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TV review

Published Wednesday 27 April 2011 at 15:49 by Doctor Who, BBC1, Saturday, April 23, 6pm

Don’t Scare the Hare, BBC1, Saturday, April 23, 5.25pm

Jason Bradbury with the hare

Jason Bradbury with the hare Photo: BBC/Endemol/Neil Sherwood

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, ITV1, Monday, April 25, 9pm

Production information

Don't Scare the Hare is a new Saturday teatime game show. When contestants fail to answer questions or overcome challenges, pyrotechnic booby traps are detonated, which in turn alarm a large, white, animatronic hare into running away - or, to be precise, rolling away, as it is on wheels. The show is clearly intended for a family audience, and should succeed, provided the family in question is comprised of simpletons who have not seen much television., The actual games are pretty feeble and uninspired, leaving the poor hare and his robotic novelty value to carry the show. Unfortunately, the hare is far from impressive either. Doctor Who's tin dog K9 managed more personality and manoeuvrability, and he was operating within the confines of seventies technology.

On a more positive note, the show boasts bright and cheery set design, in front of which host Jason Bradbury works hard to generate excitement. But it is an awful lot to ask, and the wardrobe department certainly hasn't done him any favours by sending him out to face the public sporting a look best described as 'Timmy Mallett urban chic'.
Don't scare the hare, but I wouldn't be surprised if the BBC Light Entertainment department was already researching what they'd get for him as scrap.
In a welcomed and refreshing departure from its standard murder mystery and detective drama formats, ITV served up The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, a historical murder mystery featuring the daddy of all detectives.
Based on the book by Kate Summerscale, it told the true story of an 1860 police investigation into the kidnap and murder of Saville Kent, the three-year-old son of a Wiltshire squire. Taken from his bed by somebody within the solidly middle-class household, his corpse abandoned in an outside privy, Saville's appalling fate inspired such horror in society that the Home Secretary took the case from the local constabulary and imposed Scotland Yard hotshot Jack Whicher in their stead, better to effect a speedy solution. Paddy Considine played Whicher, with Peter Capaldi as the bereaved father and Tom Georgeson as the less-than-helpful Superintendent Foley.
What made The Suspicions of Mr Whicher so compelling was its fascinating combination of contemporary tone with period detail - CSI Victorian England, if you would. Not for Mr Whicher the scientific certainties of forensic evidence. Instead he was obliged to make deductions based upon witness statements crammed full of subjective speculation, unsubstantiated rumour and pure gossip. But his pursuit of the truth did not rule out a bit of Sweeney-style physical intimidation if a suspect proved unforthcoming.
Doctor Who has made a characteristically flamboyant return, inviting Amy, Rory and River to meet up in America, share a picnic and then witness the death of his future self.
And that was just the prologue to a rollercoaster ride featuring Richard Nixon, amnesia-inducing aliens, murderous astronauts and a frightened child at the end of a phone line.
All very witty, exciting and imaginative, but just occasionally I wish they would come up with a plot line that didn't require the combined scientific intellects of Brian Cox and Stephen Hawking to understand.

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014