TONY ON TV: Crime continues to rise in the world of television

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FIGURES for violent crime are down, but it’s a different matter in TV land.

And I’m not talking about ITV’s revamped wake-up TV, ‘Good Morning Britain,’ as the jury’s still out on how well BBC import Susanna Reid (who is reported to be on a £1million contract) and team are consigning the “dead-in-the-water” ‘Daybreak’ to the scrap heap amid all the other bodies littering the schedules.

The weekend crime wave, which spilled over into the week, started on Sunday on ITV1 in the windswept north-east with determined detective ‘Vera’ (played with clear diction by Brenda Blethyn unlike others in last week’s much criticised ‘Jamaica Inn’ on BBC) as she investigated the death of a pensioner found stabbed to death on a Newcastle train at the height of the rush hour.

The following day there was different lilt to the accent as the action moved to Aberystwyth in mid-Wales for ‘Hinterland’ (BBC4), a TV first for this thriller filmed in English and Welsh, as ex-Met DCI Matthias (Tom Harrington) checks out the suspicious death of an elderly woman who used to be the head of a children’s home in a case that mirrors some real-life horror stories.

If you had turned over to ITV1 at the same time you would have been zooming around Manchester in ‘Prey,’ a tense, three-part drama, in which the police are after one of their own.

He’s popular CID sergeant Marcus Farrow (John Simm) who goes on the run in the city, vowing to clear his name, when he is suspected of the murder of his wife and child, not sure of whether his pursuers are out to help him or put him behind bars.

The city stays in focus later in the week with real-life action in ‘British Gangsters: Faces of the Underworld’ (Quest, Friday) as presenter Bernard O’Mahoney (who started his travels last week in Glasgow) speaks to three members of Manchester’s Quality Street Gang.

This group consisted of car dealers, club owners, ex-boxers, scrap merchants and businessmen including Jimmy ‘The Weed’ Donnelly, who had a Thin Lizzy song named after him.

I’m still waiting for this 1976 rock anthem ‘Johnny the Fox meets Jimmy the Weed’ to feature on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ as the latest series continues to rack up a high recycling quota of wannabee stars, if Saturday’s show was anything to go by.

But then that’s nothing new as the run-up for ‘Eurovision’ gets underway next Tuesday on BBC3 -- proof that it’s been more of the same for the past 58 years, so why should this year’s songfest be any different.