Liverpool Life BBC’s new heavily promoted drama 'Spooks' began tonight with a trip ‘up’ to Liverpool. Actually it didn’t. In fact I’m not entirely sure where they actually were. The street shown was no Liverpool City Centre I know – there are no taxis which look like Estate cars with a white TAXI logo stuck to the top. And didn’t some of those non-chain stores look a bit suburban? Looked more like Banger in Wales to be honest. And people there is no Rylands Park – in fact there isn’t a park anywhere near either of our Starbucks. Or St. Mary’s Hospital. Although I’m sure if there was, this sort of thing wouldn’t be happening there. Watching, I suddenly felt like all New Yorkers must when they see Vancouver or Sydney doubling for their fair city yet again. But it occurred to me that in drama (and comedy), no one seems to have ever got Liverpool correct. Not even ‘Brookside’.

The show as a piece of drama is nothing which hasn’t been seen before. It’s promising, but by no means must-see television. It needs to be cool without trying (‘CSI’). We need to know more about the characters and who they are within the group – what is Jenny Agutter’s job other than being the recognisably famous one? The reason most US imports work is because all of the characters are very clearly defined from the start (er etc) – this wasn’t much in evidence. It needs more sparky dialogue (‘Buffy’). And for this type of series, why does it also feel so much like ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘Attachments’?

I suppose I’ll be watching it again just in case there is an improvement. The series one piece of genius casting Lisa Faulkner gets a bigger role next week; I just hope there is more conflict amongst the leads – count how many other really good shows you know in which the characters get on all of the time …

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