24 Hours in Police Custody

From the creators of BAFTA award winning 24 Hours in A&E comes Channel 4’s latest series 24 Hours in Police Custody. The show gives an insight into life at Luton police department, recording the 24 hour period in which detectives must gather evidence and decide whether to charge or release their suspect. The concept seems simple enough – if not potentially dull – however, this turned out to be the most compelling documentary I have watched all year.

This first episode, titled ‘The Conspiracy to Murder’, we follow the case of Mahboob Baig, who the detectives believe has played a key role in organising a shooting. Opening at 6:30am with the police arresting the suspect and searching his home, the 24 hour countdown begins. We watch the case in real time and suspense starts to build.

Perhaps the greatest aspect of this show is the unexpected humour provided in the form of DC Martin Hart – who can’t help but remind me of The Office’s David Brent.  An ex-holiday rep recently returned from Vegas, Hart is certainly a character, even joking with the suspect about working out and football results in between his questioning. The interview process itself is TV gold as we watch Hart transition into a stern interrogator, keen to make his suspect crack. I would never had imagined someone saying “no comment” in response to every question could be so gripping. As the episode progresses, I find myself on the edge of my seat, watching the sweat form on the brow of the suspect, his leg twitching, eyes flickering; I genuinely care about the outcome of the case.

This cutting edge documentary had everything you would expect from a fictitious drama – characters, a plot line, a climax – yet is a completely real and factual account of events. At the end of the hour I wanted to watch the whole series on Netflix, but unfortunately will have to wait until Monday for the next episode. Well done Channel 4, I am utterly hooked.

Our regular column ‘The Netflix Fix’ celebrates the increasingly important medium of television streaming – in truth though, Netflix is only one of many intriguing technological advancements that have changed the way consumers  enjoy their required dosage of entertainment in recent years.

Perhaps overlooked in this regeneration of the media industry is the move that British radio has made to make content more accesible and indeed, more innovative via the smartphone and tablet friendly app.

Radio has always been the most portable device: cars carried the soundwaves, builders brought it into freshly plastered bathrooms and it’s always been on summer lawns – informing the hips of teens which way to sway.

The iPlayer Radio App, which encompasses all BBC Radio stations (including local radio) entitles the audience to download shows for on-the-go listening, to devour  podcasts and archived shows and find brand new content that daytime radio generally leaves to the black hole of the internet.

It really is an exceptional example of the type of development (long overdue) that will give radio the respect it deserves and has lost in the wake of television’s “Third Golden Age” and film’s continued dominance.

Whether you’re wanting to tune into old episodes of the delicious Goon Show or ready to become embroiled in the maddening beauty of Mark Gatiss ‘s (Yes, Mycroft from Sherlock) Black Butterfly – which is a geniunely unique take on detective fiction starring his brilliant protaganist Lucifer Box (imagine an even more ostentatious Holmes and you’re somewhere close) then this is a must have app.

The times they are a’ changing and radio is changing with it – perhaps though, as rugged builders and sunsoaked teenagers proved, it was always going to happen.

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