The Alcove | TV Tonight

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Gangs of London continues tonight {Sky Atlantic 22:10} for those who haven’t had the chance to download in bulk on Sky. The pace continues in its now familiar, unrelenting style.

Less may well have meant more, with each episode trying to outdo the last with regards to its levels of graphic violence. Some more pacing and character development may have left this show with more of a longer lasting effect once it’s finished. Sadly, the exponential growth in savagery means it ultimately loses effect and in turn, meaning.

Expecting the worst at every turn, it often delivers. And that’s not always a good thing. A trick was missed here. It may well have received good viewership numbers, but it’s an emotional connection that was needed. Instead, we just got nauseating violence, often for the sake of it.

Viewers like to work for their climatic scenes. When everything is peak drama, ultimately then, nothing is.

UTV have the right idea though, showing extended highlights that were worthy of Nick Hornby’s novel, the 1992 sports drama classic Fever Pitch. The basis of his material, the 1989 title decider between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield is a late showing tonight {UTV 23:15}.

Worth staying up for indeed, not least to relive the controversy surrounding the opening goal and Steve Staunton’s furiously intense reaction.

Normal People continues to capture attention {BBC 21:10} with Lenny Abrahmson’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel leaving a considered mark on popular culture.

If anything could be further from Gangs of London in terms of pacing, this is it. It’s not that it’s slow, and it is not that nothing happens. It is that for its measured pace and patience, it draws you in every step of the way. It’s engrossing but not because it is unrelenting, but for the very opposite reason.

Not everything has to be handed to its audience on a platter that can’t be underloaded. Impatience it’s catching. Not necessarily that brevity is the soul of wit. But a programme with a soul will keep you hooked. Unlike Gangs of London, it may well stay with you too.

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Brian Strahan
Brian is a regular contributor to The Season Ticket, producing interviews and covering a wide range of sports.