by Kathleen Costa
AcornTV is one of my favorite streaming options with a vast library of sitcoms, dramas, comedies, movies, and documentaries to satiate any Anglophile’s passion. For a reasonable monthly ($5.99) or special annual membership ($59.99), you get access to new, reoccurring, and vintage programming from all corners of the UK. From Ireland’s quirky comedy Finding Joy to Scotland’s highland DC Hamish MacBeth, from Canada’s distant past with Murdoch Mysteries to Wales’ contemporary drama Hidden, from the Australia’s outback Mystery Road to New Zealand’s The Sound, from the British Cotswolds with Queens of Mystery to post war London’s Jericho of Scotland Yard. No matter the dialect or brogue, no matter the countryside or inner city, no matter the laughter or the nail-biting cringes, the entertainment is the same…engaging!
The Walls of Jericho…Murder, Pride, and a Haunting Past
It’s 1958 London, and the tabloids are all over the news—Inspector Michael Jericho has received the Queen’s Award for Bravery, and with his impeccable team at Scotland Yard, “London can sleep safe at night.” However, the realty is darker, more intense, more…murderous than the headlines: Jericho: The Man of Action.
London is waking, but Jericho is just returning home from his night at The Night Owl, a local jazz club. But, he’s interrupted when his partner drives up and ”some bloke’s been found shot dead.” Another day in London… Roy Marlowe, a young black man, was shot, and wrapped in the arms of his distraught father, Jericho gets his first clue, “he said they would get him…one night.” An arrest reveals fascists, racists, and London’s very dark side, but it seems open and shut for this celebrated detective. So when he’s pulled off this “another feather in his cap” case, he’s furious. Word has comes in from the top that Sir Nicholas Wellesley has been kidnapped and a ransom demanded. Jericho’s reputations has made him the first to be in charge, but he’s sent to babysit and to ensure the ransom is paid. However, his attempt to play hero goes terribly wrong, and the Golden Boy of Scotland Yard now has an image problem. Like a detective with a nagging cold case, he refuses defeat. Jericho uncovers the odd twists to bring about justice, but in its wake, he leaves a broken family, a few more dead bodies, and a reputation slightly singed.
Jericho of Scotland Yard earns 5/5 Tabloid Headlines…Engaging Drama!
Michael Jericho is the epitome of a 1950s detective puffing a cigarette in his suit, overcoat, and fedora hat. With a Philip Marlowe edge, but damaged and flawed, he is pit against the underbelly of cold-war London with high profiled investigations from a wealthy entitled family to a star British athlete, from an eminent scientist to revisiting a 1930s ripper, from a lovely working girl neighbor desirous of Jericho’s attentions to coppers bent on destroying him. Each case is intense, complex, and often weaves in contemporary issues like racism, sexual orientation, and corruption along with a city full of damaged and flawed. His team is comprised of veteran Detective Sergeant Clive Harvey, whose wife is sympathetic to the late nights until she needs to rein him in, and newly assigned Detective Constable John Caldicott, whose fiancée is planning their wedding in between broken dinners and missed family gatherings. But, Jericho is a target, one he recognizes, one with a ID like his. And with only four episodes, some closure is achieved, others you can only hope, but knowing Jericho, the bad guys will be served justice in some form.
Aired in 2005, the drama only had four telemovies running ninety minutes. The dramas were well-developed with issues that make it more contemporary than vintage and a past with Jericho’s father reveals shocking details. The setting and costumes all illustrate the era well, and the manners and mores were on full display with men running rough shot and women as wives, working girls, and the one who gets the tea. The main characters were brilliantly cast with veteran actors like Robert Lindsey in the title role (intense, but not devoid of a sense of humor), David Troughton as his second (supportive partner for Jericho and loving husband), Ciarán McMenamin as the new detective (eager, but yet unable to balance career and home life), and Nichols Jones as the Assistant Commissioner Graham Cherry (annoying, demanding, and lacking). The guest star list is extensive with notables like Francesca Annis (Home Fires), Laurence Fox (Lewis), Brendon Coyle (Downton Abbey), Geraldine Somerville (Harry Potter), and Clare Bloom rounds out a very entertaining drama. Although again, it didn’t survive…I don’t know why. It was good!
For those who like a lightly dark entertainment…try these!
Mount Pleasant, a “warm-hearted comedy-drama about the day-to-day indignities and triumphs of an ordinary couple, Sally Lindsay (Scott & Bailey) and Daniel Ryan (Home Fires), living in a tight-knit community in Manchester.”
Goodnight, Sweetheart, a “cult favorite sitcom” with “an ordinary bloke, Gary Sparrow (Nicholas Lyndhurst), married to an ambitious woman and working as a TV repairman” in 1990s. His “whole world changes when he stumbles upon a portal to WWII-era London and begins a dual life as an accidental time traveller.”
Slings & Arrows, a critically acclaimed Canadian program, with Paul Gross, “this dark comic series follows the fortunes of a dysfunctional Shakespearean theatre troop, exposing the high drama, scorching battles, and electrifying thrills that happen behind the scenes.”
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