Show Discussion: Murder Island

By | October 4, 2021

Tuesdays, 9:30pm,
C4

Ian Rankin has killed someone on a Scottish Island and eight amateur sleuths will spend six episodes trying to answer the question whodunnit? Of course Iain Rankin hasn’t actually murdered anyone and no actual murder has taken place, this is a fictional world he’s written that our real contestants, with the help of the real police and actors, will have to figure out for £50,000.

If this sounds a bit like The Murder Game… you’re right! But unlike with a proper real-life investigation we don’t think the people with the poorest procedural skills will get sent out to their deaths. We quite enjoyed The Murder Game‘s slightly ridiculous gothic-y ambience, and the guy who was rubbish but basically won by flipping heads six times in a row. Whilst I suspect this is probably going to err on the side of procedural realism, we hope there’s enough atmosphere and frequent revelation to keep us hooked.

The Murder Game was EIGHTEEN years ago if you want to feel old. Since then Armchair Detectives has had a stab (as it were) at the real-people-solving-fictional-cases a few years back but we can’t think of much else off of the top of our heads. Most TV detective dramas come to a conclusion within 1-2 hours, will we be glued for six? Let us know what you think in the comments.

11 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Murder Island

  1. Joey Clarke

    I thought it would be a different murder each week with the worst performing detective being sent home and the detective that solves the final murder win the £50,000 jackpot.

    Reply
  2. Oliver R

    The most sublime take on the format on grown-up telly was of course the always delightful Murder in Successville.

    Reply
  3. Mark

    Anyone watching? It’s reminding me a lot of the murder game but too many flashbacks

    Reply
  4. Brig Bother Post author

    I get that this sort of thing is a bit of a TV holy grail (I noticed TV types going a bundle on it), but it’s incredibly difficult to get right – I’d happily read the book of Ian Rankin’s Murder Island which is likely to be a tight fiction, this is just people being average detectives just being given things because otherwise there’s no show. And it can’t be too quick as there are six weeks to pad out. At least The Murder Game tried to be a bit fun, even if it’s formatty nature meant it was completely ridiculous.

    I don’t think it helps that all the key bits of evidence were found “by the team” and not from the amateur sleuths, and yet if these things aren’t given away there’s no story progression. In terms of a narrative, I think for this sort of thing to work it needs to get pretty batshit pretty quickly – all the story coming at the end of the ep needed to come earlier for the interest.

    As it is do I care right now who the murderer is? No. Do I care who wins? No. Is the acting any good? Not really. Have they made the police procedural interesting? Not really. Am I having any fun? A smigeon towards the end but that’s all I can suggest. Am I going to keep watching? Pass.

    Reply
  5. Brig Bother Post author

    One number not a trend, but 1.2m for ep 1 I’m hearing, starting at 1.5m and dropping under a million as the show progressed.

    Holy Grail remains Holy Grail.

    Edit: Although I’m sure it’ll add loads in catch-up.

    Edit Edit: Really interested to see how C4 spin this actually. In theory, 1.15m would make C4 Top 15, in that sense it’s done alright. But 5m were watching the end of Bake Off and it kept barely any of them despite the promo and it lost half of its viewers as the hour progressed. For me difficult to declare it as anything other than a bit disappointing, but it’s not a complete failure.

    Reply
  6. David

    It wasn’t great, but I like playing along. Here are a few initial thoughts:

    1) Why is Alicia running? Why doesn’t she have a car? The place was in the middle of nowhere. Which suggests that she went there with Charly and was already there when whatever happened happened. We know that Charly is a lesbian, so was she sleeping with the enemy?

    2) We know that Charly went to the island because she was running from something. Was that because she found out she was pregnant? But if she already knew she was pregnant, why would there be a pregnancy test? You don’t do a pregnancy test if you already know you are pregnant. It has been assumed that the pregnancy test was Charly’s, but maybe not. Whose, then? Jean’s? But when Jean finds it she seems angry and surprised. Maybe its Alicia’s.

    3) I don’t buy the eco development as a motivation for murder. Charly may have been a nuisance but didn’t have enough power or influence to stop anything from going ahead. Not from what we’ve seen so far, anyway.

    4) Charly says to the landlords wife something like “We’ll forget about what happened in Glasgow.” Then it is casually slipped in that Freddie is a Glaswegian. Thin, but there might be something there.

    Reply

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