A load of old crocs

Monday, January 16, 2006 by

Off the back of a truckload of hype, Radio Times front cover included, perhaps it was inevitable that Stephen Poliakoff’s “state of the nation” epic Friends and Crocodiles would never quite match expectation. Eating up almost two hours of BBC1 on a Sunday night demanded respect, sure, but only on account of there being some return on such an investment.

There wasn’t any. In fact, there wasn’t much of anything at all during the entire piece. Glamorous characters walked on, said a few abstract lines, held a glamorous party, then walked off. A few years then passed, the same characters walked back on, said a few more abstract things, rued the fact they couldn’t have another glamorous party, then walked off again. So it went on. Nothing was advanced, nothing was proved. Worse, not one of the characters was likeable, even as they ostensibly grew older and wiser.

Not since Gormenghast has the BBC mustered a drama that went to such lengths to frame every shot in as expensive way possible, but to people each scene with as insubstantial plots and personalities imaginable. It would have been heading for a textbook baked bean ending, had the thing actually had an ending, instead of just petering out like an ill-organised, crappy yet acutely costly firework display.

Friends and Crocodiles was the worst of both worlds: no bark, and no bite.


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