Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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    Mercado on TV: Mr Bates vs The Post Office a buzzy drama about miscarriage of justice

    Seven has a buzzy new drama that has just had a “profound cultural and social influence” in the UK. Over 12 million viewers have watched Mr Bates vs The Post Office and it has led to their Prime Minister announcing new legislation to finally bring justice to the victims (let’s hope he’s telling the truth).

    Mr Bates vs The Post Office (Wednesday on Seven) is about an appalling miscarriage of justice, where postmasters were accused of fraud and stealing. Just like Australia’s Robodebt scheme, it required those accused to prove their innocence, rather than being provided any proof of their guilt. That’s because no evidence existed and that led to victims suffering breakdowns, bankruptcy, prison time and death.

    The dependable British cast includes Julie Hesmondhalgh, Alex Jennings, Katherine Kelly, Shaun Dooley and Will Mellor. All are totally believable in their roles, but Toby Jones as Mr Bates is a standout playing a man of gentle determination and unflappable demeanour.

    This drama also stands because of its beautiful cinematography. Utilising truly stunning locations means not a single shot is wasted. Phone conversations happen against the backdrop of a Welsh valley, and every meeting takes place in an office with perfectly framed backdrops.

    Mr Bates screened on ITV over four consecutive nights in January. Free-to-air UK broadcasters don’t rely on reality franchises the way that their Aussie counterparts do, and their special scheduling turns drama into event television. This strategy, also favoured by Channel 5, can pay off big time and it’s a great way to alert your audience to a can’t-miss drama.

    Seven is giving Mr Bates a decent timeslot at 8.30pm but it will still finish late thanks to double episodes. There is probably no hope that Seven will ever play a drama over four nights instead of a reality series, but at least 7plus will have all four episodes to binge.


    New from Sofia Vergara and Lenny Henry

    Another true drama is Griselda (Netflix) starring an unrecognisable Sofia Vergara as a Colombian drug lord running a cocaine business in Miami. It’s initially pitched as a woman being empowered as she faces sexism from every man in her orbit, including the police. By the end, she is as bad as those around her, and senselessly killing all and sundry. Fans of Narcos will love it, but others should proceed with caution.

    Three Little Birds (BritBox) is loosely based on the lives of Sir Lenny Henry’s parents when they immigrated from Jamaica to Britain in 1957. Written in collaboration with Russell T. Davies, the appalling racism seen here is hard to watch. Hang in there though, because at the end of the second episode, there is a message of hope that not everyone in England is awful.

    Welcome to TV Gold: Mediaweek’s weekly TV podcast

    Listen now on your favourite podcast platform for 30 minutes of TV reviews and recommendations every week from Mediaweek’s Mercado on TV columnist Andrew Mercado and editor-in-chief James Manning.
    We want your comments, feedback and questions –

    Mercado on TV: Mr Bates vs The Post Office a buzzy drama about miscarriage of justice

    This week: Mr Bates vs The Post Office, One Day, Five Blind Dates

    The cast of Mr Bates vs The Post Office

    You shouldn’t overlook the brilliant Mr Bates vs The Post Office (Seven & 7plus, series) which tells the tale of what is being called the worst miscarriage of justice ever in the British legal system. Also this week we look at the latest adaption of David Nicholls’ novel One Day (Netflix, series). Also the Australian feature film Five Blind Dates (Prime, movie) a romcom from Goalpost Pictures that is set in Townsville and Sydney.

    Listen online here, or on your favourite podcast platform.

    The post Mercado on TV: Mr Bates vs The Post Office a buzzy drama about miscarriage of justice appeared first on Mediaweek.

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