WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE?: BAFTA, London
WHEN?: 10/9, 1st episode airs 13/9/18
‘He’s either a spook, from Special Branch or the work experience,’ observes Joanna Scanlan’s Detective Inspector Viv Deering of the young man in a suit impeding her progress in the investigation which dominates the 1st episode in this 3rd series of No Offence. ‘I’ve got more 5 O’Clock shadow than he has.’
- Read on for reasons including why Scanlan thinks her character is ‘Paul Abbott in a dress’
The series opener feels timely because it concentrates on a Manchester mayoral race being targeted by a Far Right group and begins at the hustings where rival candidates come under the scrutiny of an unexpected protester, a black woman.
We’ve been warned not to reveal any spoilers from this episode but it’s fair to say it contains the sirens of an ambulance rushing to an A&E being dramatically turned off in a way that we hadn’t seen used before.
We’re at a BAFTA Q&A to launch series 3 (which begins on Channel 4 at 9pm tomorrow, Thursday 13 September) with show creator Paul Abbott and its no-nonsense star, Scanlan, who plays DI Deering mentioned in our opening paragraph.
Scanlan says of her role: ‘Of course I couldn’t do that job. Everybody would like to think that they could right wrongs and so it’s lovely to have the opportunity to play that. It’s not about catching the right killer but about doing the right thing. There are lots of good reasons why we don’t always do that.’
Co-star Will Mellor is very complimentary about fellow cast member Paul Ritter (pictured in the trailer above) who features as a police scientist. ‘He plays him like a mad genius. It’s incredible.’
He says his mum is a fan of the show: ‘The pace means it doesn’t wait for anyone. My mum says she has to watch it twice sometimes to get the most out of it.’
Creator Abbott (pictured, perhaps appropriately, far right) says the racism that powers the story is ‘never going to go away’.
Director Catherine Morshead (2nd from right) describes Abbot’s style as ‘quick, quick, quick, quick’. ‘It’s just the combination of managing the drama and the story but at the same time being so funny. That’s 1 thing he does so brilliantly.’
Scanlan says she grew up appreciating Play For Todays which were often Northern, combining tragedy and honesty and it’s a quality she finds in No Offence.
She refers to his scripts as ‘playing Paul Abbott in a dress’ and draws comparisons with author Tennessee Williams who famously spoke his frustrations through the mouths of female characters.
Scanlan says of the new series: ‘Life is really tough. You lose people, they die and you’re still alive. What are you going to do with that?’
We were big fans of the 1st 2 seasons and the season 3 opener (the first of 6) doesn’t disappoint. It’s as jet black funny as you were probably hoping for, even if it does cause the heart to break just a little.