Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Theme Time : Portishead - The Vice

The Vice, a police drama about the Met's Vice Unit was one of my favourite programmes back when it aired for five series on ITV between 1999 and 2003, so naturally I'm really pleased to see ITV3 repeating at 11pm weeknights. 

A dark and gritty series it focuses on crimes such as prostitution and paedophilia being investigated by the dogged and haunted DI Pat Chappel played by the magnificent Ken Stott, an actor who seemed to specialise in dour detectives around this time with subsequent roles in Messiah and Rebus too. Unable to draw the line between his work and home life he would increasingly demand both the loyalty and the frustrations of his equally dedicated colleagues played by Caroline Catz (fresh from the BBC comedy Preston Front and with The Bill and Doc Martin around the corner) David Harewood (who recently starred in the critically acclaimed US drama Homeland) Marc Warren (who would go on to star in Hustle and Mad Dogs) and latterly Rosie Marcel (who went on to star in Holby City) and Tamzin Malleson (of Dangerfield, she would go on to star in Bodies, Teachers and most recently Midsomer Murders as well as becoming 'Mrs Keith Allen)

The theme to the series was the 1994/95 single Sour Times from Bristol based 'trip hop' band Portishead. It was a great partnership of song and series, its John Barry-esque chilly guitar chords capturing perfectly the gloomy and sinister mood of the seedy underbelly of London the series highlighted, and indeed I believe The Vice itself created a template for a new wave of British detective drama whose repercussions can still be felt to this day.

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