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I TALK A Touch of Cloth III: Too Cloth For Comfort

If you watched the first and second instalments of Charlie Brooker's A Touch of Cloth then you'll know just how brilliant it is, and the third instalment, A Touch Of Cloth III: Too Cloth For Comfort is just as brilliant, and just as funny, if not funnier.

For those who haven't seen A Touch Of Cloth before, it's a parody of a British cop drama and stars John Hannah as DI Jack Cloth and Suranne Jones as Anne Oldman (yes, an old man). Oh and if you haven't already guessed, the title is a nod to A Touch Of Frost, a detective series which starred David Jason and of course the euphemism "touching cloth" is also alluded to. Right from the word go, you get a sense that what you're about to watch isn't your normal police procedural, helped in part by the brilliantly repetitive opening titles, which haven't changed since the first two instalments.

There are certain rules to adhere to when watching A Touch Of Cloth; don't look away from the screen because some of the jokes are so subtle you may miss them, look behind the actors, because if you look at the posters on the wall, the signs above doors the people in the background, you'll see a lot of the crime drama cliches that are littered throughout each episode. And finally, when you've finished watching it, watch it again. There are some shows that lend itself to a second, third and even fourth viewing, and A Touch Of Cloth is definitely one.

John Hannah plays DI Jack Cloth, a maverick, heavy-drinker and haunted loner, who together with DC Anne Oldman, played by Suranne Jones (Coronation Street, Scott & Bailey) poke fun at the very best (and worst) of every police procedural ever written.Hannah and Jones were perfect choices to play the roles, and the two of them work so perfectly on screen that I wouldn't want to see an episode of A Touch A Cloth without them in it. So Charlie Brooker, if you're reading this, please don't ever write them out.

Oh and if you haven't seen the show and are reading the name Anne Oldman and thinking, "doesn't that sound like "an old man"?" then yes, you'd be right. In fact, you'll be pleased to hear that the show runs with this joke year in year out, scene after scene.

You could say that the fact the joke features so much in A Touch Of Cloth that it almost feels as though the show is beginning to parody itself. And that's no bad thing, because despite being over-used it still makes you laugh.

Joining the show for the third instalment is Karen Gillan (Doctor Who), who plays new recruit Kerry, Kerry Newblood. Karen is brilliant in this, and any Doctor Who fans out there will really get to see a different side to her as she puts in a very funny performance. I have to admit that I wasn't sure about her casting, but it doesn't take long to see why she was chosen.

Things get a lot more personal in the third instalment, as DCI Cloth investigates the grisly murder of his estranged brother terry (John Hannah in a wig). Catching his killer won't be easy, but at least he count on the support of his team, especially DC Oldman, who all of a sudden has found herself with a drinking problem.

Will there be a fourth instalment? Well there hasn't been an official announcement yet, but I really hope that there is. August will never be the same again without a new episode of A Touch Of Cloth to look forward to.

So whether you're planning to watch it for the first time, of if you've been watching since the beginning, you're in for a real treat. I go to a lot of screenings for TV shows but very rarely do I hear such a roar of laughter as I did when I went to preview this at the BFI in London.

I was lucky enough to be sat behind John Hannah, Suranne Jones and Charlie Brooker and I was fascinated to see how Charlie in particular would react when the audience would clap and cheer a particular moment, he seemed pleased, but never in  cocky way. Even if he was cocky, he'd have earn it because what he's created is bloody brilliant.

A Touch Of Cloth III: Too Cloth For Comfort airs Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th August at 9pm on Sky 1


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