Review: Plunging back into the mad, mad world of Marcella, and ITV needs to add recaps to the recaps

Those episode recaps you get at the beginning of TV shows are good aren’t they? Get you back up to speed on where we are in the story in just a few seconds.

Friday, 29th January 2021, 5:00 pm
Updated Friday, 29th January 2021, 5:40 pm

Except when you’re watching Marcella (ITV, Tues, 9pm). Here, the recaps only serve to confuse you, swerving between blackouts, infanticide, tampering with evidence and the illegal disposal of a body, before apparently zipping forward in time and revealing a load of massive spoilers.

I’m not sure why I’m surprised at the Prime Suspect on speed nature of Marcella – the first two series were just as bonkers.

Anna Friel’s titular tec spent more time breaking the law than upholding it, so it was no surprise this latest series – where she’s undercover in the middle of a Belfast crime family – is all over the place. By the end of episode two, she’s been present at a shooting, helped cover up a murder and slapped a woman across the face.

Anna Friel as Marcella in the new series of the ITV crime drama. Picture: ITV

Then she does her usual thing of taking a bath covered in blood, which is something I’m pretty sure Radox wouldn’t endorse.

It’s difficult to tell if this fractured style is supposed to indicate Marcella’s mental state or not, but it’s certainly a little confusing.

Throw in a phobic lawyer with a sideline in Peeping Tommery and a photographic memory, mysterious sheet music and bent coppers and this is a very rich (Irish) stew.

If you’d been into Marcella from the start, you’d sympathise when her police handler Frank says, “we knew she had issues when we took her on”, and thrill to this white knuckle ride of nonsense. If you are new to it, not even an hour’s worth of ‘previously on Marcella’ will help unravel the compulsive conundrum of this mad show.

Katie Price: Harvey & Me (BBC1, Mon, 8.30pm) showed a different side to the reality TV star, as she helped son Harvey, who has severe learning difficulties, take steps to independence. Worth a watch.

Fancy a show you can just have on and snooze in front of, without having to make an effort? Don’t we all, and in Celebrity Best Home Cook (BBC1, Tues/Weds, 9pm) the Beeb have got a good one.

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