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ITV1 In Half-Decent Drama Shock

That title’s probably a little unfair, as there are occasionally – very occasionally – some decent dramas on ITV1, but they can be a little scarce and take some hunting down. It’s also possible that Rock Rivals is the best thing since sliced-bread, but given that it comes from the production company who I like least in the UK, Shed Productions, which has until now specialised solely in schlock, I’m not even going to give it a chance. Added to that, it’s about an X-Factor style show, and you have a total no-go zone for me on ITV1. If a channel was still running testcards, I’d watch that ahead of Rock Rivals.
But back to The Fixer, which somehow seems to have had less promotion than just about any of the other big ITV programmes since their relaunch earlier this year. If there were posters or newspaper ads for it, I missed them. And given the paucity of quality on the channel in general, it was only by diligently checking listings magazines and the EPG that meant I spotted it coming up, since I’m unlikely to catch a trailer on ITV1. As channels dilute themselves further, this is an important point for TV executives to bear in mind; they’re going to need to increase those marketing budgets so that viewers can find the programmes. If I’m largely limited to watching Champions’ League Football, then there’s a good chance that I won’t see your trailers.
Literally, the only other programmes I’m likely to watch this week are Harry Hill’s TV Burp and Moving Wallpaper (but not Echo Beach).
The Fixer has a good pedigree, coming from Kudos (Spooks, Hustle, Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes etc), who have a woefully out of date website by the way, and being created Ben Richards who previously created Party Animals and wrote on Spooks. Andrew Buchan also comes from Party Animals, which although by no means perfect, wasn’t as bad as some might believe.
The premise that there’s a secret Government department that has to carry out the dirty work that nobody else wants to do is interesting. And in Peter Mullan, as boss Lenny Douglas, they’ve got a great actor. Also featuring are recent Hotel Babylon departee Tamzin Outhwaite, and from Shameless (Is that still running? A great example of an initially good programme being utterly over-stretched) Jody Latham. Finally, Liz White comes over from Life on Mars – I guess her character couldn’t continue through to Ashes to Ashes.
Anyway, it’s a good strong cast, with a decent premise, and has some dark overtones running through it. Most of the characters are, if not immoral, then certainly amoral; shagging and murdering people as they’re called to. It makes a change in British drama from being expected to fully like a character.
I’ll certainly be setting series link on my PVR and looking forward to future episodes. It’s just a shame that only six episodes were commissioned. I’d hope that once renewed, the next series would run to a minimum of 10 episodes – have the courage of your convictions!