Ian Rankin’s Murder Island evaluate: The real mystery is how this amateur detective show ends up being quite so boring


In principle, Murder Island (Channel 4) has lots going for it. It’s a cross between two genres the viewing public seemingly can’t get sufficient of – the detective drama and actuality TV. It’s written by Ian Rankin, no much less. It’s set on the attractive island of Gigha within the Mull of Kintyre. There’s a money prize of some £50,000 for the pair of amateur detectives who handle to resolve a homicide case, with a failing pair of sleuths being slung out every week – so there is a pointy aggressive factor. They’ve recruited real-life ex-homicide detectives to oversee the rookie plain garments coppers, and we get to study a bit extra about their work. A spread of clues have been fastidiously equipped for the contestants to review – loads of blood from a stab wound, glasses of wine and a footprint on the scene, a coroner’s report. There’s even a traditional VW camper co-starring in this show. And but the real mystery is how it ends up being quite so boring.

As a matter {of professional} pleasure, I trudged my means by means of the entire hour, attempting to not let my thoughts get lost, however I had the lounge painted the opposite day and I discovered myself extra keen on a few imperfections on the wall. Like a superb detective, I’ve an eye fixed for element.

I suppose that, in contrast to in real-life crimes or the most effective drama sequence, there isn’t anybody on Murder Island, real or in any other case, to care about. There is an admittedly intelligent twist in making the “victim” (an eco-warrior from the mainland discovered useless in a rental home) the programme’s narrator, however it’s onerous to be bothered by an actor taking part in a corpse. Likewise, the eight amateur detectives aren’t actually the stuff of tabloid TV desires. Certainly they’re what they name in that a part of the world “numpties”, however not in an particularly participating means.

Sprinkled all through are quick clips filling within the again story, seen by us however not by the contestants, who need to piece all of it collectively from scratch. We study how the sufferer, Charly Hendricks, was caught up in a marketing campaign to cease builders from turning the normal island into some form of boutique eco-tourism hellhole. We additionally uncover she was in what one pair of the amateur sleuths slightly quaintly name a “love triangle”. This places real property figures and a heartbroken husband on the record of potential culprits. The suspects are all portrayed in vivid main colors, just like the little items you’d discover on a Cluedo board, however sadly with not way more characterisation to them than these plastic pawns.

I’ve a imprecise reminiscence of being caught up in some murder-mystery nonsense at a resort a number of years in the past, however I quickly received so embarrassed on the ridiculousness of all of it that I slipped away to the real resort bar with its real workers and real collection of real malt whiskies. Viewers of Murder Island would possibly select to make an identical escape.

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