Vexed Review: Worrying…
VEXED: Sunday 15th August, BBC2, 9pm ALERT ME
Conventional wisdom says that making a good TV comedy about a couple of detectives hunting a serial killer is a very difficult thing to do. Vexed not only proves that theory utterly correct, but is so poor that it will probably be several decades before some other brave writers take on the challenge. Like a neglectful petroleum giant, this programme has dumped all over a promising genre.
Despite this, you have to feel a bit sorry for Toby Stephens and Lucy Punch as they struggle under the weight of a sub-standard script totally lacking in style and imagination. Almost immediately it becomes impossible to forget that you are watching actors saying lines in a TV studio, rather than following a pair of police officers on a man-hunt.
The two shallow characters the unfortunate actors in question are trying to play are Jack Armstrong and Kate Bishop, a pair of detectives who pick out furniture patterns at crime scenes and crack jokes about ginger pussycats (we are talking some seriously lowbrow humour here..) In this first episode, the outrageously unsensitive and rather workshy duo are on the trail of a serial killer who is knocking off lonely, depressed Bridget Jones-type individuals.
Unfortunately the whole thing is a clunky and unsubtle mess with absolutely no originality or wit. At one stage I was wondering how Vexed had slipped through the net to receive a prime-time Sunday night slot (arguably the most prestigious of the week) on a flagship BBC channel. Over the last few weeks, viewers have been asking why the corporation only commisioned three episodes of Sherlock. When you watch Vexed (which has been given a similar run) the answer becomes obvious. It could have been s**t.