Sunday, July 30, 2006

Without a Trace: Top Telly

I'm currently watching the Season 3 DVD of Without a Trace. It's an American cop show about Missing Persons. Truly superb. It's a subject which has always interested me. More than 100,000 people disappear each year in this country. How is that possible? Where do they go? What becomes of them? It's difficult to imagine what their familes go through. If I'd become an MP it's a subject I'd want to devlop a specialist interest in. The great thing about Without a Trace is that it's almost totally devoid of the schmalzy sentiment normally associated with such programmes. Believe me, there's not always a happy ending. Some of the storylines are truly gut-wrenching. It's astonishing this series isn't shown on prime time. Instead it's hidden away on E4 or More4. Treat yourself to the first series on DVD. I guarantee you'll then buy the next two.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

"If I'd become an MP it's a subject I'd want to devlop a specialist interest in."

Planning to do a john Stonehouse even before you get there ian. Now THATS being prepared!

Iain Dale said...

LOL I always was ahead of my time!

Chris Doidge said...

It's been on Channel 4 recently, at about 11am during the week. Think it's disappeared for the school holidays though.

PoliticalHack said...

It has been run on Ch 4 - 10pm on Mondays was the chosen slot. For some reason, the presence of the lovely Poppy Montgomery draws me to the show...

People disappear for a lot of reasons - some want to, some are victims of murder or suicide, some just become backbench MPs and are never heard of again....

phone cam foolery said...

I will tell you where they go Iian,
they didn't exist, phantom identities created by fraudsters

Reginald Iolanthe Perrin said...

I tried disappearing once, but no one took any notice!

Maggie Thatcher fan said...

You could start off by looking for Gordon Brown!!Where is he when all the shit is hitting the fan.
Not exactly what one might expect from someone who seeks the highest office???

EW in Hampstead said...

They venture on to Hampstead Heath and get spirited away by the (used) Condom Fairy to the Wham! mansion.

Eventually, they re-emerge from a giant UFO with WW2 navy pilots (hello sailor) etc.

The End.

permanent expat said...

It's been running on German TV (auf Deutsch) & on Portuguese TV in English with PT subs. I agree, an excellent series

Marsha said...

I like this show too!!!

Cllr Iain Lindley said...

...and not a word on the demise of the West Wing...

Anonymous said...

So glad you decided to return to Sunshine Desserts Reggie - you didn't get where you are today by running away.

Genuine said...

If you are going to plug something, at least make it something good. Iain Dale, crimestopper extraordinaire, how absurd.

Iain Dale said...

Geuine, perhaps I'm being thick, but what the hell are you on about? Am I not allowed to say in my blog that I like a particular TV programme? Jeez. Sometimes I wonder why people read this blog if all they do is whinge about what I write. End of whinge.

Genuine said...

Iain, you have mispelt my alias, perhaps you got a little carried away there. I don't know why you write a blog if you expect only comments that laud you and agree with you...actually no wait I do know why you do that. Please try not to be so personally affronted. End of comment.

Ross F said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't most of the missing persons only missing for a few days?

Obviously there are still a significant number that remain missing, but it is a minority of that 100 000.

Then again the figure might be an underestimate because of people who go missing and are never reported, when Fred and Rose West's victim's were uncovered many of them had been dead for decades without being reported, even children.


On a lighter note 'Without a Trace' does confirm the foolishness of those who claim that without a strong public service broadcaster good television can't be produced. The USA has been making so many high quality television dramas for the last 15 years or so, wheras quality output from the UK including the BBC is very scarce indeed.

Emma F shares the wealth said...

Ross f, yes, it was very very sad about the West victims apparent anonymity, but in some cases their disappearances were reported to the police; simply they were filed as yet more inexplicably missing people.

I think it's good Iain that you highlight this issue and I hope you get to progress it; particularly the cases of missing women and children should be pursued with more resources and greater organisation than is currently the case. The ads carried in supermarkets and the like are good, as are missing persons websites, but I feel the police could be better supported and funded in this area, with more specialist civilian workers and use of new technology. I am personally convinced that many missing women and children have been taken by sex criminals and we need to expose that if it's true, disgraceful and heart rending as it is. Belgium is probably happening here and we are just kept from the truth by lack of commitment to the issue.

SteveG said...

According to The National Missing Persons Helpline, 'According to Home Office estimates, about 210 000 people are reported missing in the UK each year. The vast majority return safe and sound within 72 hours - but thousands do not; the distress experienced during this time is when families need us most. State agencies such as the police are sometimes unable to help, leaving NMPH to fill the gap. NMPH receives thousands of missing persons reports every year, but on a positive note the charity helps to resolve 70% of cases it works on. Its helplines handle more than 150 000 calls per year.'

The The UK Police National Missing Persons Bureau provides figures for 'the average number of missing person reports received each year by the bureau. These averages are based on the last four years. In line with the role of the PNMPB these represent persons missing for 14 days or longer. However, not all forces submit all of their reports to PNMPB.' They have an average of 3332 reports on their books (almost 2000 of them adults) and 2886 are subsequently cancelled.

It's not clear how many of the alarmingly high number of under-14s who're reported missing are, in fact, actually with a parent who's also gone missing, but I'd suspect many of them must be.

Anonymous said...

Surely one should want to tackle the problem at it's source instead of the symptoms of it, no?

permanent expat said...

Iaian:

maybe this isn't the place to say it but I have commented on other threads, followed the 'instructions', and nothing appears, not even a 'disallowed'.
What, dear Mary, am I doing wrong?....or, lord forbid, is your mechanism sometimes faulty?
Your help would be appreciated.

oop norf said...

ross f - It's clear enough that the US can produce quality drama commercially, but that experience doesn't directly apply to this country because we have many fewer people, and therefore less advertising money to fund it.

What's less clear, even from the US, is that a commercial approach produces quality factual programming that actually is fair and balanced. A market ensures that people get the drama they want to see, but also the news they want to hear.

Serf said...

I "went missing", when I was about 8 or 9 years old, with my 5 year old sister.

We went for a walk, got a little ambitiousd and didn't return for about 5 hours. We got home completely oblivious to the trouble we had caused, until we noticed a policeman in the kitchen.

Richard said...

Is it just less people, and less advertising revenue?

Maybe it's the order of priorities. In the US, they have teams of scriptwriters for shows like The West Wing, producing scripts which attract decent actors (whether established or up and coming).

In this country, by contrast, all too often the programme makers (particularly ITV1) just go for the latest actor who's left Eastenders (or is popular with focus groups), put golden handcuffs on them, and build dramas (usually psychological thrillers or cop dramas) round them. So if it's not Robson Green, it's Martin Kemp,Ross Kemp, or Peter Davison, and so on. Yawn.

That said, Bodies and Conviction (both shown originally on BBC3) were excellent, so there's hope yet.