The Long Call – The DVDfever Review – ITV drama – Ben Aldridge

The Long Call
The Long Call is a new four-part cop drama, over four nights, where the writer tries to differentiate slightly from the average cop drama by making the male lead gay, unless that has happened before and I’ve not seen enough cop dramas, but on seeing how this one plays out in its opener, I feel like I’ve seen plenty of them.

Anyhoo, what’s completely ridiculous is that everyone seems to be able to afford homes which are far above their means, as we see initially with DI Matthew Venn (Ben Aldridge) and hubby living in a place with massive coastal-facing windows and picturesque backdrops.

The big crime in this is that a dead man has been found at the bottom of the seaside cliffs, making this feel a bit ‘Broadchurch‘, so perhaps that’s a second crime in terms of plagiarism. By coincidence, Venn’s father has also recently died, so he has that to contend with as well.

Another crime is a very odd choice of direction, as we have one of those directors that likes to film two people talking to each other, one looking to the left of the screen while they’re sat on the extreme left, and the respondant on the right of the screen while they’re sat on the extreme right. In fact, quite a bit of these feels very ‘style over substance’.

These cops are also one of those TV cop outfits where everyone works every waking hour, and are still fresh as a daisy late at night. Plus, they don’t appear to have any other case work. Where do they get these hard working types? It’s also weird to note that every time the cops return to the office, they walk through an unseen door and down the same steps, in this very unfurnished abode. It’s like they shot all those scenes in one go, and no-one remembered to dress the set properly.

While it’s nice to see Martin Shaw onscreen, The Long Call all feels very by-the-numbers. Plus, the acting’s mediocre, particularly from the two leads – Aldridge, and Pearl Mackie, as DS Jen Rafferty, who you may remember as Doctor Who‘s Bill (yep, remembered, and forgot) – who look like they’re sleepwalking through this, there’s a fair bit of mumbling from everyone, it’s so slow moving, and the more the first episode went on, the less I cared about who did the murder.

The Long Call begins on ITV on Monday October 25th at 9pm, and after broadcast, each episode will be on the ITV Hub. It can be pre-ordered on DVD, ahead of its release on December 6th.

The Long Call – Official Trailer – ITV

Episode 1 Score: 2/10

Director: Lee Haven Jones
Producer:Angie Daniell
Writer: Kelly Jones
Music: Samuel Sim

DI Matthew Venn: Ben Aldridge
DS Jen Rafferty: Pearl Mackie
Dorothy Venn: Juliet Stevenson
Christopher Reasley: Neil Morrissey
Caroline Reasley: Siobhán Cullen
Gaby Chadwell: Aoife Hinds
Lucy Craddle: Sarah Gordy
Maurice Craddle: Alan Williams
Dennis Stephenson: Martin Shaw
Grace Stephenson: Anita Dobson
Simon Walden: Luke Ireland
Ella Rafferty: Melissandre St Hilaire
Ben Rafferty: Cameron Howitt
Young Matthew Venn: Alfie Price
DC Ross Pritchard: Dylan Edwards
Alfie James: John-Paul Macleod
Rich Chorley: Charlie Anson
Bryony Chorley: Jenny Platt
Ed Raveley: Amit Shah
Willy Barman: Willy Hudson
WPC Becky: Susannah Edgley
Ruth Shapland: Nia Gwynne
Rosa Shapland: Iona Anderson
Police Officer: Grant Crookes
Steve Brethern: Steve Walsh
Will Strensham: Kevin Johnson