Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Body Farm (BBC)

Here's a quick review of last night's The Body Farm I wrote for Orange.

Waking the Dead had enjoyed a pretty good innings when the BBC laid it to rest earlier this year. However, it didn't take long for Auntie to exhume its mouldering remains for this spin-off series. So, did it leave a good-looking corpse? 
The Body Farm sees Tara Fitzgerald reprise her role as forensic scientist Dr Eve Lockhart, who runs a remote research facility where she studies the way corpses decompose.

However, the real world came a-knocking again in the form of grisly copper DI Hale (Keith Allen), who'd made a gruesome and puzzling discovery in a tower block – something only the body farm's boffins could decipher.

 After a bit of poking about in the gore and a couple of false starts, the plot veered off into a Skins-lite tale of teen misbehaviour and jealousy.

Unfortunately, it eventually hung on the idea that a teenager would decide that the most effective way of disposing of two bodies in an abandoned building would be to use a bomb so carefully measured that it atomised its victims to a thin film of goo on the walls without damaging the building.

Another problem was the cast-iron po-faced lack of humour. I know the subject matter meant it was never going to be chuckles-a-plenty, but this sort of thing is generally seasoned with at least a dash of black humour to aid its digestion.

Tara Fitzgerald and Keith Allen both do “intense” very well, but here it was almost as if they cancelled each other out and flatlined the whole show. Meanwhile, the rest of the forensic team is sketchily drawn out at best: they just sound and act like TV characters we've seen a dozen times.

Like a lot of police dramas I've seen recently, the plot and characters seemed little more than pieces of a puzzle. And, in the end, The Body Farm had about as much emotional impact as a crossword.

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