Last Night’s TV: Waking The Dead

BBC1, 9pm

In the last episode of the seventh series of the BBC’s leading drama, Trevor Eve again leads the way with another impeccable performance as hard hitting DSI Boyd.

There is no doubting why Waking The Dead has grown in popularity from a cult police mystery show to one of the most-watched and best dramas on TV – you just have to read the credits. Amongst the five regular cast, albeit with some changes over the years, there are no weak points and coupled with some excellent writing it given an unprecedented longevity to this show.

Of course it helps to have pedigree like Trevor Eve and Sue Johnston leading from the front. The individual performances as the emotionally unstable Peter Boyd and the highly affable resisdent psychological profiler Dr. Grace Foley are exceptional and together they have one of the best on screen chemistries that we have seen for a long time.

Credit must go to the writers too, who haven’t been afraid to shy away from thought provoking drama. Last night’s episode, like all of this series, focused on a highly contentious situation, in this case the Serbian/Bosnian mid 90’s conflict with war crimes involving rebel groups and genocide. When you remember that already this series we have seen storylines involving racism and homophobia within fascist gangs, the Iraq war, incest, corruption in the UK prison system and Irish terrorism, you realise just how far away from Midsomer Murders it really is.

In recent years more depth has been added to the characters, notably Boyd, and the portrayal of his damaged relationship with his son has been an exceptional additional to the series. While the crimes – and even more the solving of them – are often pieced together at highly breakneck speed leaving some critics to doubt the show’s realism, nothing can be taken away from Trevor Eve’s highly emotive performances throughout. The last 20 minutes of last night’s episode was one of the most genuinely moving pieces of television for a long time, epitomised by Boyd’s final tears as the credits fell.

Let’s just hope BAFTA have been watching, because it is about time this wonderful series deservedly won one.