It’s the day after Christmas and nothing is stirring, not even the cat. A day where you want unchallenging TV, the kind you can pop on and let wash over you as familiar faces guide you through uncomplicated, gentile plotting. The adaptation of Ian Rankin’s Doors Open is a perfect example.
The plot is simple, a Scottish bank has an expense art collection and Stephen Fry (playing art professor Robert Gissing) looks after it. When the recession hits and they decide to sell it all, Stephen Fry decides for the good, of well him, a few choices pieces need liberating/stealing. To help him he gets a couple of friends, Mike McKenzie (Douglas Henshall), a business man who has just sold his company for a million or two, and Alan Cruikshank (Kenneth Collard), a middle management banker at the bank, to help him.
All three are stereotypes. Mike is our tall rich leading man (sadly his blonde hair stops him completing the holy trinity of manhood that I know my girlfriend is searching for!), Alan is our stubby, fat, balding comic relief and Stephen Fry is Stephen Fry. The gap between his Professor Gissing and his QI host is so thin only the plot of Doors Open could slip through.
I don’t care if characters are stereotypes if I have a reason to route for them. Sadly I don’t. Mike has lots of money while his only ‘problem’ is that he is love-sick for his ex, Laura (Lenora Crichlow) It doesn’t help that all we see of their relationship is a single night of TV sex – a few kisses followed by a fade out, what we all dream of! Stephen Fry’s issue is his bruised ego. Therefore they only sympathetic character is Alan who is fired, paying for an expensive divorce and large school fees – well it is Edinburgh #edinburghproblems
But we maybe the heist will be interesting and full of tension. Nope it is a dull series of unbelievable confidences but doesn’t contain two of the highlights of the show. First the awful disguises – 70s porn stars ahoy – and Alan’s attempt to open a door with a photocopier is easily the best gag of the night. Both are also in the trailer.
What Doors Open day really misses is a sense of Scottishness. With out the stabbishing shots from the top of Arthur’s seat you wouldn’t be able to tell where this is set. Also the people don’t feel Scottish. There is a lack of Scot’s humour, sarcastic and pessimistic, which I feel detracts from the characters.
Overall Doors Open is only a partial success. It feels like a Scottish Hustle but without the brilliant flashy vacuousness of that show. It definitely lacks the dark beauty of Rankin’s Rebus books. However, for many it’ll be a mince pie of a programme, you enjoy it while you eat it but forget all about it the moment the foil wrapper hits the bin.