Month: April 2017

Line Of Duty And The Man Behind The Curtain?

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Tonight’s explosive Line Of Duty finale appears to have closed the book on the criminal conspiracy inside the police force, with ACC Derek Hilton’s ‘suicide’ all the admission one would need as to his being the elusive and powerful “H”, right? Wrong. If this conspiracy was a biography of the Big Bad H then the man himself has just been given the pen and told to crack on. It’s a nice, neat place to pause for the team at AC-12; we know now that Balaclava Man isn’t one man but many. They are thugs deployed as and when by the shadowy cabal of crooked cops and gusty gangsters, a conspiracy responsible for an establishment paedophile ring, probable sex trafficking, drug dealing, evidence tampering and a whole host of other dastardly deeds.

Was Hilton really “H”? Well, let’s take a look at the little we know about him (or her? I’ll proceed with “him” for now…): He has tied with career criminal Tommy Hunter (who would later refer to a “two-faced bastard” who reneged on an immunity deal, whom we should assume is this same man), he was responsible for the promotion of Matthew “Dot” Cottan – ‘The Caddy’ – into a position of increased influence (namely a spot on the force’s No1 AC unit) and he’s also of a high enough rank that he’s able to manipulate and steer the careers and corruptions of DCs and DCIs past and present. On balance, since he

On balance, since he was indeed the one who made an immunity deal with Hunter (see series one epilogue montage) then it’s fair to assume Hilton was Hunter’s “two-faced bastard”. He was also the one who recommended Dot for promotion and is an Assistant Chief Constable with a finger in the pies of at least two of the main series focuses of AC-12 (though not always in the way he wished, if you’ll excuse the vulgar pun). You’d be forgiven for placing the blame on Hilton. And he was, obviously, up to his neck in it. He probably was “H”. But this is a man who used the same phone reserved for illicit criminal activity to try to shag a subordinate. He’s the kind of man who flaunts the (ill-gotten?) gains of his profession in swanky restaurants and posh bars. He’s simply not clever enough to be the man behind the curtain, in my opinion.

I’ve said from as far back as series two that the real dodgy copper here is none other than DSI Ted Hastings, a man who projects a whiter-than-white image when he’s really financially vulnerable to manipulation, unable to control his own home life and far too bloody smug to be the real deal. He also happens to be the one man who is right in the middle of everything that happens regarding the wider conspiracy without ever being suspected in any way whatsoever. Oh, until Hilton pointed the finger at him in an apparent attempt to deflect blame from himself. Of course, those accusations didn’t stick; the Reg-15 notice was rescinded and he was left alone. He even went as far as telling Kate to remove his photograph from the wall of officers whose name began with an H. He may not be the “H” they were looking for but I believe the villain has just taken control of the investigation into himself, indeed as been in the driver’s seat from day one.

A number of things over the years have made me suspect Ted of being the mole we’re all overlooking. I’ll have to revisit the previous three series (which I will be doing again soon) to nail every single line, but I’ll lay out those I found suspicious in the latest series here. In the very first episode (I think) Hastings says to Steve that he believes himself to be the only honest copper among the top brass. All that’s missing is a wink to the audience to hammer home this ballsy display of over-confidence. Then there’s his line tonight about the whole conspiracy case feeling like “a life’s work”. It is his life’s work – just not in the way we are meant to think. He’s been at this for years, ideally positioned – as head of AC-12 – to scoop up the cases pertinent to the conspiracy, while also being able to sideline, discredit and ultimately dismiss any police officer who gets close to revealing the truth, honest or corrupt.

Ted Hastings holds himself up as a shining beacon of honesty, truth and justice in a police force riddled with corruption, dishonesty and dangerous ambition. If that were the case he would have died tonight, by Jamie’s hand, during the confrontation in the AC-12 offices. It would have been the perfect end for a character who broke through suspicion to redeem himself, proving his decency by dying on the side of Right. Instead, he diverted the search for Hilton, redirected it to the offices of AC-12 where he promptly took his name off the list of suspects, retaining his hold over the most influential AC unit. Jamie was working for Hilton and had no idea of Hastings’ involvement – neither does anyone else in the conspiracy, except those so high-up in the criminal side that they are untouchable. Is there still a Masonic connection, I wonder? Ted being a Mason has been raised at least twice now without ever amounting to anything. Whatever the case, he’s a powerful man, able to interfere legitimately with any investigation he wants. Is it more than just a coincidence that every major case to land on his desk, every bent copper he probes, are in some way connected to the conspiracy or one of its minions?

With series five to come I predict the following: As the investigation into the conspiracy steps up a level, suspicion will fall on Hastings in some way. He’ll use his usual Irish charm to diffuse the situation, but justice will catch up with him in the end. He’ll be revealed as a long-standing mole for the conspiracy, which will have Masonic roots, and we’ll find out that he’s been manipulating everything from the very beginning. Tony Gates’ blackmail, Denton’s attack, Danny’s reveal of the child sex ring, right up to the suicide of ACC Derek Hilton and beyond. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that Kate has been working undercover at AC-12 since the start, keeping a close eye on Hastings all this time. It’s Steve and Kate’s show. They are the ones who (occasional lapses of judgement aside) are whiter than white, while Hastings is as dark as the night.

Mark my words: Ted Hastings it up to his beady eyeballs in this conspiracy. A copper of sufficient rank and influence to manipulate and steer the investigation into the conspiracy that runs deep into the establishment. I predict a political angle to series five, with even bigger players revealed as part of a network of criminal intent. Hastings is our Big Bad, hiding in plain sight for all these years. A conduit between criminal and copper, weeding out the weak links in the crooked chain. A villain with balls the size of space-hoppers and a poker face like no other. Ted Hastings is the one they want, but they won’t get him easily because the man now in charge of the chase is Ted Hastings himself.

May calls for “Snap General Election”

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This morning PM Theresa May announced plans for a “snap general election” to take place on June 8th. The timing of this announcement is interesting. Could it have anything to do with imminent Crown Prosecution Service plans to charge 30+ individuals (pretty much all Tory MPs) with breach of Election Law (a serious crime) during the “Tory Election Fraud Scandal” following the 2015 General Election?

Or the fact that the Conservatives have NO plan of any substance – and no cooperation on any plan they do have – to deal with Brexit, the result of a gamble made by her predecessor David Cameron, who rolled the dice and lost the country’s future in an attempt to appease a far-right element within his own party and wider society?

Or the fact that public polling puts the Conservatives well ahead of the opposition and that lead can only dwindle as the disaster that is UK/EU Brexit negotiations unfolds in the coming months, even though the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011 was introduced in part to stop governments calling an election to take advantage of favourable polling?

Maybe it’s to do with the fact that May feels like her position is illegitimate, having never been elected as PM, instead inheriting the position in an attritional leadership race (during which she simply hid herself away and let her opponents eat each other), and so needs an election to ease her own insecurities.

Whatever the reason, she has refused to partake in any kind of face-to-face campaigning, even shunning proposed leadership debates. It appears that, once again, May will hide away while the dirty work is done by others. Her party seems not to know what the plan is either. Over numerous interviews today, with many Tory MPs, there seemed to be very little cohesion in terms of why the election was called and what the plan is, going forward.

Conservative arrogance and hypocrisy knows no bounds, with May being on record as asserting that “now is not the time [for a second Scottish Independence Referendum]” as it would only be a distraction from the complex Brexit negotiations and would cause “unnecessary upheaval”. It seems that a full-blown general election in less than two months, however, is fine.

And remember, Theresa May has repeatedly and categorically ruled out the calling of a snap election. Forget everything else she and her party have lied about over the years, how can anyone take a word she says seriously after this mother of all rollbacks?!

Then there’s the Labour Party. Already I’ve seen people I know to be party members hoping openly that the Tories win this election, as it will “finally put an end to Corbyn”. If that’s not against the values and interests of the Labour Party then I don’t know what is. I wonder if there’ll be a wave of suspensions like during the leadership election of 2016? I’m not holding my breath.

This election could be one of the simplest to describe. Labour has nothing to lose. The Conservative Party is odds-on for a win. Corbyn will surely have to resign if Labour loses and the odds are against them. So it really does come down to basics: If you want another five years of Tory rule – of financial ruin, cuts upon cuts, the systematic dismantling of our NHS, anti-immigrant rhetoric leading to increased hate crime, etc – then vote Conservative. If you would do anything to avoid that, you must vote Labour. Hold your nose, like many have had to over the years, while you vote Labour if you must. But vote Labour.

Doctor Who – The Pilot

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Doctor Who is back with a brand new TARDIS crew. Joining Peter Capaldi for his last series at the helm are Pearl Mackie and Matt Lucas. Both are wonderful; more about them soon. What of the story? Well, it was great! Some years after we last saw him, the Doctor is now lecturing at Bristol University and has been for a long while. He’s taking care of something that’s been locked in a vault below the ground and it isn’t long before trouble finds him.

Bill Potts (Mackie) has been sneaking into the Doctor’s lectures. She isn’t a student, she works in the kitchens, but she has a thirst for knowledge. Her crush, Heather, has a star-shaped defect in her eye and it isn’t long before she has also been killed and replaced by an alien intelligence that looks like a puddle of water, bent on leaving earth. But it won’t leave without Bill, thanks to promises made when Heather was just a sad girl with a star in her eye.

The Pilot is a perfect jumping-on point for new fans of the show and works just as well as a long-awaited reintroduction to our favourite time travelling alien being. It isn’t long before Bill, Nardole (Lucas) and the Doctor are jetting from planet to planet, era to era, trying to outrun the aqueous assailant-in-Heather-form. The plot is small and personal, the threat contained only among the new gang – the world isn’t really in peril, here. And the episode is better for it. We get time to get to know our new companion; Bill Potts is excitable, enthusiastic and unknowledgeable enough to ask the questions we ourselves have. A big noise was made about her being the “first openly-gay, full-time companion” (although there was Captain Jack, of course) but her sexuality isn’t a case of the BBC trying to be “right-on” as an afterthought. There’s no hammering the point, no big deal: She’s a lesbian. She just is. It’s a part of who she is but she’s so much more than that; more than you’d have given Moffat credit for. For someone who is usually less than subtle about his characters’ sexual sides, Bill is beautifully-rounded already. We’ve known her for less than an hour and yet we already know so much about who she is. I can’t wait to get to know her better. She really is wonderful.

As for Nardole, he’s not in it enough to piss us off. And when he is in it, he’s a delight – far less ridiculous than his first appearance and full of entertaining lines to make us chuckle. Of all the characters I thought I’d hate to see return I’m actually glad he’s back – I love a full TARDIS.

But what of the future? Emojibots next week, the one I think we’ve all been least looking forward to. But with Mondasian Cybermen ahead and the promise of the return of John Simm as the Master, I’m sure we are in for a treat! It’ll be sad to say goodbye to Peter Capaldi, a truly wonderful incarnation of everyone’s hero of choice, but I trust the new team to get the right person in to replace him. Talking of which, The S*n are reporting that Death In Paradise star Kris Marshall has already begun the transition and is, in fact, the one chosen to be the next Doctor. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, obviously, but they were spot on about John Simm’s return. I’d welcome that casting, personally.

And then there’s the Big Question being asked by those who take the time to look a little closer, to speculate a little harder, than most. Is this Earth? Is Bill from our planet at all? Sure, she appears to be in Bristol but the Cybermen shown in the Coming Soon trailer are the very first iteration, Mark I Cybermen, if you like, and they come from Mondas, a planet from our own Solar System that was lost to battle aeons ago. Could all this be happening long ago on Monday, the now-lost and far-advanced sister planet to our own? I’ll be exploring or exploding this theory in the future based on clues (or lack thereof) in future episodes.

What I’m overjoyed to report, however, is that I loved every second of The Pilot and am thrilled with our new companion. It’s great to have Doctor Who back on our screens after such a long absence, one that has numbed us all – I think – to the joys of the show, so much so that many people seemed to have lost their enthusiasm for it in recent months. I hope The Pilot did enough to rekindle the love people have for this show. It deserves to be loved. I’ll always love it, no matter what.