‘an exhausting six-minute walk’, and then it was a Viking re-enactment and Wordsworth’s cottage – ‘I did him at school,’ said Scarlett. ‘Well, I didn’t do him’ – and making sausages the traditional way. (Rosie: ‘It’s a lovely tradition dating back to when people didn’t live long.’)
Scarlett and Rosie, who has ataxic cerebral palsy, which affects her speech and movement, had a wonderfully natural connection and were often beside themselves, particularly when the sausage man kept making unintentional double entendres.
I laughed even harder at this than I laughed at Intruder, can you believe. It’s the deconstruction we have been hoping and praying for ever since Joanna Lumley first popped up, followed by Sandi Toksvig and Julia Bradbury and all the others, and it even comes with ‘a pointless cameo’ from Tom Allen.
Watch. And enjoy.