Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Surgery soap Doctors goes a bit Waking the Dead; solves a murder in no time; all turns out nice

With a theme tune that always sounded a bit like a jaunty b-side from a guitar-laden indie band from the mid-nineties - and one that used to make tv-ooh scream as it signalled the end of tv-ooh's lunch break at work - soapy surgery Doctors has always been a programme I thought I knew - and therefore never really watched.

But seeing it today I discovered it wasn't just about some old lady or other who comes into the Doctors doctors surgery and who has a story that isn't all it appears to be, and set to a background of the Doctors and nurses playing, well, doctors and nurses with each other.

Episode The Sharpest Cut - number 95 of a staggering 231, numbers fans! - didn't have a doddery old lady in sight.

Instead, some young dude calling himself Jack Hollins - son of main characters Rob and Karen - is on some sort of "work experience" organised by his policeman dad.

Jack's shadowing a police forensic scientist, Harrison, and Jack gets involved in the investigation into a fatal domestic stabbing of a woman.

The plot zips along, with visits to the crime scene, a few potential suspects to put everyone off the scent - including official Sinister Acting by the first wife of the victim's husband - but, best of all, young work experience Jack helps to solve the mystery.

The result is a little self-contained afternoon play and it's almost beautifully simple - a murder mystery done and dusted in 28 minutes flat, first with a fake confession and then your actual real confession, and with actors all grateful for the work.

And without wanting to mention either version of The Killing on tv-ooh again, in The Killing they spent weeks trying to figure this sort of stuff out.

Clearly, the answer is to get a bright work experience kid involved - he'll tell you whodunnit in no time.

The next episode of Doctors is called Murder Sleep so perhaps homicide is a new direction for this daytime soap stalwart, or perhaps it's a debate into the legalities of euthanasia maybe, set against a sub-plot of a faulty appointments booking system.

Although reading the synopsis - Freya gives a new mum some advice, Lauren's flirtation with Daniel takes a sinister turn - it's anyone's guess.


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