By the oddest bit of luck, “I do say old chap,” I stumbled into a delightful series of reruns, and for me, totally worth it. The series is Netflix, or Amazon Prime, I’m not sure which one, and I can’t be “half-arsed” to look. The title is “New Tricks,” and it’s British — BBC — from the double-aughts.
The series was a favorite, in its era, but what I like best?
It’s the London I remember.
It’s the places I’ve been, sort of. I keep trying to locate, across several seasons, there’s one recurring image when they wrap a case up while “Having a pint at their local” — I keep thinking I know where it is. Then, too, the Tower Bridge features prominently in any number of the show’s images, and I enjoy revisiting that image, if only in my mind.
The set-up is a collection of old, semi-retired cops, working for a cold-case squad. What’s even better, unlike some of the more modern variants of the theme of police procedural? This one is a less graphic. Murder and mayhem in jolly old England.
The BBC/TV equivalent of cozy mystery series?
Then, too, the four primary characters in the first half-dozen seasons, the primary character, the actors are mostly accomplished, pedigreed London stage actors. Bonus, other than the driving characters, there’s a certain level of realism.
Three old guys. No fisticuffs, no bracing the tosser, and a certain amount of British slang makes it even more enjoyable. I’m guessing BBC prime time was less concerned with offensive situations and language, although, by my American standards, there’s an appalling lack of violence, like, no running gun battles, and no extended choreography fight-sequences. No spurting blood, and only an occasional CSI-like body part, usually from an evidence locker, cold storage.
In several episodes, there is a physical display, and all it took, in those shows, realistic, you know? One punch and down goes the old guy. Endearing, too, the old guys are not without typical old guy quirks.
None of the blood and gore typical in the current crop of procedural shows, and none of the violence. Witty banter, and the heavy accents from different striations of English as heard in England.
In one episode, there was a character with a thick Scottish accent. I had to pause and rewind to understand some of what he said. Points for realism.
Other times, there’s a one character with East End, Cockney roots, and his slang, terms, usage, all suggests a cleverly written character, and the actor himself pulls it off — well enough to satisfy my uneducated American ear.
For entertainment, and something of a lighter fare, I’d like to think more evolved, but I doubt that. Watching, pausing, and listening, then using the show’s old Wiki page to see who is what, nice to see a variety of acclaimed stage actors getting a turn under the TV lights.
It’s a decade old, and by now, and some of the references are also as dated, but that doesn’t stop it from being a sample of pure, unadulterated fun. A pleasure.
- “Right, guv’ner.”
(Other literary views of London.)
- “I’m knackered.”
- “ave you got a minute?”
- “Oi. Oi-oi!”
“They’re puttin’ two an’ two together and gettin’ trouble.”
I can’t recall all the little stock lines, but the accents alone, and the way the language is used, and as discursive diversion from our current events, sure, what a great set of reruns.
- “Mad as a box of frogs.”
- “Civic duty is alive and well, and cost 50% more after 6 PM.”
- “The past is foreign country, not a tourist destination.”
- “fairly put the wind up your duff.”