Spiral French Crime Drama

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

SPIRAL - French Crime drama

Date: 7th March 2013


A couple of ‘crime dramas’ have been launched this week on main stream television – The BBC’s Mayday is being shown on successive nights and Broadchurch went up against it at the same time on Monday on ITV. I’m no television critic and they are both OK but they bear no comparison to the superb continental crime thrillers we’ve seen over the last few years – Wallander, The Killing and the brilliant Spiral.

It is a strange observation to make but I think one of the reasons they somehow don’t even begin to match up is that they are both in glorious ‘technicolour’ whereas their European counterparts appeared to have a wash of ‘greyness’ over them which contributes to the reality. The characters are slightly scruffy, very human, and believable.

Mayday can’t seem to make up its mind whether it is a supernatural drama or a thriller. And as for Broadchurch, I’m sorry but David Tennant- even with the designer stubble – just doesn’t convince me that he is little more than a teenager. And, of course, any thriller on ITV suffers from the interminable adverts. Is it my imagination or are the ad brackets getting longer and longer – they must be because I watched a recording of Broadchurch and as I zipped through the ads, the running time was around 50 minutes!! And I cannot understand the thinking behind showing us the same adverts at every break. Don’t they realise that we make a cup of tea, go to the loo, make a quick phone call, anything rather than sit through the same ads over and over again.

So back to Spiral. I was given the first three series on DVD as a Christmas present so I had the double pleasure of watching an excellent programme and being able to watch several episodes at a time. I love the French – they say and show it as it is with no bending over backwards to be politically correct. Perhaps that is why they have the edge on most of our Crime dramas which seem tame by comparison. And it isn’t that I like watching blood and gore but I do enjoy ‘clever’ television. Spiral as the name denotes is a spiral of complication, intrigue and legal corruption and I shall be bereft when it ends.

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.