Starring: Denis Lawson, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Larry Lamb
This twelfth and final season of the long-running BBC detective show kicks off with a meaty two-parter saying goodbye to Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman), the last of the original cast, and ushering in his replacement, honest (but highly superstitious) copper Ted, played by Larry Lamb. That done, it’s back to what we’ve come to expect from New Tricks, a selection of nicely turned mysteries sprinkled with humour and winning interplay between the leads.
Unlike Waterman, his replacement Larry Lamb isn’t a big household name, but his casting was presumably down to him having aced the audition, because he brings a mixture of burly solidity and quirky charm to the role of Ted that’s absolutely spot-on. Tamzin Outhwaite continues to have an easy chemistry with the other actors in her mother hen role, and Denis Lawson’s Steve bumbles around in an amusingly fallible manner as the appearance of Ted in their midst compels him to try and up his game in various ways.
The standout performance in these last few seasons though comes from Nicholas Lyndhurst, who’s pretty much reinvented himself through the role of the Jeeves-like ex-diplomatic minder Danny, and it’s especially nice to see him getting a well-deserved flirt on with forensic pathologist Fiona (Tracy Ann Oberman).
With Lamb in place, the new line up works so well you can’t help feeling the BBC have been a bit premature in pulling the plug on the series. Its team of sleuths may be superannuated and even the suspects are pretty geriatric sometimes, but in its twelfth year New Tricks still feels remarkably fresh and buoyant. 8/10
40 minutes of top moments from the series, enthusiastically introduced by the cast and producers. 6/10