sat 14/12/2019

Mad Dogs, Sky 1 | reviews, news & interviews

Mad Dogs, Sky 1

Mad Dogs, Sky 1

A new drama is cast up to the hilt but the script could have used a polish

'Mad Dogs': Can these gentlemen from the BBC put Sky 1's drama department on the map?

Yes, the Sky 1 drama department is trying to elbow some room on the national sofa and their policy with Mad Dogs is to cast it to the very hilt. Thus John Simm, Philip Glenister, Max Beesley and Marc Warren, playing four old lags who’ve sort of lost touch over the years, board a plane for Spain, summoned for a nostalgic bunfight by another compadre. Like all gentlemen of a certain age let off the leash to play, they were full of cock-of-the-walk swagger as they marched out of the airport in shades, wielding the videocams they’d been given for the trip. However, you knew it was all going up the Swanee. The opening sequence flashed forward to an underground bunker in which the quartet, panicked faces smeared in blood, left a last message on a camcorder for their loved ones. Before the show had even kicked off, it had all kicked off.

The task of the first episode was to explain quite how they managed to get themselves into said pickle. It turned out their mucker (Ben Chaplin) was swimming in money, acquired by means which were not immediately apparent. This being the Costa (not sure which one), you kind of suspected the worst, but not the famous four, who lapped up the luxury of his show-home villa with its well-appointed facilities. “If you die before us”, said one of them out of the blue, “will you give us your villa?” With such a weighty Shakespearean portent clanking in the script like a funeral bell, you knew Chaplin wouldn’t be seeing out the episode .

When they found the corpse of a goat floating bloodily in the pool, the visitors may very well have smelt a rat, but no, they buried the body and went out on the lash. If I must think of something nice to say about this gradual accumulation of implausibilities, I'll pick on the well-observed awkwardness between the old chums, who didn’t quite know how to be around each other as they crumbled into middle age. But the script didn't have much time for the filigree nuances of male group dynamics. They realised something fishy was up when Chaplin took them out on a cruise in a gin palace stolen, he revealed, from the gentleman who dropped off the goat. Back home, their host then spent the evening abusing his chums for their various failings in life – divorce (Simm), professional deficiency (Glenister), alcoholism plus wife dead from suicide (Beesley) and something else for Warren, I forget what. All of a sudden they were rather keen to scarper, but their mobile phones were locked in a safe for 24 hours as part of a bet and then a dwarf walked in wearing a Tony Blair mask and shot their host through the head. (Do keep up.)

While no one will miss Chaplin’s exceptionally creepy and wholly unreal character in episodes two, three and four, it remains to be seen whether there’s anything else to come back for. It looks like it'll all get a bit Grand Guignol. But in the mean time Simm and Glenister are going very much against precedent, Beesley has barely been noticed so far and Warren, as is often the case, is playing a plonker. The coast of Spain is so far proving pleasant to look at and to keep it from looking like a holiday doco director Adrian Shergold shoots much of the action through the various camcorders. But you can play fantasy casting all you like; if the dialogue's pedestrian nobody goes far. When one of the boys loses some tennis balls, Chaplin replies, “One thing I’m not short of is balls.” Over on the posh channels, nobody talks like that. (The script is by Cris Cole.)

Watch the trailer for Mad Dogs

The script didn't have much time for the filigree nuances of male group dynamics

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Comments

I was hugely disappointed by Mad Dogs, episode 1. The script was lacking and choppy most of the time like it hadn't been proof read. I really wanted to like Mad Dogs. I'm worried about that Glenister geezer's career. He's great but gets caught up in these lack-lustre projects of his all of the time. Such a waste. I don't think the lads set out to make a bad series but for f*** sake someone is responsible for the crap script. I mean, I don't actually give a s*** about the characters--when I ought to. I could turn the sound off and just enjoy Spain in my living room.

i love these comments and feedback - it is like everyone is trying to outdo how much they can slag off the series after episode one, it seems to be just because it is Sky. It just shows that you didn't really watch it when they are welcomed to Mallorca in the first few minutes. Forget your pre-conceptions that because it is Murdoch it must be bad, maybe they have realised that there is a niche that the Brits want instead of dancing, ice skating and 3rd rate talent shows which the beeb and ITV seem to think we want to watch.

does anyone know what that song is called in the scene where they are burying alvo?

In the series mad dogs on sky 1 wots the tune being player when the guys go in the night club in episode 1

What's the track playing while they are making all the pills, shiny gun or something....????

The track is called Murder Weapon and is by Tricky.

Wish I knew, been looking everywhere with no success, please let me know if you find out. Dave

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