Series 2, episode 3: the nightmare continues. Actually, for anyone who hadn't seen Series 1, Series 2 of Harbour Lights must have seemed like a passable(-ish) seaside crime show - a sort of Bergerac on the Jurassic Coast. Anyone who had seen series 1, however, must still have been wondering where on earth more than half the show's main characters, and all its human interest storylines, had disappeared to.
The body count for the first two episodes was two dead plus numerous beaten up, and the exploding vehicle count was two, including a motor caravan parked on the harbourside (which goes to show just how determined some councils are to stamp out unauthorised overnight parking). So we knew by now that we probably weren't going back to stories about inflatable whales and depressed pensioners. And indeed we weren't - instead we got three criminal brothers, armed with sawn-offs and holding Mike and Mel hostage in a remote cottage, while one brother's diabetic daughter lapsed into a coma from lack of insulin. Serious stuff.
It wasn't all serious though. Harbour Lights hadn't quite let go of its roots, so interleaved with the sawn-off stuff was a second story involving a pub quiz team comprising George and Steve Blade plus Tony Simpson having a comedy confrontation with the Havensea Babes, a ladies team which included Simpson's battleaxe former primary school teacher, a young blonde who kept rolling her eyes at Steve, and a lady of less certain age who kept giving George Blade lascivious winks. One moment it was "play it straight, Harbour Boy, or I'll finish you", the next Steve forgetting what a Hurricane was on the Beaufort scale because Blondie had batted her lashes. Mixing crime with lighter moments had been done before (not least on Heartbeat, Nick Berry's old show), but perhaps not to this extreme. It was as if the script had been done as a job share by writers from Taggart and My Family.
It was all reasonably entertaining though, and there was one glorious moment - a shot of Bridehaven in torrential rain with tourists huddled in shelters round the harbour. Now that's what I call the British seaside in summer. By the end the series body count had risen to three and a Cessna light aircraft had been mildly mistreated, but tragically there was still no sign of Aunt Nicholls and Elvis flying back in from the West Indies. Still, only three more to go.moreless