Written by: Peter J Hammond
Directed by: Jonathan Fox Bassett
The One Where: Two members of The Night Travellers, a mysterious carnival, step out of an old film and begin stealing people’s "last breaths", in order to create an everlasting audience...
Verdict: 20 minutes in, my girlfriend piped up, "Why do they keep repeating things?" My answer: "'Cos this is what TV drama was like 30 years ago, when audiences were 'less sophisticated'". PJ Hammond, creator of surreal '70s spookfest Sapphire and Steel, is the man responsible and it feels like a script he's had in a drawer for three decades.
Problem is, once the episode has set out its stall, it totally fails to develop. It’s glacially slow, with an awful lot of people standing around reiterating information in case the audience was too slow-witted to get it the first time, and endless shots of Cardiff roundabouts (I make it five - did the first edit come in short?)
And yet... like Sapphire and Steel, it’s poetic and atmospheric, with some lovely ideas (Jack the sideshow freak), striking images (the sinister MC beckoning the audience) and memorable lines. What a shame they couldn’t have combined all that with some surprises and a little modern pace.
Gaffes: Those nuke schematics from “Sleeper” pop up on Tosh’s screens again !
Nitpick: The team learn of two incidents near Hope Street. Do they search the area? Nope: they look up some 100-year-old parish records. Good grief...
Pearl: "Make her cry. I want to drink her tears."