New Tricks has been around so long, it is hard to imagine the schedules without it. If it is not on BBC1, either with new episodes or repeats, then flick on Sky and it is nearly impossible not to find one. It is the QI of cop shows.

I always used to avoid it like bum plague. I have issues with programmes that revolve around the mantra of ‘the old ways were best’ or put a rose-tinted nostalgic view on institutions like the NHS or the police. Anyone under the age of 40 was derided by the characters. Shows like this were supposed to reduce our obsession with chasing youth, yet I can’t help feel that New Tricks is every bit as cynical in its pursuit of the ‘grey audience’. “Do you remember when the police were allowed to get rough with suspects and no-one bleated on about human rights, or sexism, or racism? Lovely, wasn’t it?” seemed to the message. It was TV to soothe the Daily Mail set. They even got Dennis Waterman to sing the theme tune (something that I didn’t think was allowed post-Little Britain).

So yes, I hated it. But something strange happened recently. I got into it. Really into it. I started to find the cases interesting. I found myself genuinely caring about the resolution. And it is all down to one man: Nicholas Lyndhurst.

Yes, who knew the guy that played Rodney called come to a straight-role with such gravitas and depth of soul. A recent episode, where we explored the background of the troubled relationship between him and his wife was quietly heart-breaking. It was a master class in how to tell a story. The character of Danny Griffin is an excellent antidote to the loud, crude, obnoxious Gerry Standing played by Waterman. Griffin is quiet but determined, getting results by carefully eroding away at the suspects and evidence until something takes shape.

Sadly, I feel the chance of accolades are slim. BAFTA likes too much grit in their lead actors, and anything voted for by the public tends to bypass the quietly brilliant in favour of the emotionally bombastic. But I doubt Lyndhurst worries about this. So long as his character continues to be carved out so carefully, every notch thoughtfully made, he will be happy to not place another glittering trophy on his mantelpiece. Still, no harm in giving him one is there?

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