ITV, Monday (be warned, spoilers)
Britain’s Tiger King: On The Trail With Ross Kemp
Prior to the finale of the fourth series of Unforgotten I had all sorts of theories as to how it might end, and who murdered Matthew Walsh all those years ago. At one point I even thought it was DI Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan.
What if he’d been a trainee at Hendon police college at the time? But then I remembered he is our beloved Sunny, our darling, precious, quietly thoughtful, kind Sunny, and it could not be.
Or could it? What I did not expect, though, was the ending we got. What I did not expect was, you know, that. What I did not expect was to cry.
As everyone gathered at the hospital to hear whether DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) would make it, DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar, both above) also worked on the case
If you’ve yet to catch up, please do not read on. Be gone. Take your leave. Here it comes: Cassie died of the catastrophic injuries incurred at the end of the penultimate episode when she was involved in a car crash.
It wasn’t one of the suspects who ran her off the road, which had also been one of my theories. (I’d better stop having theories.) It was a youth in a stolen Range Rover.
It was just one of those things. It was just a horrible accident, while she’d been distracted by her phone, waiting for her father to call back. The pair had fallen out. She wanted to say sorry.
She kept leaving messages saying sorry. She was desperate to hear from him. But probably best her father doesn’t know this. Her father is heartbroken enough as it is. So keep that quiet.
Now, look. Look how I want to protect him. This is what sets Unforgotten apart. They all seem like real people.
It has never been a crime series predominantly concerned with the mechanics. There are mechanics, certainly. Each season we’ve had a cold-case murder and a group of suspects whose complex characters will slowly unfurl.
It is brilliantly written and arced (by Chris Lang) in that way. But it never gets lost in the OCG going OCO in the MIT, if you get what I mean. It keeps matters of the human heart to the fore.
This is a series that not only ennobles the dead, by ‘unforgetting’ them, but also celebrates compassion, humility, doggedness, unflashiness… the qualities that summed up DCI Cassie Stuart.
She was ‘a belter’, her boyfriend said. She had bad hair, bad clothes and strange phrasing beset by random pauses – ‘getroundthere… toaskhim… whathewasdoingthatnight’ – but that’s what she was, a belter.
And she seemed so real that I forgot to say who she was played by. The terrific Nicola Walker, of course.
Naturally, as everyone gathered at the hospital to hear whether Cassie would make it, Sunny (Sanjeev Bhaskar!) also worked on the case. It’s what she would have wanted.
He cracked it by way of a ‘eureka’ moment – Colindale can do that to people – and it was immensely satisfying, as was the fact that the daughter of Liz’s put-upon cleaner Eugenia can have as many Primark dresses as she likes after that £10,000 cheque from her mum’s employer.
As for Fiona (Liz White), by my reckoning, if she’d been at the training academy 30 years earlier she’d have been around 12, but perhaps she was precocious?
Of all the suspects, I found Ram Sidhu (Phaldut Sharma) the most compelling, as did Sunny, I think. Sidhu was always claiming racism, and their scenes together were infused with a tension that was never articulated; a tension that forced Sunny to reflect on being an Asian cop.
Nothing was ever said. It was just there, in Bhaskar’s performance. But that’s not what this series will be remembered for.
It will be remembered for Cassie, and for her father (Peter Egan) weeping as he played and replayed her messages, and Sunny’s eulogy and his visit to her grave. She will be unforgotten, I would wish to say, but it’s just been announced that a fifth season has been commissioned so Sunny will be returning with a new partner.
To rephrase, then. She’ll be unforgotten… for a bit. Telly. It’s so cruel in that way.
Tell me: why, why, why is keeping a tiger in a cage legal in this country? Or a lion? I’ve awarded Britain’s Tiger Kings: On The Trail With Ross Kemp four stars because, having watched this, which was beyond distressing, no one could think it was morally right, and maybe we could get it outlawed?
Even Ross Kemp (above) was obviously appalled by such magnificent beasts being kept in back-garden enclosures right next to, in one instance, the M1
Even Ross Kemp was obviously appalled by such magnificent beasts being kept in back-garden enclosures right next to, in one instance, the M1. The owners, all men, gave all sorts of self-justifying reasons.
It’s conservation. I’d do anything for them. I love them. Although, of course, if you truly love animals you never want to see one caged.
Kemp, to his credit, didn’t buy any of it. ‘But is this where they belong?’ he kept asking. ‘What about one of those sanctuaries where they can be partly wild?’
The owners were driven by status, mostly. Ugh. Or as one explained, he’s drawn to tigers because ‘I’m a bit [sic] unique and different.’ Ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh. And why isn’t it outlawed? Why?