A Touch of Cloth
|A Touch of Cloth|
|Created by||Charlie Brooker
|Written by||Charlie Brooker
|Directed by||Jim O'Hanlon|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||4 (2 series)|
|Running time||60 mins (inc. adverts)|
|Picture format||16:9 (1080i HDTV)|
|Original run||26 August 2012– present|
A Touch of Cloth is a British television comedy police procedural series created and written by Charlie Brooker and Daniel Maier. It is a parody of British detective and crime dramas, and stars John Hannah as title character Jack Cloth, a police detective with personal issues, and Suranne Jones as Anne Oldman, his bisexual colleague. The title is a play on the title of another detective series, A Touch of Frost, as well as the British euphemism "to touch cloth". Although considered a series, each "season" to date has consisted of only two episodes. To date, two such seasons have aired, with a third announced for broadcast in 2014 (already filmed and promoted at the end of Series 2, Episode 2).
Series 1 (2012)
Aired on 26th August, 2012
A Touch of Cloth is set around the life of former detective inspector Jack Cloth (John Hannah), who has quit after his wife was murdered. At the start of the first episode, Jack is called in to investigate a new killer, and assigned a new partner - DC Anne Oldman (Suranne Jones).
When they reach the crime scene, DC Asap Qureshi (Navin Chowdhry) leads them into apartment of a decorated war veteran who has been killed. Blood stains on the wall that indicate that the killer used a sword.
After inspecting the scene, Cloth and Oldman leave the room to be faced with Tom Boss (Julian Rhind-Tutt) – their Chief Constable. Boss informs them that he is fed up with the work done in the police department, and wants answers quickly and gives them a 2pm deadline.
After this, Cloth and Oldman go searching for a local thug named "Crossbow". They gain information to where here is from a boy on a bike, who tells them he’s at Datdere Yute Club. When they find Crossbow inside, he instantly leaves when he figures out that Cloth and Oldman are police officers.
Oldman then chases Crossbow on the rooftops, which leads to Crossbow’s capture and they put him in a jail cell. Oldman then goes to find Cloth, and finds him in a local bar where he tells her that he thinks that Crossbow is innocent. DC Des Hairihan (Adrian Bower) then comes into the bar and tells them that there has been another murder.
When they reach the body, they discover that, like the last victim, this one had been killed with a sword, except he had then been dismembered. They also realise that the killer must be athletic due to the size of the backswings when attacking the victim.
They then discover a third body, this time a woman. This victim, like the last, was also dismembered, but also with a receipt of a meal at the second victim’s restaurant.
Oldman then lets Cloth know that she doesn’t trust him after the way that he conducted the interview with Crossbow, and wants to interview the second victim’s wife on her own. In the interview, Oldman lets Claire (Raquel Cassidy) know that her husband was cheating on her with the third victim and this has made the department think of her as a suspect. During the interview, they find out that all the victims, and Claire, were part of a Jury in 1996, where Claire first met her husband. However, Claire cannot remember any details of the case other than a name, Berton Bradstock.
Aired on 27th August, 2012
The second episode follows the plot of the first, starting exactly where the first left off. It opens with Jack Cloth surrounded by his team in the police station. Cloth declares that the killer is focussing on former jurors from ‘the Bradstock case’, recapping the outcome of the last episode to the viewer. Cloth barks out orders to his team, including an order to find out all of the people involved with the Bradstock case and get all of the remaining jurors into a safe house. Cloth then starts writing evidence up on a clear board, with the camera switching between filming through the board and from behind Cloth - a small laugh at the way many crime dramas are filmed. An officer then walks into a clear board, again poking fun at the clear boards so often used in such TV shows. It is due to this evidence gathering involving the clear boards that the team realise Martin Bradstock is their prime suspect - he was jailed for killing his wife and released a day before the first murder. The next scene is Bradstock and his second in command, DC Anne Oldman, alone together working late in the office. A scene of very deliberate, slight romance follows, with the words "sexual tension" even showing on a file in the office. The tension is temporarily interrupted by Oldman’s phone, which has Katy Perry’s "I kissed a girl" as its ring-tone. It is revealed that it was Oldman’s partner, Gemma (Jeany Spark)  and that Oldman is bi-sexual. Bradstock has a flashback to his wife’s death, at which point Oldman finds the list of jurors from the case. All of the jurors are interrupted from their everyday life and escorted to a safe-house. DC Des Hairihan confirms to Bradstock that all of the victims were killed with the same weapon, a sword. After a press conference, Cloth goes to visit an ex officer, DCI Bill Ball (Brian Cox) who is gardening. When the name Martin Bradstock is mentioned. Ball cuts through the neck of his topiary tree and freezes. Ball is reluctant to give up information about Bradstock, but eventually reveals that he and his team framed Bradstock for the murder he was convicted of back in 1996. The search for Bradstock continues, with Oldman and Harihan asking if Bradstock has been seen, searching all over town with a picture. Oldman returns home, where her partner Gemma explains that she cannot remain with Oldman due to the fact she is so over-committed to her work. The last thing Oldman asks Gemma is if she has "seen this man", as she holds up the picture of Bradstock. The team is called to a location given by a member of the public after the press conference where Bradstock may be, however it turns out to be a false lead. Another false lead prompts a chase through a shopping mall and the tackling of an innocent woman; however, the woman is able to lead the team to Bradstock’s dead body. Tom Boss declares that the only way Bradstock could find a suspect is if they were dead, and tells Oldman that he is recommending Cloth for suspension. Cloth’s late wife appears to him in the toilets, telling him to "listen to Anne Oldman" and that the answer to who murdered her is closer than he thinks. It is decided that the killer is sending them a message, and that they may have access to the police records, such as the location of the safehouse the remaining jurors are being kept at. The team rush down, but all of the jurors are dead with the exception of one who is unconscious. Cloth does not take this well, blaming himself and holding a gun against his neck. He is talked out of suicide by Oldman. He then sees his wife again and walks straight into his boss, Tom Boss again. Boss tells Oldman that he is suspending Cloth as of the next morning. After an exceptional scene in the hospital room of the remaining juror, Cloth finds out it was an ex-police officer who has been murdering the jurors due to them laughing at his voice during the Bradstock trial. At the station, Oldman finally realises that it has in fact been Tom Boss who has been committing all of the murders and phones Cloth. Boss arrives at the bedside of the remaining juror and confesses via a spoken flashback. As he is about to strike the juror, Cloth jumps out from the cover the juror was thought to be under. A chase follows, ending on the roof of a building site. Boss produces a gun, and declares to Cloth that it was in fact him that killed Cloth’s wife. Oldman reaches the roof and Cloth tries to rush Boss. Boss shoots him and Cloth falls to the ground. Oldman kicks the gun out of Boss’s hand, only for Boss to appear to jump backwards off the roof. Both Cloth and Boss survive, due to an electric razor stopping the bullet in Cloth’s pocket and a landing a few feet down stopping Boss from falling far. Boss is taken away in an ambulance. The episode ends with Cloth and Oldman walking together into the distance.
Series 2 (2013)
Aired on 25th August, 2013
The first episode of the second season starts off at a bank, as Todd Carty queues up. A group of four men prepare to rob the bank as the leader gives orders "Straight in, straight out, no messing". The men pull up outside the bank and rush in, threatening people to get on the floor. One of the robbers forces the bank manager to open the safe. Whilst half of the group are taking the money from the safe, one of the robbers confronts Todd Carty. Both threaten each other to drop the gun when Todd recognises the robber to be known as "twitch"(Ben Bishop) and works for "Macratty". A gunshot is heard which leads to Todd and Twitch shooting each other, and the rest of the group leave the bank with the money, leaving people shocked and terrified. DC Asap Qureshi leads DC Anne Oldman and DC Des Hairihan to the crime scene as they where obstructed from Hope Goodgirl (Anna Chancellor) protesting to become a future mayor. DC Anne Oldman approached the bank manager to get insight to what happened and get a drawing of a tattoo of one of the suspects. After suspecting the scene, Tom Boss walks into the bank and informs the detectives he want the suspects caught. As Tom Boss leaves the crime scene, he gets hit with questions from reporters outside and gets asked about rumours regarding his leadership, that nobody trusts him because of what he carried out the previous year. Tom Boss apologises for any inconvenience and tried the close the issue as the reporter asks if his apology included Jack Cloth. The detectives reply was Jack Cloth is history, he has quit the force and his name is no longer to be mentioned as DC Anne Oldman runs up and holds up a cloth stating "Contact Jack Cloth". The next scene is where Jack Cloth is at the cemetery visiting his wife and was approach by DC Anne Oldman asked for help into the investigation and was informed Todd was dead. Both Detectives talk about Michael Macratty (Stephen Dillane) in the restaurant as he is into drugs, guns and other criminal activity. DC Anne Oldman tries to convince Cloth they could catch him but Jack think’s it’s impossible as they don’t know how he looks like and cannot be seen just like a ghost. After a long hard think Jack Cloth re-joins the force and rounds up all detectives in the police station and point’s Macarty as prime suspect as they find out he was been involved with scrap metal thefts, robbery and murder. Jack Cloth wants the detectives to find out everything about the prime suspect such as who he know’s, where he goes, is he taken? How crispy does he like his baken- as he is eager to know the real macrarty? Cloth bumps into Tom Boss in the police station and offers Jack a handshake for friendship and peace but Jack was not having it as he still does not forgive him for killing his wife Kate but agrees to shake his hand for sake of Todd. Jack, Oldman and Hairihan now go to spy on one of the Macratty's believed scrap yard and approach "Bullock" (Tony Pitts) and questions him where Macratty is. DC Anne Oldman spots the tattoo on his arm which matched the tattoo which the bank manager sketched out. Back at the police station Jack points Bullock as lead straight to Macrarty because of the matching tattoo and decides to go undercover in this investigation. DC Anne Oldman thinks it’s not a good idea as it is a risk for Jack losing his life but Jack disagrees as he has nothing to live for. DC Anne is interrupted from a phone call by Hope (candidate for mayor) and invites Anne for dinner to discuss her future. Later that night Jack prepares to go undercover to the scrap-yard and asks his fellow detectives for questions they might ask about him. Jack gets into his car (a stolen Ferrari) and drives into the scrap yard. Bullock pulls over Jack and asks his name and replys "Jack Copper" then starts cracking jokes with him. Now the stakes are in, Bullock leads Jack to Macratty where they walk through a night club and meet Macratty himself. Jack happens to get on the wrong side of Macratty then one of Macratty’s hitmen becomes insecure and puts a gun to his head, but then offers merchandise to Macratty. Bullock pulls out a kilogram of heroin from Jack’s trousers and Macratty is happy to work with Jack because the heroin is good. Back at the police station, Jack shows a picture of Macratty to his fellow detectives and confesses that they need to keep supplying Macratty heroin to earn his trust but Asap objects as it is against all establish rules of narrative. DC Anne Oldman meets with Hope Goodgirl at the restaurant for dinner as they discuss about rising matters. Hope is hoping to become the new mayor and wants Anne to become the new chief of police replacing Tom Boss but Anne trusts Tom as chief of police. In this next scene shows Jack undercover in the club with Macratty and offers a big job regarding "Big Man" and lays the foundation if he betrays him there will be consequences. Macratty calls over one of the dancer’s to lead Jack to the back of the club to keep him company. The dancer feels up Jack but Jack didn’t want her to open up his shirt because of cables and radio. The dancer puts her hand in his jacket pocket which had lost connection with the detectives and where worried in case there cover was blown but was just a razor. The dancer convinces Jack to pretend to have sex with her because Macratty will throw her out if she doesn’t satisfy his male customers. As Macratty listens up outside, Jack’s radio comes back on and the detectives listen to them having sex which doubted the detectives which side he was really on.
The worker cry’s to Jack and says he is different and Macratty treats her like a dog and lied to her that he would get her CEO at Marks and Spencers. The dancer also told Jack that if anyone tried to helped to free her, they would be killed and asked Jack for help. Jack accepted he would help her.
Aired on 1st September, 2013
A Touch of Cloth has received generally mixed to positive reviews. In its review of the first series, The Guardian newspaper wrote that the show is "stuffed to the rafters with jokes", noting the variety of both good and bad jokes. Radio Times also commented on the hit-and-miss nature of the show: "while a lot of [the jokes] don’t stick ... when it’s funny, it’s deliriously so." Series 2 received similar critical response, with Time Out giving 3 out of 5 stars to the first episode and 2 out of 5 stars to the second episode. Again the show was jointly criticized and praised for its relentless jokes, with one critic calling the second series "black-hole dense with good gags" but saying he "couldn't wait for the experience to end."
A Touch of Cloth - The First Case was released on DVD in the UK on 3 September 2012. DVD release elsewhere has yet to be announced.
- "Cloth meets Oldman". 2012-08-26. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
- Plunkett, John (2011-08-26). "Charlie Brooker pens spoof crime drama for Sky1". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
- "A Touch of Cloth: Charlie Brooker's Top-Cop Show Clichés". 2012-08-26. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
- "A Touch of Cloth (TV Series)". 2012-08-26. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
- Wollaston, Sam. "TV review: Bad Sugar; A Touch Of Cloth; C4's 30 Greatest Comedy Shows; Murder: Joint Enterprise". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Seale, Jack. "A Touch of Cloth Series 1 Episode 1". Radio Times. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Harrison, Phil. "A Touch of Cloth". Time Out. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Tate, Gabriel. "A Touch of Cloth review". Time Out. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Jeffries, Stuart. "What Remains; Charlie Brooker's A Touch of Cloth 2; Vera: TV review". Retrieved 12 November 2013.
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