Monday 24 October 2016

Icy Scandi saga deserves warm welcome

Published 29/11/2015 | 02:30

The Bridge's Sofia Helin
The Bridge's Sofia Helin

"She has no boundaries and no sense of humour," Danish detective Henrik tells his wife, which can only mean one thing - Swedish detective Saga is back for the third season of The Bridge (BBC4), displaying all the autistic severity that caused her to indict former partner Martin at the end of the second series.

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"I'm not bossy, I'm efficient. People in Denmark wouldn't understand that," she tells new partner Henrik, who seems to have his own peculiarities, including an addiction to sex and drugs.

Saga's mum, whom she hasn't seen for 20 years, is there, too. "They're not good for me," she says of her parents. "That's why I severed all ties with them," later telling her mother: "Stop following me around or I'll report you."

The gloriously weird Saga (Sofia Helin) has always been the main reason for watching The Bridge, though there's an intriguingly creepy plotline here, too, with a liberal priest and an LGBT campaigner the initial victims of a murderer who has seemingly taken political correctness a step too far.

There are creepy goings-on, too, in Capital (BBC1), a three-part adaptation of John Lanchester's novel about the inhabitants of a south London street, whose houses are now worth millions and who are being targeted by anonymous postcards stating: "We want what you have".

Toby Jones plays a banker in need of a huge bonus to cover his ghastly wife's spendthrift ways; there's a kindly Pakistani paterfamilias who runs the corner shop; and a female traffic warden who's arrested for working illegally just as she's found true love in her church choir. Enough happened in this episode to encourage me to stay with it.

The great BBC arts strand, Arena, is 40 years old and to mark the occasion BBC4 screened Night and Day, a 90-minute collage that featured memorable Arena snippets featuring the likes of Orson Welles, Jeffrey Bernard, Andy Warhol, Anita Ekberg, George Martin and Francis Bacon. Marvellous stuff.

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