Monday, November 22

Reviews: Coppers and Panorama

Wakefield's police are about as bright as a broken 40 watt bulb, says Mark Lewis  

At just 25 years old, PC Phillipa Child already has four years' experience dealing with Wakefield’s pub and bar detritus. It hasn’t gone to waste. Using all her experience and humbling policing skills on Coppers (Monday, ITV1, 9pm) the young hotshot quickly got to the bottom of one high street distraction. “I think she’s probably had too much to drink,” she says. On reflection, the signs were there: The hang-headed screeching, the fingers down the throat, the vomit in the hair. But it took PC Child to put a name on the symptoms.

And she was only the brightest of West Yorkshire’s finest detectives. The programme opened with one of her more satirical colleagues shouting, “booyakasha, this is my car!” at the camera, cleverly appropriating pseudo-Caribbean patois in a parody of assumed police contempt for black culture.

“I love nicking people,” he says later. “If I could, I would just nick people all the time.”

“I’ll kick him in the bollocks,” observes another.

“It’s coppers as you’ve never seen them before,” says the voiceover, imagining that the old bill the general public run into are the ones emerging from seminars on nuclear physics, rather than the ones saying, “you’re not telling me to suck your cock,” to quicker witted drunks telling them to “suck my cock.”

And that, it occurs to me, is exactly the kind of discourse we should be exporting to the Middle East. According to Panorama (BBC1, 9pm) there are “faith schools” in the UK which are using Saudi Arabian textbooks to teach British Muslims un-British lessons about Jews and homosexuals.

In the spirit of cultural exchange, how about we send our own textbooks back to Saudi Arabia? Sure, it’s fairly offensive hearing that British kids are being taught that homosexuals should be killed, and Jews metamorphose into monkeys and crabs. But it is hard to imagine Al Ekhbariya TV not being equally appalled at discovering a Tricolore 4a textbook with a scene from La Rochelle where school kids have scrawled ill-proportioned speech bubbles out of the mouth of Pierre, telling Claude to “suck my circumcised cock.”

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