Whitstable Pearl (Series 1 and 2) – DVD Review

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Whitstable Pearl (Series 1 and 2) DVD Review (1)

By Karl Hornsey

Clearly something is being done right with this crime drama based on the novels by Julie Wassmer, with series one currently airing on UKTV, series two released on this DVD set, and series three about to start filming. And it’s easy to see why viewers will continue to follow the series, which has at its heart seafood restaurant owner and private detective Pearl Nolan, played with genuine warmth and humour by Kerry Godliman.

This is the TV equivalent of slipping into a hot bath after a stressful day at work and having all the cares of the world disappear – it’s such an easy watch, with each episode wrapping up an individual case, while also moving along the narrative surrounding the main characters. For some, it will no doubt be predictable and a little safe, but it’s a tried and tested formula that works in the world of crime drama, and is akin to the likes of Agatha Raisin or, given its coastal setting, a very British Death in Paradise.

Whitstable Pearl (Series 1 and 2) DVD Review (2)The crime cases may not be the most complicated and you may find yourself successfully guessing the outcomes well before they happen, but that has an appeal to many people, who don’t want to be working out convoluted twists and turns. This is solid family entertainment as well, set in the Kent town where the sun shines more than enough to suggest that this series will lure the tourists down to the south coast, although maybe not as much as Doc Martin, which also sprang to mind while watching this series.

“Perfectly enjoyable”

Godliman is a great choice to play the lead role, following her success in Afterlife and Trigger Point, delivering some of the deadpan humour and funniest lines to perfection, without allowing her character to become, well, a caricature instead. Clearly running her restaurant comes second to her inquisitive nature and it’s a little curious how she always seems to be in the right place at the right time to glean information about the crimes involved, but if you just go with it, and let this series wash over you, then it’s perfectly enjoyable. Godliman is supported by Howard Charles, best known for his role in the BBC adaptation The Musketeers, as DCI Mike McGuire, whose initial exacerbation with Pearl soon develops into something more, with Frances Barber playing Pearl’s mother, and Robert Webb among the stars of the second series.

This isn’t groundbreaking or particularly original, but then it doesn’t claim to be. It’s the latest in a long line of entertaining, light and enjoyable British crime dramas, and in a world that can sometimes seem hard to understand, that’s actually rather refreshing.

‘Whitstable Pearl’ (series 1 and 2) is out now on DVD

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