There’s only a few options available to me today, but luckily they’re all more than decent.
First there’s Juliet Bravo on BBC1. JB is an interesting series. Its countryside setting and early Saturday evening timeslot has tended to see it retrospectively labelled as a cosy type of show (similar to the later Heartbeat) but that’s not really the case at all. And although it was created by Ian Kennedy Martin, the show couldn’t be further removed from the frenetic swagger of The Sweeney.
Instead, JB tended to tell bleak and unsettling character stories which are far removed from what we think of today as typical Saturday evening programming. Misunderstandings by Valerie George (her sole script for the series) is an excellent example of this, featuring strong guest performances (especially from Valerie Georgeson).
Repeats will have to suffice for the rest of today’s viewing. They’re both on C4 – first Upstairs Downstairs and then The Avengers. If you’re feeling a little down after Juliet Bravo, then I Dies From Love isn’t going to cheer you up. But it’s a powerful script by Terence Brady and Charlotte Bingham, featuring a heartbreaking performance from Evin Crowley as the doomed scullery maid Emily.
Happily, we’ll be rounding off the evening on a lighter note. The Hidden Tiger is this week’s Avengers repeat. I find that the colour Diana Rigg series can get a little monotonous if watched too quickly, but dipping in and out you’ll almost always find something of interest. Today, Ronnie Barker and Gabrielle Drake are amongst the guest artists, so that bodes well.