Saturday, 26 December 2015

Missing But Not Forgotten: The Last Detective

The Drama Channel have just concluded showing the ITV drama series The Last Detective starring Peter Davison as 'Dangerous' Davies, the undervalued detective whose superiors think of as the 'last detective" in line to be assigned cases of any importance.

The series ran on ITV from 2003 -2007 during which time there were 17 episodes made.  The penultimate episode The Man from Montevideo (broadcast on 24 May 2007) had an unexpected topless scene ("unexpected" because it wasn't the sort of series you'd have expected would have one).

In a subplot to the episode Dangerous Davies' friend and lodger Mod (Sean Hughes) meets an attractive East European barmaid called Katrina (Ksenia Zaitseva) and they start going out.  But she has an insatiable sexual appetite and Mod is soon exhausted and so when she comes knocking on the front door for him late at night he sends Dangerous down to fob her off.  As the door opens Katrina throws back her head and opens her coat revealing herself to be naked and ready - but then screams and turns tail when she opens her eyes and sees it is Dangerous standing there and not Mod.

I didn't issue a "Heads Up" because the way the Drama Channel were showing the series left doubt about whether the scene would survive.  For each episode over the course of a week they were showing them thrice: during the day; early evening (pre-watershed); and in a late night slot.  So knowing they would inevitably have to edit this episode for pre-watershed viewing it was unclear whether they would show it uncut in the late night slot or just lazily show the same cut version in all timeslots - so I erred on the side of caution.

As it turned out they did show a different, more complete version in the late night slot, but unfortunately it was still cut anyway!  The pre-watershed version was 7 minutes shorter which was achieved by cutting out nearly all of the scenes involving Katrina.  So if you watched the early showing then you wouldn't have seen much of her at all other than her initial scene in the pub when she and Mod meet.  The scene at the door with Peter Davison was missing entirely.

The late night version (shown at 23:40) restored all the missing scenes.  However when it got to the moment when she opens her coat at the front door the scene has an abrupt cut.  The front door opens and we see her standing there in her coat and then suddenly in a reverse angle shot she is running away in distress - seemingly simply because she sees Peter Davison standing there.  It must have seemed a rather odd and unexplained overreaction on her part to any viewer who didn't know how the scene was meant to play out.

It seems strange that the channel would restore all the removed footage but still make a tiny cut to this scene - so I wonder if the scene was altered like this on their original source.  Perhaps it is cut on the official DVD release as well - does anyone know?

Cut Sequence

In this collage the top row shows two consecutive frames on the Drama Channel broadcast which bridge the removed part and below that is a run of frames from the original TV broadcast showing what we were meant to see.

Ksenia Zaitseva (as she was originally credited) is now known as Ksenia Kaas.  She is a British/Russian actress who trained and lives in the UK.  The Last Detective was her first British TV work and she has subsequently had roles in Doctors, Trial and Retribution, The Bill, Holby City and Sirens as well as a few UK films.

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