TV Highlights

Arthur & George

ITV - 9pm

Who's in it?

Looking a lot like traditional depictions of Dr Watson, a portly and moustachioed Martin Clunes starred as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in this big new drama from the pen of Julian Barnes.

In a nutshell

Craving the return of Sherlock? And perhaps Elementary isn’t quite doing it for you? Never mind, here’s yet another Holmesian distraction for your delectation: a tale based on an unusual episode in the life of Sherlock’s creator, Arthur Conan Doyle. And, in a winningly unlikely casting, we had Martin Clunes bringing the old writer to life, playing him as a thoroughly good egg who was at a loose end after the death of his wife.

Now, with his big sincere eyes and oddly babyish features, Clunes can do the whole endearing older chap thing very well indeed, and fortunately he wasn’t the only good thing about this new series. The story itself, based on Julian Barnes’s novel, was suitably strange, chronicling Conan Doyle’s involvement in the case of an Anglo-Indian solicitor (the George of the title) who did time for animal cruelty and issuing vile threats. Untangling the truth put Sir Arthur at loggerheads with the very stiff society he was so much a part of, and we’re keen to discover what twists and turns lie ahead in the episodes to come.

What's the verdict?

At times genteel and charming, and then dark and riveting, this new ITV drama is many things… elementary not being one of them.

Star rating: 4/5

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07-07-2011