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Line of Duty recap: Catchphrases, cash and a very watery detour

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Line of Duty recap: Catchphrases, cash and a very watery detour
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C-12 are cooking with gas: the third instalment of Line of Duty’s sixth season gave us a big reunion, a dramatic murder attempt and a final twist we’ll be playing over in our minds until next Sunday, not to mention plenty of furtive gazes from behind office blinds (blinds of duty? Wait, come back…)

Spoilers abound as we recap all the (highly stressful) goings-on below, so fasten your seat belts, open your passenger windows and don’t read on unless you’ve already caught up with episode three.

Cheat sheet

Ryan, left, once again proves himself to be an absolute wrong’un

/ BBC/World Productions/Steffan Hill

  • A witness comes forward, claiming to have seen Terry Boyle arguing with the Chis (him again) in the pub. He is brought back to the station by PC Ryan Pilkington, of course, who cruelly promises he’s still Terry’s “best mate” while reminding him to keep quiet in the interview.
  • Terry tells Kate Fleming and Jo Davidson that there was “another man” in the pub with him – and that said man was the one involved in Gail Vella’s murder, not him. It’s clear that he is extremely distressed, so Davidson conveniently calls off the interview just as it seems he might open up.
  • Suspicions raised, Kate is back doing what she does best: following a hunch. She trails the police car transporting Terry and Ryan back to his accommodation and notices that they’re using a new route, one that takes them down some dodgy country lanes. Ryan then grabs control of the wheel from his colleague Lisa, veering the car straight into a massive lake in the most outrageously watery murder attempt on British telly since Corrie’s Richard Hillman ploughed his Ford Galaxy into Weatherfield Canal.

DC Chloe Bishop, aka AC-12’s only competent new hire in recent years

/ BBC/World Productions/Steffan Hill

  • Poor Lisa doesn’t make it out alive, thanks to Ryan, but Terry does. A soggy Kate fires off a text to Steve ‘I’m a DI now’ Arnott, who summons her over to AC-12 HQ to share her concerns with boss fella Ted Hastings. Just seeing Steve and Kate emerging from the lift together boosted my serotonin levels significantly, but the gaffer is not so easily won over. “This department is grateful for your cooperation,” he tells Kate, with all the warmth of a self-checkout.
  • AC-12’s new protégé DC Chloe Bishop (there must have been a shake up at HR since last season, because she’s the first new recruit in ages to be a. highly competent and b. not a total wrong’un – yet) has got hold of some of Vella’s unpublished interview footage, including tense chats with Chief Constable Philip Osborne and Police and Crime Commissioner Rohan Sindwhani about the force’s collusion in historic child sex abuse cases.
  • Hastings is summoned for a meeting with Sindwhani and DCC Andrea Wise, where he’s told in no uncertain terms to close the investigation into the fourth corrupt officer leading the network of bent coppers: in other words, stop trying to make H happen, Ted, it’s not going to happen.
  • Steve has once again decided to make the not inconsiderable journey from somewhere in the Midlands to somewhere on Merseyside to visit Steph, John Corbett’s widow, after she landed him in it with Hastings over his codeine habit. No idea why he had to  drive halfway up the M6 to have a meeting that could have been a phone call – but he’s certainly suspicious about her contact with his boss.
  • It’s not long before he’s back again – here’s hoping his route doesn’t take him over the Mersey Gateway bridge, because that £2 toll soon adds up! – and going for his time-honoured tactic of getting romantically involved with someone he probably shouldn’t. He and Steph sleep together only in the most literal sense: as Steve reminds us, he’s still having problems in that department because of his awful back injury.
  • Never afraid to mix business and pleasure, Steve starts swabbing Steph’s house as soon as she heads off on the school run, before finally finding… drum roll please… a big old stash of cash in the attic.
  • If you had ‘Jackie Laverty in a freezer’ on your episode three bingo card, you’re in luck. AC-12 have tracked down TV’s most notorious chest freezer to a rubbish dump; a DNA test on a blood sample brings back a match for Laverty, finally linking the OCG responsible for her death to Vella’s murder, too.
  • Central Police’s least charismatic man is finally having his moment in the spotlight. I’m talking, of course, about the one and only Superintendent Ian Buckells, a man so boring he has decorated his office with stock images of people playing golf. Davidson tells Kate that he was responsible for bringing Ryan onto the team, not her, while Kate’s research reveals that the witness who identified Terry was previously linked to Buckells, too. The mess up with the surveillance in episode one? Also Buckells. Missing records about the Vella burglary? In Buckells’ boot, mate.
  • So, has Buckells been the bad guy all along? Davidson implies as much to Kate, telling her that she brought her onto the Murder Investigation Unit to take him down. They head over to AC-12, where Buckells will presumably have to face the big beep and a Reg-15.
  • But it’s not over yet. Back at Davidson’s maximum security flat, she’s booting up her laptop and… she’s logging in to OCG MSN, aka the online messaging network used by the gang, telling her contact it’s ‘all sorted.’ The ellipsis on screen shows us that someone is typing, but the credits kick in before we can find out who…

The verdict

Poor Steve, right, is in a bad way

/ BBC/World Productions/Steffan Hill

Good Lord, that was tiring. From the moment Ryan Pilkington told the poor unsuspecting Lisa (RIP) that they’d be taking a detour, warning bells started to sound (we’ve seen series two – we know nothing good can come of a last minute route change, just ask Lindsay Denton). The tension barely let up from there: even outside of that watery set piece, scenes from Steve’s trainwreck of a personal life were pretty stressful to watch, not least when he started washing down the painkillers with red vino and, erm, Coronas.

Steph Corbett’s ‘just say no’ drugs PSA couldn’t have come at a better time, but it seems to have had a limited effect: with AC-9 carrying out regular testing, could our boy be getting slapped with a Reg-15 some time soon? We really hope not, purely because he’s obviously really enjoying being able to announce himself as ‘DI Arnott’ whenever he and his waistcoat arrive at a crime scene.

Speaking of ill-advised wines, things took a turn for the meta when, back at the bar, Davidson joked to Kate that AC-12 “must get a pound every time anyone says OCG,” which doubled up as a self-aware dig from Jed Mercurio about his love of acronyms. From namechecks of Tony Gates and Jackie Laverty to Vella’s interview footage to the reappearance of the prison officer who poured boiling water on Denton (now she’s roughing up poor old Farida Jatri, who has been remanded in custody after a consignment of burners were found at her property), there were yet more callbacks to cases past. These self-referential nods are a bit of an acquired taste:  they’ve always helped build the texture of the show, but keeping up with them is sometimes exhausting.

After a few episodes of respite from the overarching ‘H’ conspiracy and the hunt for the elusive ‘fourth man,’ Hastings’ chat with the DCC brought it back to the forefront of our minds: surely a big revelation is not far off. Perhaps we’ll even find out who everyone’s been chatting to on OCG MSN.

Burning questions

Who was in the pub with Terry and the Chis?

Three episodes in and we still can’t stop talking about the Chis. After Terry was questioned by Kate and Davidson, we now know that there was another man in the pub boasting about having bumped off Vella – but it might not have been Carl Banks. After that grim detour via the canal, Ryan certainly seems like a likely suspect: not only did he warn Terry to keep quiet in the interview, he then tried to drown him afterwards.

Is Buckells bent or just a very dim pawn in Davidson’s game?

Is Buckells, right, bent? Or just incredibly dim?

/ BBC/World Productions

The evidence against DSU Buckells stacked up suspiciously well in the final moments of the episode – almost too well, you could say. Indeed, the sudden discovery of the Vella files in his car reminded me of when Dot dumped a gym bag full of burner phones in Steve’s boot to frame him as the Caddy. Speaking of golf, the scene in which Buckells sat on his desk swinging a club around was trolling of the highest order. Buckells is far too much of a jobsworth to be picking up freelance shifts with the OCG or moonlighting as a criminal mastermind – surely he is being set up.

That said, it’s worth noting that for an objectively dreadful copper, he has managed to ascend the ranks with dramatic speed, rising from Inspector to Superintendent over the course of five series (meanwhile poor old Steve has only just been bumped up to DI). Perhaps he has some friends in high places after all.

What are Kate and Ted cooking up?

When Kate arrived to break the news of the attempt on Terry’s life, Ted was suspiciously, almost performatively chilly with the wee girl. Yes, he memorably declared last week that her ‘goose was cooked’ (read: she’d burned all her bridges with AC-12 after snitching on them to Davidson) but we know Ted to be an affable, forgiving fella, almost to a fault. The significant glances they exchanged during Kate’s two visits to AC-12 HQ, and the hint of a smile from the gaffer at the close of the episode, can only lead us to deduce that they’re working on some kind of deep cover mission together.

Will Steve confront Ted about the money in Steph’s attic?

Steve clearly thinks Steph’s lavish widescreen telly lifestyle on the Mersey Riviera is pretty suspect. After her call to Hastings about his drug use, it seems he might have started to make a link between them, prompting him to look into her financial records and do a sneaky search of her attic after their awkward sleepover. Will he take Ted to task over the money – or will he use this dirt as a bargaining chip when he’s inevitably pulled up over his codeine habit?

The Ted Hastings catchphrase-ometer

Like the battle, geddit?

/ BBC/World Productions/Chris Barr

After last week brought back Hastings’ greatest hits, episode three gave us the remix. ”My actions and the actions of my officers are determined byone thing only – and that is the letter of the law” was a mad hybrid of two old favourites. Then came a new spin on another treasured catchphrase, when he reminded DCC Wise: “My name’s Hastings, maam, I’m the epitome of an old battle.” All this in the space of about two minutes. We are not worthy.

Line of Duty series six airs on Sunday nights on BBC One. Series one to five are available to stream on BBC iPlayer

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The Duchess Countess by Catherine Ostler review

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The Duchess Countess by Catherine Ostler review
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eghan Markle is not the very first duchess to lead to a media feeling by speaking her truth. In 1776, Elizabeth Chudleigh, “calling herself Duchess Dowager of Kingston”, became headline news in London when she confronted a demo for bigamy just before the Residence of Lords.

Information of her magic formula very first relationship, her disloyal team, her vengeful in-laws and her suicide try gripped culture. Tickets for the trial in Westminster Hall were the hottest in town, with an viewers which integrated Queen Charlotte, James Boswell and Horace Walpole.

The highlight of proceedings was Elizabeth’s individual testimony. “My words will flow freely from my heart, adorned simply just with innocence and reality,” she began. But many people did not consider her, dismissing her damningly as “an actress”.

This explosive demo lies at the heart of Catherine Ostler’s new biography of Chudleigh, but we do not get there at this pivotal instant right until two thirds of the way by the reserve. The establish-up is above 250 webpages, but if you thrill to the trivialities of 18th-century aristocratic life then you’re in for a treat. Ostler’s CV contains stints as editor of both ES magazine and Tatler, so there is not a peerage or princely title for which she is not geared up to go the full Debrett’s. Her footnotes are a pleasure in by themselves.

And to Ostler’s obvious delight, Chudleigh’s lifestyle is like the longest and most jaw-dropping society tale you have ever browse. She was born in 1721, way down the food stuff chain as the daughter of a younger son of a baronet. Her father died when she was 5, leaving her household dependent on the kindness of strangers.

Thankfully for Elizabeth, she was exceptionally wonderful as well as formidable. By means of favours and attraction, she managed to gain herself a place at court docket as maid of honour to the Princess of Wales. This arrived with a wage of £200 a year (around £40,000 currently), and delivered an entrée into the fairy-tale world of her dreams.

Ostler paints a glittering image of London in the reign of George II, with the boom in neo-classical architecture, the outstanding patronage of the arts that fuelled the occupations of Handel, Reynolds and Gainsborough, and the increase of journalism as “an incipient always-on variety of social media”.

She also provides a shut-up of what she calls “the psychodrama of the Hanoverian succession”, with the bitter rivalry amongst the “foul-mouthed and sexually rapacious” old king and his cultivated son, Frederick, Prince of Wales. There are bisexual royal affairs, scheming politicians, and limitless, limitless get-togethers. It’s all terrifically entertaining: if you liked Bridgerton, you are going to really like this.

At the centre of this social whirlwind was Elizabeth, and every thing was going effectively till she produced the impetuous conclusion in 1744 to marry a penniless but handsome younger navy officer for the duration of a summer months getaway in Hampshire. Augustus Hervey was the grandson of an earl, but way down the line for the title. An elementary oversight by Elizabeth, but Jane Austen hadn’t but been born to information her.

Fortunately only a handful of men and women witnessed the wedding day in a personal chapel, and when Hervey returned to sea, Elizabeth was equipped to preserve her relationship key. This was vital if she was to keep her salary as a maid of honour, a function for which only spinsters were being eligible.

Although all the notoriety of Elizabeth’s subsequent everyday living stemmed from this youthful mistake, it also turned her into what Ostler sees an early sort of modern womanhood. Now removed from the marriage sector but not able to say why, Elizabeth was forced into the job of strong, impartial female with an air of secret about her.

Currently being officially unmarried experienced its rewards. Perhaps the greatest was being able to keep lender accounts and property in her own identify, and thus to take care of her life as she preferred. But what Elizabeth favored was a lifetime of extra, and for this she needed a lot more than £200 a year.

Enter the Duke of Kingston. Elizabeth met “the handsomest guy in England” around 1750 and they fell in adore, with the duke’s big fortune adequate to fund her each individual whim. She siphoned off his funds and developed a Knightsbridge mansion termed Chudleigh Residence, the place she reigned as mistress in her have right.

Eventually, the estranged Hervey, now a naval hero and seeking to marry, decided to sue for divorce. A lot of issues adopted right before an ecclesiastical courtroom declared Elizabeth’s relationship void and she was ready to marry Kingston in 1769, on her 48th birthday.

As Duchess of Kingston, Elizabeth’s investing only amplified. Ostler is fantastic on the information of her decadence, specially at the Kingston seat of Thoresby, the place a new residence was created at extortionate price. The lake had its own flotilla, such as a scaled-down 50-gun frigate.

All this came crashing down when the duke died in 1773. His bitter nephews have been established to get back the Kingston fortune, and set about proving Elizabeth’s relationship was bigamous. Cue the sensational trial.

Elizabeth dropped the scenario, which means she was stripped of her Kingston title. The reality that Hervey had unexpectedly ended up as Earl of Bristol, making her a countess, was no consolation. The only salvation was that she was equipped to retain Kingston’s revenue and attributes for her life time, as stated in his will.

With this massive fortune she set about living a lavish everyday living in exile. She did nothing by halves, making a deluxe yacht to get her to St Petersburg, the place she befriended Catherine the Good and created a mansion comprehensive with its individual vodka distillery. When this failed to satisfy her she purchased a Paris townhouse and started rebuilding it. Soon after that ran into hassle, she obtained a chateau from the Sun King’s excellent grandson and renamed it Chudleigh.

When Elizabeth died in Paris in 1788, she left guiding a path of debt and diamond-studded chaos. Her will was a mess, and her physique lay putrefying for days for the reason that there was nobody still left to consider obligation. It was a sorry end.

Ostler concludes by describing Elizabeth as a “proto-feminist”, a powerful girl who took “revenge on England’s patriarchy”. She unquestionably makes her case well. The story romps along with excellent design and style and gusto, and her research is impeccable – even though some scholars may balk at her choice to search for a present day diagnosis for Elizabeth’s frequently extreme conduct (a psychiatrist indicates borderline character condition).

This invocation of mental well being challenges and the fight versus patriarchy is a quite recent just take. Significantly less charitable audience may prefer Horace Walpole’s unique evaluation. “I was weary of her folly and self-importance lengthy in the past,” he wrote following Elizabeth’s death, “and now glance on her only as a big bubble that is burst.”

The Duchess Countess: The Woman who Scandalised a Country by Catherine Ostler (Simon & Schuster, £25)

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