An Hour To Catch A Killer With Trevor McDonald
A very specific ambition, as one wag on social media put it. Right behind it in the ranks of specifically ambitious, or perhaps just badly named TV shows is An Hour To Catch A Killer With Trevor McDonald (ITV).
The esteemed broadcaster, you will not be surprised to learn, doesn’t actually head out onto the streets with a magnifying glass and a stopwatch.
Nevertheless, as ITV’s attempt to get on the true-crime bandwagon, this is not completely way out.
Sir Trevor has form, having spent much of the past few years interviewing prisoners and Mafiosi. In last night’s programme, following a Gateshead murder team in the crucial hours after a 999 call, he showed himself to be a sensitive interviewer, especially when speaking to the victim’s parents.
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The real drama came in the interview rooms later
With the aid of body cameras strapped to detectives and forensics specialists we saw how decisions made in the first hour determined the outcome of the whole case.
This was something of a gimmick since the decisions boiled down to things any investigating officer would do automatically.
The real drama came in the interview rooms later. The detailed, helpful answers of Harry Dhillon gave way to “no comment” as the tone of the detectives changed from “can you help us?” to “just own up”.
They didn’t, ultimately, need him to. The 26-year-old soldier had made so little attempt to cover his tracks after killing his ex-girlfriend, Alice Ruggles, that the police merely had to load the scraps of evidence onto the scales until they tipped.
Although you could link them back to the first hour if you had to, it’s down to all the patient hours and days of data-sifting afterwards that Dhillon got the guilty verdict he deserved.
Russia With Simon Reeve
Having been followed and menaced throughout his trip, the final episode of Russia With Simon Reeve (BBC2) was on course to be very dangerous indeed. He was heading into the disputed territory of Crimea, seized by Russia from Ukraine in 2014, and the subject of bitter international wrangling ever since.
Strangely, in this historical hot zone, Simon had a hoot. He visited a Crimean health spa, full of Russians enjoying subsidised trips, courtesy of Putin’s government.
He interviewed a woman encased entirely, apart from her head, in an inflatable sausage filled with CO2.
It was her right as a Russian to come here, she said. Until the place was annexed, the Ukrainians prevented her from exercising that right (along with her right to sit inside a gas-filled frankfurter, presumably).
Simon journeyed on to meet a jolly farmer, doing nicely out of all the sanctions the West had imposed on Russia for nicking Crimea.
Home-grown produce was in great demand, and if the French wouldn’t sell them cheese, hell, they’d make their own.
Russia is a force for good, the farmer insisted, as he sipped a glass of vodka made from cheese (the vodka, not the glass).
The West had better stop trying to make Russia nervous. The West wouldn’t like Russia when it was nervous.
I’m not saying Simon would have cherry-picked his last encounters to make the Russians look ridiculous. If he’d wanted to, though, gas bags and cheesy vodka would have been a very fine way to do it.