We learned two significant facts in the first episode of the Long Call a new Brit TV crime mini-series (available worldwide via Brit-Box). First, the title of this seaside drama is also the noise made by a herring gull …. but more importantly this was the first police drama where the male lead detective gets to give his boyfriend mire that one passionate full-on kiss.
It was done without melodrama and hardly a major love scene as such, but it can claim to be groundbreaking because it was peak-time TV where the sexuality of the policeman didn’t define the plot but was just part of his makeup. True there was the fact that he was 39 years old and hadn’t come out officially to his mother but as she was part of an extreme Christian cult so that was hardly surprising.
The Long Call is the brainchild of award-winning crime writer Anne Cleeves who is also responsible for the very best police on Brit TV over the last decade: Vera. However, this new show will not have the Oscar nominee actress Brenda Blethyn who catapulted Vera to the top of the ratings. Interestingly ‘Vera’ has never had her own personal relationship and is what used to be termed as a spinster or old maid.
Cleeves bombards us with so many facts and gives us cause to think most of the cast could have been the killer of the poor man who ends up dead on one of the spectacular beaches of Ilfracombe in Devon. And though the plot may try to stretch our imagination a tad too much, what makes the drama is so compelling is the superb cast of Brit actors. Alongside Martin Shaw and a hardly recognizable Anita Dobson, there is a very steely-eyed Juliet Stevenson playing the Inspector’s ungiving mother who you know is so capable of any amount of treachery. She just scares me watching her trying to pretend to be nice.
No spoilers here as to who murders who etc and although there may never be an ‘aha’ moment when everything drops in place a la Vera, there is more than enough to keep you invested until the credits roll on the 4th and final episode. There is also the travelogue side of the show which will have so many people wanting to go visit the town. And naturally, pop in on Inspector Matthew Venn (a talented Ben Aldridge) and his boyfriend Jonathan (the equally handsome Declan Bennett) in their house with a spectacular ocean view .
Kudos to the producers for casting two openly gay men in the leads it gave such authenticity to the whole series
The Long Call is also streaming on https://www.itv.com/hub/itv which can be accessed FREE from ANYWHERE in the World with a VPN