CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Unforgotten is back to unwrap a TV treat choc full of surprises
For Love or Money
What wouldn’t I give for a Mars Bar — a proper one, heavy as lead and full of toffee hard enough to break a tooth, smothered in chocolate like a winter overcoat and wrapped in an envelope of greaseproof paper.
The recipe changed in the late 1970s, and a Mars has never been the same since. Maybe there’s a dusty box of them in the storeroom of a disused nuclear bunker somewhere . . . the Holy Grail of original chocolate.
I’d even settle for a Marathon, the peanutty bar that was rebranded as Snickers in 1990. That must qualify as the most pointless name change in the history of confectionery: a treat that sounded healthy and long-lasting suddenly seemed weak and giggly.
Nicola Walker is back as reluctant DCI Cassie Stuart, who would rather be washing the dishes for her boyfriend but just can’t quit her job. Sanjeev Bhaskar is her devoted deputy, a man of infinite competence and infinitesimal ego, the priceless personal assistant to her managing director
A Marathon was the final snack, more than three decades ago, of the unfortunate Millwall fan whose headless corpse turned up in a freezer as Unforgotten (ITV) returned. The paper wrapper was found stuffed in the back pocket of his jeans. At least he wasn’t hungry when he died.
Like a Marathon, Unforgotten packs more tasty goodness into a small space than any of its rivals. As this polished crime serial returned for a fourth season, it followed an established pattern: a long-hidden body is discovered and the lives of four suspects, who parted ways decades ago, are thrown into turmoil.
Nicola Walker is back as reluctant DCI Cassie Stuart, who would rather be washing the dishes for her boyfriend but just can’t quit her job. Sanjeev Bhaskar is her devoted deputy, a man of infinite competence and infinitesimal ego, the priceless personal assistant to her managing director.
Previous series have been stuffed with big names — the likes of Sir Tom Courtenay and Trevor Eve. This year’s cast is lighter, though it does feature Sheila Hancock as a bedridden, malevolent old snob, indiscriminately vile to her carers and her daughter (Susan Lynch).
This time, the four suspects are former Hendon police trainees. Not only did we meet them all in the first episode, but we followed the investigation to discover the victim’s identity, watched Cassie’s failed attempt to get a pension pay-out, and saw her struggle to cope with the worsening dementia of her cantankerous dad (Peter Egan).
It’s a recurring theme of the show that elderly parents (this time, Hancock and Egan) make their children’s lives a misery. In previous years, Sir Tom, Gemma Jones and Wendy Craig have all played characters affected b,y senility too. I’m probably slow on the uptake, but the title Unforgotten might have an extra layer of meaning.
Partners rather than parents are the source of misery investigated by Kym Marsh and Ashley-John Baptiste in the daytime crime report For Love Or Money (BBC1). The duo both started their TV careers in pop acts on reality shows — Kym with Hear’Say on Pop Idols, Ashley on the X Factor as part of the short-lived boyband Risk.
Partners rather than parents are the source of misery investigated by Kym Marsh and Ashley-John Baptiste in the daytime crime report For Love Or Money (BBC1)
Both have become polished presenters, and they led us briskly through the story of Tina, a mum and widow from Worcester, who ignored all the alarm bells as she fell for a smooth conman on a dating website.
Romance scams, where a lonely victim is fleeced by a fake lover, are frighteningly common. A man from the National Crime Agency warned that frauds totalling £69 million were reported to police in 2019 — likely to be a mere 10 per cent of the real amount.
Desperate to believe in her imaginary boyfriend, Tina parted with more than £80,000 over three years. ‘I didn’t tell my family,’ she admitted. ‘I knew my sons would be dead against.’ There’s the first alarm bell, right there.