The Bay - A gritty hybrid of police procedural and family drama which grips from the off

Television bosses are always hoping to repeat their successes, looking for the next this or the new that.
Morven Christie starred in the Morecambe-set drama The BayMorven Christie starred in the Morecambe-set drama The Bay
Morven Christie starred in the Morecambe-set drama The Bay

After hitting big with Broadchurch, you might have expected ITV chiefs to be looking for a new crime drama set beside the sea, with a male/female buddy dynamic and a family with secrets hidden from view.

And with The Bay (ITV, Wednesdays, 9pm) you may think they’ve got it. But to call it the new Broadchurch would be wide of the mark.

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For a start, it’s set not among the honey-coloured cliffs and sandy beaches of Dorset, it’s rooted in our very own Morecambe, with its wide grey skies, views of the Lakeland hills and the slightly down-at-heel prom.

Plus the copper at the centre of the investigation into the disappearance of teenage twins is a woman –family liaison officer DS Lisa Armstrong (Morven Christie).

That family theme runs right through The Bay, from the family of the twins, rapidly falling apart under the strain, to Lisa’s own dysfunctional brood, to the family dynamic down at the police station, where Lisa has to mother callow young detective Med (Taheen Modak).

Lancashire lad Jonas on acting, his mates and The Bay“Leave your home life at home,” Lisa tells Med, “you’re here to do a job”, before quickly disregarding her own rules.

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Not to put too fine a point on it, a quick bunk-up in a damp alley leads to a surprise by the end of part one, and as the credits roll on this first episode, we’ve got our first corpse, skeletons spilling out of every cupboard and Lisa breaking umpteen PACE regulations.

Morecambe looks terrific, like a fading movie star given a last chance in the spotlight, the cast is excellent and there’s enough of a twist to the usual police procedural to make it fresh. I think those TV bosses will be looking for a new The Bay, before long.

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