Waking the Dead

UKTV – Sundays from 26 June, 8.30pm

The ninth series of this award-winning drama sees Detective Superintendent Boyd and his cold case team tackle their most challenging and personal cases to date.

In this series, the cold case team get a new colleague to work with, foisted upon them by the top brass of the Metropolitan Police. Sarah Cavendish is a brilliant ex-counter-terrorism officer who matches Boyd in rank. He knows she must have fallen from grace to end up with the cold case squad – but how? Sarah challenges Boyd’s recklessness in the line of duty – something, she warns, he will pay for one day…

Elsewhere Boyd investigates the mysterious disappearance of a millionaire banker shortly after the tragic death of his daughter. Boyd finds himself dealing with a killer with a staggeringly twisted pathology.

And the team unearth the grimmest find of their careers, but nothing prepares Boyd for a contest with an adversary one chess move ahead of him at every turn… Boyd faces the greatest test of his career – will he prevail?

Starring: Trevor Eve (Bouquet of Barbed Wire; Most Sincerely – Hughie Green), Sue Johnston (The Royle Family; Brassed Off; Jam & Jerusalem), Tara FitzGerald (Jane Eyre; The Virgin Queen), Eva Birthistle (Five Daughters; The State Within).

ARTS CHANNEL – Saturday 6 February, 8.30pm

A candidate for Congress has to question himself when he sees the love of his life return from the dead. It is 1972. Young Coast Guard officer Fielding Pierce is passionately drawn to Sarah Williams, an idealistic activist. She becomes his great love, and he becomes hers: “We will never be apart,” Sarah writes him, in a letter. But, in 1974, fate brutally intervenes when Sarah is murdered in a car-bombing. By 1982, Pierce, now a successful county D.A in Chicago, lives well with his socialite girlfriend, Juliet Beck. Juliet’s uncle, Isaac Green, is Fielding’s mentor. The governor hand-picks Fielding to run for a Congressional seat. Fielding will soon have everything he’s strived for… except his lost love. Suddenly, he becomes consumed by memories, and then visions, of Sarah, his life begins to unravel. Is Fielding losing his sanity, or is Sarah still alive? As the past floods into the present, Fielding struggles to focus on what is, and what was most important to him.

What happens when youth cultures grow old? That was the interesting context of a rather gruesome episode of “Waking the Dead”, the crime series which specialises in digging out old murder cases (but not necessarily cold ones).

Police crime series seem to always try to incorporate contemporary concerns subtly and/or brutally into their story lines and this episode had a massive overload of hot buttons: far right British racist skinheads turn politicians, Muslim intolerance and its threats, wife abuse, Aids (and how you get it), Nigerian homophobia, snuff movies, cross-cultural love and its pitfalls. It all made watching it rather heavy going and resulted in some inelegant, anachronistic and convoluted story lines.

But the subcultural references were enjoyable in a perverse kind of way: the superannuated skinheads looked like a bunch of gay men who refuse to grow a combover, and their SM antics wouldn’t look out of place in the more adventurous underground nightspots.

And I did marvel at how we should believe that a 17 year old video recording which was hidden in a not too sheltered space all that time could produce such clear vivid pictures. Analogue tape never looked or could be made to look that good, not even my Betamax.

I wasn’t sure whether you can actually easily get HIV from a tattooing instrument where the tattooist mixed the ink with his own blood. I thought HIV was a rather fragile thing that doesn’t survive well outside its warm blood medium. But perhaps an epidemiologist can work that one out for me?

UKTV – Monday 21 July, 8.30pm

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN UNSOLVED CRIME….The award winning and critically-acclaimed crime drama returns for another series of dark, gripping murder mystery investigations. In the six stories, DSI Boyd and his Cold Case Squad enter the visceral worlds of international terrorism, private military contractors, the penal system and sex offenders, Navajo rituals, people trafficking and neo Nazi politics to close more previously unsolved cases. Boyd’s son, missing for seven years, also makes a surprise reappearance.
Stars: Trevor Eve (Possession and The Politician’s Wife), Sue Johnston (The Royle Family and Brassed Off), Tara Fitzgerald (Jane Eyre and The Virgin Queen).

UKTV – Mondays from 9 June, 8.30pm

This stylish, contemporary thriller series centres on The Cold Case Team – a crack squad of police investigators who reopen unsolved murder cases. They are at the cutting edge of modern police investigation using new technology re-examine evidence that hopefully leads to the killer. Series Six sees Boyd and his team delve deep into the culture and traditions of Irish Travellers to investigate the mysterious death of a young boy drowned in a concrete pit; uncover a gruesome secret buried in the City of London around the time of Black Wednesday; and re-visit three murders once thought to be the work of a notorious serial killer, but now are under suspicion. With pressure from all sides, not least MI6, can the team shed new light on past cases to ensure that justice is done in the present?
Starring: Trevor Eve (Possession and The Politician’s Wife) and Sue Johnston (The Royle Family and Brassed Off).

Brand New Series: Waking the Dead – Series 5

UKTV – Monday’s from 28 May at 8:30PM

After the shocking death of Sergeant Mel Silver at the end of the fourth series the team is left to cope with the aftermath. Forensic scientist Frankie Wharton is so distraught she decides to leave the force indefinitely. Boyd ends up on suspension and the team is assigned a new female sergeant, Stella Goodman. As they are investigating a police corruption conspiracy, the remaining officers are suspicious of their new recruit. Dr Felix Gibson is the team’s new forensic scientist and pathologist, cool and capable she is not the least bit ruffled by Boyd’s demands and antics. Is she a mole and will the new team manage to overcome their differences to crack the next set of cold cases to come their way?

Waking The Dead is a stylish, contemporary thriller series. The Cold Case team is a crack squad of police investigators who reopen unsolved murder cases, using new technology to re-examine evidence that hopefully will lead to the killer.

Starring: Trevor Eve (Possession and The Politician’s Wife), Sue Johnston (The Royle Family and Brassed Off), Wil Johnson (Clocking Off and Cracker), Felicite du Jeu (Enduring Love and Poirot), Esther Hall (Sons and Lovers and Spooks)


Waking The Dead is a stylish, contemporary thriller series. The Cold Case team are a crack squad of police investigators who re-open unsolved murder cases, using new technology to re-examine evidence that will hopefully lead to the killer. Series five begins with the team struggling to cope in the aftermath of the shocking death of Sergeant Mel Silver at the end of the series four.

I am sooooo glad to see this show back. It is one of the best dramas on TV IMO, but it doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention. Maybe I’m the only one who likes it? Maybe the lead characters are too old and don’t have the attraction of sex appealfor most viewers?

But I find it one of the most gripping and satisfying dramas on TV. This is mainly because of the 2 leads played by Trevor Eve (DI Peter Boyd) and Sue Johnston (psychologist Dr. Grace Foley) who are very experienced actors. The tension between the 2 characters is kind of gender stereotypical with Boyd being a bit rough and awkward in dealing with his emotions, insensitive to others and highly focused on solving the mystery. In contrast Dr Grace sees through his denials of emotions & challenges him when he misses important psychological insights or is insensitive to others.

Also the drama is gripping, even if I found at least one development predictable in this week’s eps (Towers of Silence). This 2 parter also dealt with some topical issues – transnational drug companies and corruption, baggage handlers being able to go thru costums at Heathrow without being checked (saw a doco on this, I think maybe when I was in England last year), and potential terrorism.

The style often includes pacey camera work, with cross cuts between scenes and story threads and montages of various aspects of these storylines. It also has darkly lit scenes giving it a bit of an edgey noirish look. This and the topical mystery stories provide a suitable vehicle for the performance of the 2 leads – and it is these 2 leads that makes the prog compelling viewing for me, not because they’re sexy, but because they are 2 actors who provide depth of characterisation while enhancing the progs dramatic tensions.