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Watched: Colonel March

Whilst just about every single streaming video service is utterly awful for archive TV of any sort (I can’t adequately express my disappointment with Britbox without resorting to an overly dramatic lament complete with nauseating wailing), I’ve found Prime Video to be the most enjoyable to rummage through for more of my kind of thing.

There is so much on there and so much of it is seemingly there with little thought for who might ever want to watch it or why anyone would ever want to watch it, it’s positively a treasure trove for folks like me. Especially folks like me in lockdown during a pandemic.

“Prestige TV”, or whatever you want to call it, isn’t really my bag. Sure, the odd thing comes along (hello, Tales From The Loop) that I’ll rush to sit through but really, it’s no substitute for a 25 minute evening show filled with a bunch of familiar, jobbing actors, giving their all for a script that’s clearly below their abilities but it’s enjoyable/it pays the bills/all of the above.

Likely to my shame, I’d not heard of Colonel March Of Scotland Yard before stumbling upon it on Prime. Boris Karloff is clearly having a great time as the titular March, head of The Department Of Queer Complaints (I know, it couldn’t be better). It’s pitched in the description as some sort of proto X-Files but it really isn’t, it’s your (now) very typical Quirky Detective Gets The Job Done That The Police Can’t affair. More Father Brown than Miss Marple. And of course, in true Scooby Doo fashion, whatever may seem to have a supernatural explanation really doesn’t.

It’s a joy from start to finish. There’s a fantastic run of guest stars including Christopher Lee, March’s foil Ames (played by Ewan Roberts) gets progressively more Scottish as the show goes on and whilst the solutions to the cases can sometimes border on the pulled out of thin air, it doesn’t matter a jot because everyone involved seems to be having a right lark and it’s quite infectious indeed.

I ended up huffing all 26 episodes in around a week and whilst it occasionally flags in the stories that require March and Ames to not spend the entire episode gently ribbing each other, I can’t say it lost my interest once. In fact, I came out rather enamoured with it and sad that it’d taken me this long to stumble upon.

The only real misfire being Eric Pohlmann’s larger than life French policeman, Goron who really, really, really hasn’t aged well at all. Mind, even that is salvaged somewhat by Pohlmann playing another, entirely different, role in one episode (as though nobody would ever notice) that’s somehow even worse.

Not really Pohlmann’s fault as I doubt anyone could have salvaged either of the roles given their, erm,”reliance on racist stereotypes” but I mention it as it’s certainly worth a note of caution for viewers unused to British TV’s often arse backward view of anyone not stereotypically English.

By RobF

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