The production values are high and, as ever, Coltrane delivers another masterful performance. But will it give the BBC a run for its money? I believe so. But the story line is a little too far-fetched for my liking.
The plot unfolds as we see Coltrane successfully defend a policeman, who he than accompanies to a Rangers match. Coltrane proceeds to tell him throughout the match how to plan the perfect robbery and even tells him where one could be committed that weekend. Before we know it he's reading about it in the papers and the brown envelope appears stuffed with cash. The copper is "bent" and has been at it for years, working for a top Scottish gangster.
The plot unfolds further as Coltrane enters his mid-life crisis - a barrister by day and the "Planman" by night. He abuses his friends at a dinner party and his politician wife starts an affair with the local police chief whom Coltrane despises.
To top it all, while he's in court his wife has the lover back at their house where he discovers what Coltrane's been up to and it's all left for a cliff-hanger finale next week.
So, has ITV got a success on its hands? Undoubtedly it will deliver a large audience, although I'd liked to have seen it leading straight out of Coronation Street rather than a news bulletin in order to keep the audience.
Who's it going to appeal to? It's targeted at an up-market audience, which it should deliver. The type of advertisers in the break (banks, cars and health insurance companies) confirmed this.
The Planman is easy viewing and we get to see Coltrane in a new role rather than a rehashed Cracker. But the real question is whether ITV could turn this pilot into a long-running ratings winner. If this week's plot is anything to go by, I expect it will end up as a one-off drama. The Planman may have high production values, interesting characters and an inventive story line, but could it translate into a weekly drama? I can't see it. As good as it is, ITV will struggle to create a long-running series from this.
Monday night's show was packed with story lines, bent coppers, barristers turned master criminals, affairs, marriage breakdowns etc. Next week we're promised car chases, double crosses and shooters. I'll be watching next Monday but then that will be it for me.
Average adult: TVR 13
Average adult share: 29.3 per cent
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