TV Review: Blackpool (David Tennant)


Blackpool is a strange 6 (8) part series. The distinguishing feature of this production is that it’s a musical. Sort of. It’s also a procedural. Sort of. The characters occasionally break into song but it’s not really them singing even though they do. Confusing, eh? The characters do sing and you can vaguely hear them but they are overlaid by the original recording artists (mostly pop songs, lots of Elvis) in a kind of… 10:90 split. Why background the actors’ singing? Either foreground them or do pure lipsync. There is also some dancing and the occasional technicolor fantasy sequence set to music but most of the time it is fairly half hearted and done in their regular clothes. The former exemplified by Should I Stay by Gabrielle and the latter by The Boy with the Thorn in His Side by The Smiths. If this is what Cop Rock was like, small wonder it was canceled.

The show is set in the (real) seaside town of Blackpool, hence the name. It opens with a song and mildly dance-y number as the future Next Doctor, empress of the Racnoss, and family go to the grand opening of their family entertainment centre/proto-casino. The next day a body is found there and Detective Inspector Carslyle (Tennant) is assigned to investigate. It starts out interestingly enough but when he goes to question the wife he begins to behave in such an idiotic and unprofessional fashion that I kept waiting for it to be revealed as some sort of logical if surreptitious plan. Sadly it was not. The investigation continued to be tainted by illogical, unprofessional and criminal actions. The original crime actually happened as one can guess by the second episode and one wonders why everyone doesn’t come clean because there’s a logical and defensible explanation not to mention age defense (actually, is he a minor in the UK?).

The series is notable for the first time Sarah Parrish and David Tennant appear together especially as a romantic pairing. Also there is an almost surreal blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment where DI Carslyle walks in front of the Doctor Who Museum a real functioning place in Blackpool at the time of filming, but alas no longer.

The plot is a mess, some of the songs are interesting … There’s lots of fan vid fodder… Yep that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

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