Traces review – this is what happens when TV runs out of new shows

The Scottish drama is loaded with talent, but would the BBC be showing it if 2020 hadn’t left a dearth of original programmes?

It brings me little joy to say this, but television has run out of television. Although it managed to coast along fairly well for the better part of last year – and will hopefully kick back in soon enough – the gap in production caused by the spring lockdown has finally caught up with the schedules. There is a dearth of original programming and BBC One has been forced to plug the holes with whatever it can grab from other broadcasters.

Which brings us to exhibit A. Traces is a Scottish forensics drama that was first shown on Alibi last December. Would the BBC be broadcasting Traces if 2020 had been a normal year? It is hard to say. In the plus column, the series is loaded with talent, featuring the likes of Laura Fraser, Molly Windsor, Martin Compston (playing his native Scottish, rather than his Det Sgt David Beckham of Line of Duty) and John Gordon Sinclair. It is written by Amelia Bullmore, of Scott & Bailey, and was made by Red, which has been responsible for everything from Years and Years to Happy Valley. The pedigree is hard to beat, in other words.

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