The Bay Rating: Critical Condition Rating: The prize for the stupidest cop of the year goes to Morven Christie in The Bay (ITV). When she destroyed
The prize for the stupidest cop of the year goes to Morven Christie in The Bay (ITV). When she destroyed evidence and lied to her boss, what was she thinking? It made no sense.
We met DS Lisa Armstrong, a single mum and a police family liaison officer by the seaside in Lancashire, as she got ready for a girls’ night out. There was cheap wine and karaoke, and inch-thick make-up — great fun if a drunken hen night is your idea of classy.
Naturally, the evening culminated in a knee-trembler round the back of the pub with a bloke she’d never met before. As I said, classy.
Morven Christie plays Detective Sergeant Lisa Armstrong (pictured above) in new series The Bay
Next morning, a hideously hungover Lisa is sent to interview the parents of missing teenage twins. The father, Sean (Jonas Armstrong), turns out to be her dalliance from the night before.
Granted, that’s a bit more family-liaising than Lisa’s job description entails. But it’s hardly a crime or a sackable offence — unlike her actions to cover up the indiscretion. Instead of reporting what happened, she wipes an hour of tape from the pub’s CCTV to hide any footage of her with Sean.
Then she lies to her superior officer and to Sean’s wife. What started as an embarrassing faux pas could now end her career and send her to jail.
The show follows the relationship Detective Armstrong has with the family involved in a missing persons investigation
And for what? That’s what lets down a potentially intriguing crime concept. We haven’t seen an investigation from the perspective of the liaison officer before: it’s not usually a job for a DS, but we’ll let that pass. The idea is still good.
But Lisa has no reason to behave in such a duplicitous way. At the beginning of the story, she stands to lose nothing if her Detective Inspector finds out about her boozy fumble with a stranger.
She isn’t married, she was off-duty, and this isn’t 1819, when a young lady’s reputation could be stained for ever by an injudicious flirtation. The Bay is set in Morecambe, not Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.
This could have been a gripping set-up if, for instance, exposure meant Lisa risked losing her marriage, her children or her home. Without that compelling threat, the drama lacked rationale. We were left with an unsympathetic central character putting her selfishness above the search for two missing teens. That’s not appealing.
Such a gaping flaw makes it harder to ignore the show’s other failings. The GCSE students at the local school all looked about 27, and most of the characters behaved like formulaic suspects on a murder-mystery weekend.
Critical Condition (C5) avoids becoming formula TV by ignoring all the traditions of a fly-on-the-wall hospital documentary, and just concentrating on the operations.
Clincians adminster treatment to a patient ay Royal Stoke University Hospital, Stoke on Trent during Critical Condition on C5
Filmed at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, it followed the most traumatic cases: a man who had fallen 20ft through a skylight onto his back, and a driver trapped for three hours in an overturned van.
This is all full-on surgical action without the amusing banter between nurses or the twee clips of children in the waiting room, so much beloved by Channel 4’s 24 Hours In A&E.
The stories are not massaged either. Preparing for a perilous op, a surgeon remarked: ‘Sometimes we almost have to make patients worse before we can make them better, take a risk.’ The patient died.
When there were rare moments of conventionally emotional TV, they hit us hard. A little boy hugged his father in a hospital bed, before the man went in to theatre for emergency heart surgery. The scene lasted only seconds, but it was unforgettable.
Dr Nayak (pictured above) is one of the surgeons who features on the new show