New Tricks: The Curate’s Egg. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Larry Lamb, Denis Lawson, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Adjoa Andoh, Anthony Calf, Tracy Ann Oberman, Percelle Ascott, Lloyd Everitt, Camilla Beeput, Ricky Nixon, Edmund Kente, Joan Blackham, Magdalena Kurek.

New team member, new ways of solving crimes, new quirks, new tricks; one old favourite team member departed and one brand new one in which to aid U.C.O.S’s efforts to solve the long since discarded crimes of London, it is after all a new day in the lives of some.

To follow on from the opening two-parter of the new and final series of New Tricks would seem to be a very tall ask, after all the departure of Dennis Waterman was always going to hit the series and the production very hard and without Tamzin Outhwaite to steer the team through the third as her character convalesced after taking a bullet intended for Gerry, The Curate’s Egg episode could have indeed fallen completely flat and nobody could have blamed it all.

However with the addition of Larry Lamb to the team, a man not adverse to the role of police drama and villainy after his performance as Bruce Reynolds in Buster, the drive of the show might have slowed but it certainly never stopped and thankfully never went into reverse.

Retired Detective Ted Case’s first proper involvement with U.C.O.S. sees the team investigate the murder of a local popular vicar and the previous racist letters sent to him. The investigation is made even harder as the vicar’s family have become dysfunctional and wayward without the guiding hand and yet the secrets of the family are ones in which are so tightly wrapped that it takes good old fashioned listening to solve.

Larry Lamb’s Ted Case is no Gerry Standing, however that’s not a bad thing, for there is a certain gentleness, a more modern approach in Ted Case’s ability, and whilst long standing viewers will miss the cheekiness of Dennis Waterman’s character, there is at least for the remaining episodes a degree of rounded appreciation for what this new team will bring to the New Tricks table.

To try and top the opening episodes of this, the last series for the much loved programme would arguably have been television suicide; every new character needs to be eased into position, not immediately placed into the dangerous world of investigation and for that The Curate’s Egg is a very good place to start the beginning of the end.

Ian D. Hall