Plumbing New Depths
'The Deep' BBC 1 Tuesdays 9.00pm
The cast of 'The Deep,' who look as though they've just seen the script for the very first time.
As Thomas Gray observed in his famous elegy:
'Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:'*
Unfortunately, 'The Deep' BBC 1 on Tuesdays at 9.00 pm is not one of them. The cast of this sub-surface story of skulduggery in the ocean's darkest depths must be wondering how they might escape from a script so dire it makes 'The Woodentops' seem like high art. Shot in what appears to be a disused Victorian swimming pool with marine door access to a long abandoned gasworks, it possess all the tension and excitement of watching an underwater episode of The Teletubbies in Turkish.
The story so far involves the bemused crew of 'The Orpehus,' (a supposedly sophisticated submersible which seems to be constructed from obsolete car parts) bobbing up in the swimming pool from where the crew enter into the gasworks part of the set to discover some sweaty. balding, hirsute Russian oafs, one of whom is found hitting a gas pipe with a very large spanner. Fortunately, most of these Russians are dead from what appears to be 'bleeding eyeball syndrome,' a mysterious disease, which has also thankfully, already killed a member of the crew of 'The Orpehus.' Regrettably, although deadly, I suspect that the disease will not prove deadly enough to protect us all from more episodes of this dreadful deep-sea drivel.
One of the surviving Russians is a scruffily suited, chain smoking KGB agent who's obviously based his ridiculous accent upon Alexander Orloff, the lovable mendacious meerkat who's regularly berating us all for confusing his ancestral website with an insurance comparison company. I was totally distracted from what passed for the plot waiting for this nicotine addicted thug to exclaim 'simples!'
The rest of the cast, who are all supposed to be portraying well educated, intelligent scientists and engineers, are certainly 'simples,' and all behaving like dysfunctional teenagers with ADHD. In fact, one of the females, who looks about fourteen, is probably going to be permanently scarred by her encounter with this lamentable nonsense. From their behaviour I'd be very reluctant to place any of them in charge of an empty bird cage.
Even the advertised love interest between Goren Visnjic and the delectable Minnie Driver was a major disappointment. Their encounter, when it finally came, was conducted in what appeared to be a large goldfish bowl sprouting yellow claws. They were both dressed in concealing orange jump suits. They looked about as attractive as members of a motorway repair gang after a long shift in the rain. It was extremely uninspiring. Fifty fathoms down and cramped together in the cold depths of an inhospitable environment, Miss Driver was given no opportunity to even partially disrobe, which just may have added some mild interest to their sexless submarine shenanigans.
As the writers and producers of this extremely wet and puerile drama no doubt bask in the deepening gloom of their own mediocrity, it is to be earnestly hoped, for the sanity of us poor licence fee payers, that whatever dreadful affliction is killing the cast develops sufficient virulence to wipe them all out long before the final watery episode. But don't hold your breath, not unless you too are struggling to keep your head above water.
*Thomas Gray 1716-1771. Lines taken from: Elegy in a Country Churchyard.