Vexed, Series 2, BBC Two | TV reviews, news & interviews
Vexed, Series 2, BBC Two
Second outing for clueless cop comedy on the schedulers' naughty step
It’s not usually a good sign when the second series takes two years to materialise. Vexed , a comedy drama with corpses, took its first bow a couple of years ago. It offered Toby Stephens as DI Jack Armstrong, a detective from the old school who’s rather more mouth than trousers. There can’t have been much confidence in it back then: August is the cruellest month for fresh television content when the target audience is generally off on its hols.
The drama department may have eventually given it this second run around the paddock, but the schedulers continue to lack confidence in the finished product. This time round Vexed has been dumped in the grimmest of graveyard slots: on BBC Two in August during the Olympics, on the day they will have absolutely known – because planning meticulously ahead is what schedulers do – that Wiggo was going for gold and all eyes would be elsewhere. Hey, at least they didn’t schedule it opposite the Opening Ceremony.
Jack, being clueless in the clues department, didn’t help
Not much has changed in the two years since Vexed last approached the nation’s ribs armed with tickle sticks. Stephens plays against the braggardly type he embodied as a younger actor, a beta male who sees himself as alpha unless there are females in the room. The female in series one was his partner in crime-solving Lucy Punch. However she seems to have been busy filing her nails when the call came to do another series and now Jack has a new sidekick. He was hoping for a bloke and even bet on it.
Miranda Raison’s George is of course upright and jolly good at her job. Jack still isn’t, being quite bafflingly dim. Between them they had to track down the murderer of a corpse found in the boot of a showroom sports car. Various culprits paraded before the judges but we needn’t treat ourselves to a plot summary here. They were all played by the type of actors off whom you vaguely suspect you once bought a used car. After a long old hour one of them was correctly identified as a murderer by George. Jack, being clueless in the clues department, didn’t help.
There are five more episodes of this, which will see the nation through to the return of the real dramas the BBC are heavily trailing to everyone watching the actual entertainment over on BBC One. In the mean time, will the target audience of Vexed please make themselves known to the authorities? There’s a meeting for you in the phone box outside TV Centre same time next week. To think the BBC cancelled Zen and recommissioned this.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
Engaging series about portraiture in action captures subjects at a crossroads
Nick Read's long-stretch documentary on remote Russian prison life
Simon Schama campaigns and entertains, but does he explain?
ITV's historical drama is long on intrigue but short on action
Medical drama could have felt tiredly formulaic, but there's freshness in the well-worn tropes
Opening episode of Lord Sugar's business search is a corker
Batman origin story makes a promising start
A history of the Soviet space programme, and the story of one of its more unlikely participants
Maybe the post-Brody 'Homeland' might succeed after all
More tasty treats from the nicest contestants on television (this review contains spoilers)
A cult classic from the golden age of British TV drama
The universe, human life, everything: Brian Cox begins his biggest project yet