CHRISTOPHER STEVENS on TV: DI Ray bristles like a hedgehog with wind

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Thin-skinned DI Ray bristles at any slight like a hedgehog with wind

DI Ray


Rip-Off Britain


Coppers aren’t just getting younger every year. If Detective Inspector Rachita Ray is any example, they’ve become alarmingly thin-skinned, too.

The Midlands police officer, played by Parminder Nagra in DI Ray (ITV), goes out of her way to be offended by everyone and everything they say.

An elderly shopper mistakes her for one of the staff in a supermarket and politely asks where the eggs are. DI Ray bristles like a hedgehog with wind.

Then her superintendent makes the unforgivable faux pas of asking where her family comes from. If looks meant demotion, the Super would be a constable back on traffic duty by now.

Parminder Nagra plays Detective Inspector Rachita Ray in DI Ray

When she’s promoted to the murder squad, she’s convinced this is a veiled racist insult. ‘I’ve been brought in to tick a box,’ she fumes to her boyfriend, who makes the basic sexist error of proposing marriage and producing an engagement ring. What a dinosaur!

Her first investigation is into the fatal stabbing of a Muslim man who was dating a Hindu girl. The case is given top priority as a ‘culturally specific homicide’ and DI Ray takes this as a personal slight, too.

Sometimes, her colleagues don’t say the wrong thing — and Inspector Woke gets huffy about that as well.

When Sergeant Tony Khatri (Maanuv Thiara) is assigned to her team as a family liaison officer, she asks him what languages he speaks. ‘Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi,’ he says, and fires the question back at her.

‘GCSE Spanish,’ she seethes. Poor old Sergeant Tony looks suitably chastised.

Unreconstructed old fossil that I am, I do wonder how — when she treats every bit of small talk as a ‘micro-aggression’ — she copes with the brickbats that are a copper’s daily lot.

Sea siren of the night: 

Seamstress Amy, 22, on the sewing contest Stitch, Please! (BBC3), was taking a break from her full-time job . . . as a ‘professional mermaid’ at a holiday park. ‘I can hold my breath for two minutes,’ she said. Good thing, or she’d be a fish out of water. 

This four-part drama, continuing tonight, is written by actress Maya Sondhi, who played PC Maneet Bindra in Line Of Duty. The script is crammed with creaking slang — lots of ‘innit bro’ and ‘it’s tote mad’ — that hampers the cast, even the usually excellent Gemma Whelan who plays DI Ray’s boss.

And with hectoring set-pieces that are engineered to make a point about police attitudes to ethnic minorities, the whole show has the air of a made-for-schools drama addressing social problems.

Angela Rippon, Julia Somerville and Gloria Hunniford proved a far better investigative team, as their morning series Rip-Off Britain (BBC1) returned.

The ladies, all in their 70s (and Gloria, remarkably, a shade older than that), look like the first choices to star as crusading Miss Marples, in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Richard Osman’s mega-seller The Thursday Murder Club.

Though the crimes they uncover stop short of murder, the trio highlighted some worrying stories.

Matt Ladkin was besieged by scammers after a pension provider accidentally leaked his personal data online — including his address, date of birth and national insurance number.

Criminals set up a bank account in his name and took out a £9,000 loan, as well as setting up numerous phone contracts — with all the bills going to Matt. He spent weeks trying to shut the accounts down. ‘It was like putting out fires everywhere,’ he said.

Tech expert David McClelland chipped in with some tips for staying safe online.

This is the sort of show where a cheesy disco soundtrack plays as the advice is reeled off.

At least you can snap your fingers and tap your foot as the fraudsters circle.

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