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City Of Vice Review

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Watch out, the Fielding brothers are about...

★★★★

Genius idea: Fascinating, factual Georgian costume drama with the grim, pacey approach of modern police procedurals. C4’s ripping five-episode series (bizarrely televised in the wrong order!) stars Emperor Palpatine Ian McDiarmid as playwright-novelist Henry Fielding, author of Tom Jones, and Iain Glen as his blind brother, John.

It’s 1753, and the odd couple of righteous crime-busting brothers, both magistrates of Westminster, determine to clean up gaudy, bawdy, violent London with their fledgling police force, the Bow Street Runners. It reeks of authenticity and squalor, with the Fieldings tackling sordid cases including robbery, rape, murder and the butchering of a gay clergyman. Heaps of horror, heaving bosoms, wickedness, wigs and some gallows wit. More, please.