CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews weekend TV: A sweet love story behind every drug gang shootout? don’t be silly
You do not know me
Michael Crawford: Some mothers love them
The teenagers who sit on the benches of our local park smoking dope show up after dark on their bikes, dressed in hoodies and jogging bottoms.
Once in a blue moon, a patrol car drives around for a few minutes, and the youngsters evaporate. The rest of the time they lay low, ignore dog walkers, and never draw attention to themselves by joking or playing loud music.
My part of the country must be a deprived area, because the dealers in south London at You do not know me (BBC1) possess a spectacular and flamboyant dress sense.
Roger Jean Nsengiyumva, who plays arrogant drug lord Jamil, floats around the Woolwich estates in white trousers and a bulky quilted white coat that falls open to the ankles.
Roger Jean Nsengiyumva (left) plays arrogant drug lord Jamil alongside Samuel Adewunmi (right) as the hero in You Don’t Know Me
It looks like the outfit model Naomi Campbell would wear to travel to Antarctica with Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
Maybe that’s what all the metropolitan drug dealers are sporting these days. Or maybe Tom Edge, the British writer who adapted Imran Mahmood’s novel for the Beeb, copied the classic American TV drama The Wire – in which stars including Idris Elba and Michael K. Williams have played beautifully dressed drug tycoons.
You Don’t Know Me is a carefully constructed story of a missing woman, told to a jury by a young man on trial for the murder of dandyish drug dealer Jamil.
Samuel Adewunmi plays Hero, who fires his lawyer and begs the judge to let him tell his life story in his own defense.
Hero is a sales manager at a high-end car dealership. He chats with a girl named Kyra (Sophie Wilde) on the bus, invites her to dinner, and cooks spaghetti carbonara so good she moves in with him.
Kyra is an enigma. Hero doesn’t know anything about her except that she likes to read – and I’m not convinced of that, as the novels she chooses to exhibit are Great Expectations and The Great Gatsby. . . the kind of books a 14-year-old would choose to appear well-read.
Closing of the weekend:
Piers Morgan presented his latest edition of Life Stories (ITV) before passing the baton to his guest, Kate Garraway. She’s sure to be better than the charmless Jonathan Ross, whose video chat with Elton John was stuffy and boring.
Other than that, we learn nothing about her. She has no job, no parents, no friends, no personality. She’s almost an imaginary girlfriend, and Hero is more surprised than he should be when he comes home from work one day to find she’s not on the couch where he left her. Kyra has disappeared. He finds her working as a prostitute and the first episode ended with Hero getting out of his car to confront his pimp, with a gun in his pocket.
So far, You Don’t Know Me is far from convincing.
I don’t believe there’s a sweet love story behind every drug gang shootout – comforting as it is to believe that. But Adewunmi makes Hero warm, sweet, and extremely likeable, and I’m looking forward to tonight’s second part, to learn more about how he ended up facing life in prison.
Shy West End superstar Michael Crawford featured in 90 Minutes biography Michael Crawford: Some mothers love them (C5), also seemed extremely likeable – if a bit of a diva, as his friend and colleague Arlene Phillips assured us he could be.
An array of celebrity friends paid tribute, from impresarios Andrew Lloyd Webber and Bill Kenwright to sitcom co-star Michele Dotrice.
Barbra Streisand, who starred alongside a 27-year-old Crawford in Hello, Dolly!, didn’t appear, but maybe she hasn’t mastered Zoom.
A host of outtakes from musicals such as Barnum and Phantom, plus generous clips of those jaw-dropping stunts in Some Mothers, more than made up for its absence.