British mysteries

Amid melancholy, a character actor soars

Defying the wise counsel of his career advisors, Adrian Scarborough became an actor – and a busy one.
He had subservient roles – the valet in “Blunt Talk,” butler in “Upstairs Downstairs,” chauffeur in “Don Juan in Soho.” He had bigger ones – Villanelle’s handler in “Killing Eve,” the iffy doctor in “Sanditon.” He played more doctors, plus vicars, a goblin, a bunny, a mole and Winston Churchill.
It’s been an enviable career, sort of. “You have these great character roles,”said Scarborough, 55, “but only for two or three days …. You parachute in, do a few scenes and don’t really get to meet people.”
Then came “The Chelsea Detective” (shown here). It’s a chance to dig into a person and place he finds fascinating. Read more…

Solitary, solemn Brits keep solving mysteries

As our TV sets fill up with British crime-solvers, some traditions persist.
At home, these people are solemn and solitary. That has continued – with occasional exceptions – from Sherlock Holmes to Hercule Poirot, Inspector Morse and more.
And it’s true of Max Arnold in “The Chelsea Detective” series (shown here), on the Acorn streaming service. “I think he’s a born-again melancholic,” Adrian Scarborough, who plays him, told the Television Critics Association. “Putting him … in the middle of the Thames, on his little houseboat, was very deliberate.”
That’s part of an overload of crime tales from England and its former colonies: Read more…

The British master old-cop/young-cop tales

American TV may savor the good-cop/bad-cop concept.
But in England – where crime shows flourish – there’s old-cop/young cop. Just ask Neil Dudgeon (shown here), whose “Midsomer Murders” is starting a four-movie stretch on the Acorn streaming service.
“I spent a lot of times as a younger actor, (paired with) a senior actor,” Dudgeon told the Television Critics Association. “And the senior actor would do all the thinking and be rather brilliant at solving a crime. And then he would say to me: ‘Oh, look, he’s run off into the river. Chase him!’” Read more…