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DVD Review

DVD cover

London Kills
Series 1


Starring: Hugo Speer, Sharon Small, Bailey Patrick, Tori Allen-Martin and Jennie Jacques
Distributor: Acorn Media International
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 01 July 2019

If you’re going to bring a show to market in such a strong field as police procedural, you had better have something unique to make it stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, London Kills (2019. 5 eps x 45 mins approx.), written and created by Paul Marquess, fails to compete with the best that’s out there. That's not to say that it is an inherently bad show, it's just that there is little here that could honestly be called original.

The series is filmed in a semi-documentary style. This involves what looks like a lot of handheld camera work, the picture alternates between standard shots and a kind of wobbly shot where the picture is in constant movement. The show also keeps the semi improvisation which Marquess had used in his previous show, Suspects (5 seasons 2014 -). It’s a testament to the actors’ skill that you can’t tell which bits have been scripted and which improvised.

Depending on your tastes this is going to make the show either a little edgy, or just slightly annoying. Personally, it made me feel like I had motion sickness.

The police team is dysfunctional. They are led by the troubled D.I. David Bradford (Hugo Speer) who has returned to work even though his wife is missing. His immediate subordinate, D. S. Vivienne Cole (Sharon Small) has a stare that could shatter ice. The team is rounded out with S. D. Rob Brady (Bailey Patrick) and new recruit, Billie Fitzgerald (Tori Allen-Martin), who are both, oddly, normal.

Although there is a central thread to the show, the disappearance of Bradford’s wife, it mostly consists of discrete investigations to various crimes.

The DVD does come with a number of extras. You get From Page to Screen (44 min, 47 sec) a quite substantial look at the show with loads of behind the scene footage. The World of London Kills (36 min, 54 sec) with the cast and crew discussing what its like to work on the show. Live in London (24 min, 06 sec) discuses why London had been chosen as a backdrop and how that informed the show, once again with lots of input from the cast and crew and loads of behind the scenes footage.

Making Up is Hard to Do (8 min, 37 sec) looks at the make-up and hair design for the show. Everyone Likes a Puzzle (4 min, 37 sec) has the cast talking about the writing for the show. There are also two picture galleries, one for Behind the Scenes and one for Production Stills. Whatever you might think of the show, the presentation and oodles of extras makes this a must have DVD for fans.

This is going to be a very marmite show. With the unsteady cam and the intensity of the characters I can see that some people might find this compelling drama. For myself, the cam did not work and the dynamic of the team was a little wearing. On the other hand, you cannot argue with the number and quality of the extras.


Charles Packer

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