“Become a fixer, not just a fixture.” -- Anthony J. D'Angelo

TV The Fixer made a promising start on ITV1 tonight. Written and directed by Ben Richards who brought us the underrated Party Animals from last year and starring Andrew Buchan from that series as a con turned hitman working apparently for the state. Also featuring Peter Mullen as his suitably reptilian boss and Tamsin Outhwaite as a kind of honey-trap whose role has entirely been defined yet, this was what tv reviews tend to describe as slip, pacey and exciting but not I'd say brilliant quite yet.

Certainly the opening shots of Buchan murdering his aunt and uncle for past indiscretions was a good start and the opening near montage set up the premise pretty well. But Buchan's flat mate and colleague Calum, played by Shameless's Jody Latham, whilst usefully set up as the most irritating bastard you're likely to meet inevitably translated into the most irritating of characters, and not in the funny way Richards has presumably intended. You have to be careful with slappable screen presences that they don't detract from everything else and my heart sunk when I realised he was going to be in every other bloody scene.

It also just lacked a gapeable moment in which everything you thought you knew was wrong. They're playing the slow burn game, the one familiar to Spooks fans in which the first episode is pleasant enough to make the viewer want to watch the following week and then to throw in the turn, a punch in the face or in that case a head in a deep fat fryer. Perhaps that's what Calum's heading for. But I hope The Fixer doesn't become too generic, simply working through a different 'hit' each week in the same way that Primeval just keeps dealing with dinosaurs.

Unaccustomed as I am to watching ITV1 though it could be just that I'm not used to the rhythms of their commercial breaks. For me they diffused the drama, adverts for car and shampoos jarring against the rather subtle character moments thrown in with the action. It is interesting though that despite being written by Richards and produced independently by Kudos I think I would still be able to tell it was an ITV show. Like the old Hollywood studio system, dramas from each of the main channels seems to have a similar 'feel' -- or am I imagining it?

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