After his impressive graveside appearance at the climax of last week’s opening instalment of Jericho, Bamford (Mark Addy) returned to set the tone growling “I’m not here for your poor man’s ale” at the barmaid before the credits rolled.
The railway investigator was on the trail of the missing ‘Red’, the navvy responsible for the explosion which cost a life and inadvertently triggered his own death, at the hands of young master George Quaintain.
Fearing for her son’s safety, Annie’s impulse was to push her co-conspirator Johnny Jackson (Hans Matheson) away. However, by insisting he seek alternative accommodation she inadvertently opened the door to Bamford as a lodger, bringing the threat even closer to home. With all the pressure brought to bear, expected both to both forget his former life and live with a horrendous secret, it is no wonder that her lad bolted.
At the big house, the details of Isabella Lambton’s financial support held a surprise; to gain control of her funds she must be married and she suggested a match with Blackwood. He seemed less than enthusiastic, having been bitten before, and we anticipate some almighty strife when Epiphany hears of the development. Although lightly featured so far, Martina Laird’s domestic is calling out for attention and we hope to see much more from her.
Back in Jericho, Bamford’s lucky discovery of the weapon which did for Red caused Poldark-style problems; various members of the male cast were called upon to be shirtless, first to check for knife wounds and then in a hastily arranged wrestling match.
Purportedly to smoke out the villain, a fighter not expected to be bright enough to cover his tracks, Johnny and his cocksure pal Dagger managed to lose. Unfortunately, the “Prince” lost with a touch too much grace, again raising suspicions that his background is a little more rarefied than that of your average navvy.
For his part, Ralph Coates (Clarke Peters) seems well ensconced in his new master’s employ, agreeing to begin construction at the far side of the valley rather than have men sat idle. Coates’ rightly intuited that Bamford would suspect his involvement in the explosion and he was discovered intercepting the post.
While we were almost swayed by his argument of offering strong leadership, Bamford clearly was when sweetened by a handsome bribe. The inspector’s decision to hold his tongue was well played by Addy and we found ourselves genuinely disappointed in the otherwise honourable man who seemed so easily bought.
Amongst all the tensions, perhaps the high point of this second episode was the hint of redemption for former Foreman Thornhill (Richard Ridings), who chose not to make the recently widowed Hattie endure her desperately chosen method of raising the rent. He claims they are not “savages”.
We wonder if, when the truth of Red’s death is revealed, he will be proved right?
Aired at 9pm on Thursday 14 January 2016 on ITV.
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